Portraits are often thought of as a fairly straightforward kind of art work. The goal is to produce a likeness of the subject, whether physical or psychological, mediated by the interpretation of the artist. But those portrayed are rarely passive actors in the exchange that takes place when a portrait is made. Through pose, attitude, costume, and other means of self-presentation, sitters always influence the end result.
The active involvement of subjects in the creation of any portrait is the focus of Holding the Pose: Portraits From the Collection, a new exhibition presented by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, opening on January 27th.
Featuring works from the gallery’s permanent collection by artists from across Canada, the show demonstrates the complexity of the interaction between artist and sitter through a wide variety of portraits in various mediums. From P.E.I. painter Brian Burke’s evocative portraits of local literary figures Milton Acorn and Libby Oughton to the work of David Blackwood, Marion Wagschal, Edward Poitras, and others, the exhibition reflects the richness of the art of portraiture in Canada.
The Gallery’s collection also includes a significant quantity of works by one of Canada’s definitive portrait painters, Robert Harris, and the work of Harris will feature prominently in the exhibition.
“In the work of Robert Harris, we encounter an incredible richness and subtlety brought to bear on the craft of portraiture,” says Gallery Director Kevin Rice. “In the context of this exhibition, we have a great opportunity to see how the artist approached the vibrant subjects of his paintings, and how they played a role in the final result.”
Curated by the Gallery’s Pan Wendt, Holding the Pose will be on display from January 27 to November 27, 2016. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
For more information visit http://www.confederationcentre.com.