New Works at the Gallery

Winter 2018 Will Bring New Exhibitions to the Gallery

New works, historical postcards, and visual movements

A young Island artist, a gifted amateur Island photographer, and videos by 11 well-known Quebec artists make up the Gallery’s new winter lineup of exhibitions.

Norma Jean MacLean’s exhibition Accumulated, Positioned, Reflected is a selection of her recent work where she explores the aesthetics of improvised layering, piling, and accumulation. MacLean is a part of the Art Gallery’s Emerging Artist Program that is supported by the RBC Foundation. Curated by the Gallery’s Pan Wendt, the exhibition will be on display from January 13 to April 28.

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William Steele Louson was a gifted amateur photographer from Charlottetown. Wish You Were Here: W.S. Louson’s Picture Postcards of Prince Edward Island showcases his photographs of picturesque Island landscapes that were reproduced on postcards. This historical exhibition captures a period in the 20th century when the public interest in buying and selling postcards was a new mania. Curated by Gallery guest, Harry Holman, the exhibition will be on display from January 20 to April 21.

Motion is a visual anthology that shows the work of 11 Quebec artists. The theme of “motion” is understood in two ways: as movement and as a proposal. This exhibition was organized and circulated by Galerie de I’UQAM and curated by La Fabrique d’exposition, and a collection of Montreal curators: Julie Belisle, Louise Dery and Audrey Genois.

“The new exhibitions will see the art gallery transformed yet again,” says Gallery director Kevin Rice.  “I am looking forward to Norma Jean MacLean’s new paintings and installations; Harry Holman’s research on W. S. Louson’s early 20th century landscape photography (which circulated primarily on postcards); and the videos by 11 well-known contemporary artists based in Quebec. These exhibitions will provide audiences with a wonderful diversity of artworks.”

And this is your last chance to see John Greer: Material and Metaphor exhibition which closes January 14, 2018.

The Gallery winter/spring hours run from January 1 until May 20, welcoming the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

A description of each exhibition can be found on the website at http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/exhibitions.php.

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Gretzky is Everywhere

Andy Warhol and Wayne Gretzky — while not naturally congruous icons to utter in the same breath, both are considered pop culture giants of the 20th century who are forever linked by a famous print, Wayne Gretzky #99

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In 1983, the Canadian hockey prodigy visited Warhol’s New York studio to sit for a portrait arranged by Frans Wynans, an associate of Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. “He’s more than a hockey player, he’s an entertainer. An entertaining hockey player,” Warhol famously remarked. The artist created screen prints based on Polaroids taken at the sitting. Many of these prints ended up in gallery collections across Canada, including at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG).

Gretzky is Everywhere presents Warhol’s famous print at multiple sites simultaneously via livestream: in Charlottetown, at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, and at The Rooms in St. John’s. Gallery patrons can enjoy the artwork in the Young People’s Gallery at the CCAG, while peering in on fellow visitors experiencing Wayne Gretzky 99 and an opposite camera feed in Alberta and Newfoundland — a natural hat trick.

 Three Canadian audiences, artworks and art institutions are linked by a public web feed, brought into a conversation structured by repetitive imagery, the immediacy of the virtual experience, and the “everywhere” of sites connected by the Internet.

 “Collaboration has been an important strategy in engaging the public with visual art, so Gretzky is Everywhere is focused on both the gallery’s collection and the audience experience,” states Gallery Director Kevin Rice.  “We are really looking forward to presenting concurrently with two other public galleries and seeing how audiences respond at each venue.”

 ”We are still living in the age of Warhol, whose dissemination of celebrity images lay at the heart of his prescient practice,” offer the exhibition’s curators, Mireille Eagan with The Rooms and Pan Wendt with the CCAG.. “We now take the pervasiveness of celebrity for granted, as individuals are given heightened status through sheer repetition of their likeness.”

 They continue, “Art institutions seek to respond to these changes in digital technology, with its rapid circulation of images and identities, and an increasing demand for participatory experiences. Warhol’s embrace of repetition and the virtual seems more pertinent than ever.”

 Special thanks are extended to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the other partner institutions.

Drawing in Space

Leah Garnett is an artist based in Sackville, New Brunswick who teaches Fine Arts at Mount Allison University. Her installations explore the shaping of space, how we construct, mold, and contain it. Drawing on her experience growing up on construction sites, her recent work, in which she creates installations that combine mark-making and building, has been described as “drawing in space.”

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For the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Garnett is creating an installation this week titled When One Space Meets Another, in which she transposes various sites – woods in Maine, an exhibition space in Sackville, a construction site – into the space of the gallery.

“Leah Garnett’s installations are enigmatic, playful blends of optical effects, mapping, drawing, and sculpture,” says gallery curator Pan Wendt. “We are excited about how she will transform the space of the gallery,”

For the artist, the work provides her with an opportunity to range over questions about construction sites such as “what is the relationship between landscape and architecture where the temporary and transitional construction site becomes a hybrid of the two,” as well as “how does a construction site compare to a studio, especially the temporary studio occupations of artist residencies,” and finally, “what are the results and implications of transposing multiple landscapes into a single location?”

Leah Garnett: When One Space Meets Another opens this Saturday, March 4 and will be on exhibition until June 4.

Illusion and Material in Mid-Sentence

New York-based Canadian artist Rachel Beach is opening her first major exhibition in this country in a decade. A collaboration with Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, Rachel Beach: Mid-Sentence will be presented at Confederation Centre Art Gallery from December 10 through April 30, bringing the artist back to the Maritimes, where she was originally trained.

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The show consists almost entirely of new creations, selected from Beach’s studio in Brooklyn, NY, where she has been based since 2001. Educated at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and later Yale University, Beach’s work has been written about in The New York Times, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, among others.

Originally from London, Ontario, the artist works with abstract shapes and a variety of materials to produce colourful sculptures and two-dimensional pieces that play between illusion and material, geometry and surface. Her works typically deploy a vocabulary of shapes in creative interplay; although non-representational, they often evoke the human figure.

The Centre’s Pan Wendt curated the exhibition with Saint Mary’s Robin Metcalfe. “It is impressive to see what Rachel Beach has created over the past few years,” says Wendt. “Her studio, and everything in it, was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, but she hasn’t slowed down at all, and her work has grown even richer.”

Gallery Director Kevin Rice looks forward to seeing the exhibition come to life in the Centre’s lower west gallery. “This exhibition will be like eye-candy, colourful and fascinating objects in dynamic arrangements,” he says. “Rachel’s work is known for its visual appeal and playful use of material and shape. Her sculptures are constructions built out of a variety of shapes that evoke folded paper, masks, the built environment, and the history of the medium. We are excited to bring her work back to the Maritimes.”

Rachel Beach: Mid-Sentence opens at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery on December 10. The artist will be present for an enriching exhibition tour on Saturday, December 10 at 7 p.m. All are welcome and the tour is presented free of charge.

Last Call, Last Call…

Last Call for Three Summer Exhibitions at CCAG

With ‘Secret Citadel’ closing, Graeme Patterson to lead ArtTalk and Tour Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m.

It’s closing time for three visual art exhibitions that have been turning heads all summer at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. This month is the last chance to view works from Graeme Patterson, Landon Mackenzie, and Gwen Michaud.

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Showing until September 25 in the Upper and Lower East Galleries, Graeme Patterson: Secret Citadel explores the trials and tribulations of male friendship through a four part sculptural/video installation and an experimental animated narrative. Based in Sackville, New Brunswick, Patterson works in miniatures, using tiny figures in stop-motion to explore much bigger themes and stories. Although based on specific memories of the artist’s past, Secret Citadel draws you into its captivating worlds by highlighting universal themes of love and loss, play and competition, companionship and loneliness.

Patterson will lead an ArtTalk and public tour through his exhibition this Sunday September 25 at 2 p.m. in the Art Gallery. There is no cost to attend and all are welcome to hear this first-hand account of how the touring exhibition came to life from one of Canada’s most exciting young artists.

B.C.’s Landon Mackenzie is a nationally-known Canadian artist, admired for her large-scale works using paint on canvas. Less widely known are her works on paper, which she produces in high numbers as a tandem practice to her larger paintings, often while travelling. Showing in the Upper West Gallery until September 25, Landon Mackenzie: Parallel Journey: Works on Paper (1975-2015) takes the viewer on a journey through the past four decades of Mackenzie’s art production on paper, beginning with a watercolour the artist painted when she was 14 years old, and concluding in the year 2015.

Showing in the Centre’s concourse cases until October 2 is Gwen Fichaud: Arranging the Local. This exhibition provides an overview of the work of Fichaud (1915-1988). Born in Montreal, Fichaud took up painting full time in 1964, a few years after moving to P.E.I, where she became an early supporter of the Centre and chair of the Women’s Committee. She was immediately taken with Island history and the pastoral landscape, and her work ranged from country scenes to studies of flora and fauna, to images of local community. Her work was always focused on carefully arranged details, presenting facts and anecdotes about the Island way of life and its natural setting. The high horizons and ordered compositions of the artist’s images allow a maximum of visual information to be brought together within a single frame.

“The great variety of characters, colours, activities, and incidents in Fichaud’s crowd scenes are tightly organized and brought together into an ordered whole that mirrors her vision of community,” remarks Pan Wendt, gallery curator. “Made by an urban settler impressed by the apparent naturalness and harmony of Island life, these works articulate an ideal rural Prince Edward Island.”

21st Century Tintypes Capture Time and Place

Many visitors to last year’s Art in the Open festival will remember Karen Stentaford‘s travelling photo studio, which was located at Government Pond. The Sackville-based photographer, an instructor at Mount Allison University, spent eight hours demonstrating the 19th century tintype technique and took pictures of dozens of visitors using a now-rare photographic process. The results of this work will feature as part of a survey of Stentaford’s photography at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery entitled Island Types, now open in the Entrance Gallery as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Series.

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“The response to Karen Stentaford’s work was incredibly positive in Charlottetown,” says Gallery Curator Pan Wendt, “and we decided to give her a show that demonstrates the range of her practice. It will not only give insight into the various experiments that the artist is making with photographic techniques, but it will be exciting to now see on the gallery walls what she produced here on P.E.I. last summer.”

Stentaford, originally from Newfoundland but now teaching photography at her alma mater in Sackville, N.B., is interested in using archaic and experimental techniques to capture a sense of place. The work on display in Island Types is culled from her travels to various islands – Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Iceland – and combines portraiture and landscape. Stentaford’s work uses a variety of techniques and materials ranging from archaic tintypes to digital photography to glass-based negatives. She will even be displaying a series of photographs developed in salt water.

The Art Gallery is open Monday-Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.