The Nude in Modern Canadian Art 1920-1950Organised by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
February 13 to April 25, 2010
The nude holds a pivotal place in the history of Canadian art, as pervasive as wilderness landscape and abstract painting, yet this is the first major exhibition to deal with the nude as a central theme of modernism. This fascinating survey exhibition traces the changing representation of the nude in art from 1920 to 1950, a time of great advances in the visual arts when "the representation of the body was at the very heart of the aesthetic experience."
The exhibition follows the history of the nude in Canada through the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as images of the naked body gradually broke with classical and academic tradition to espouse more liberal, humanist, intimate and socially
progressive forms. Exploring the endless variations on the human body, the exhibition is organized into several distinct sections: the influence of classism, Art Nouveau and other stylistic trends; the popular subject of the
bather and the nude outside; "the evocative geography" created by backs and torsos; and the intimate space of the artist and the model including unusual and provocative self-portraits. Another part of the exhibition presents nudes in the context of war and everyday life. It concludes with surrealistic explorations and abstracted and challenging nudes in the final section called "the crisis of the image." The artists represented include Jean Dallaire, Paul-Émile Borduas, Alex Colville and Edwin Holgate.
Curator Michèle Grandbois writes that "The Nude in Modern Canadian Art is a history of the way the human body has been perceived, shaped by its era into breaks with the past, assertions of reality and in-depth formal investigations." It shows how the nude became an increasingly personal, varied and original form of expression, reflective of changes in society. "Taken together, the nudes on view embody the issues of modernity that aligned Canadian art with the artistic narrative of Western society as a whole." The exhibition features works of art from major Canadian museums and private collections and includes paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography. The Nude in Modern Canadian Art: 1920-1950 was curated by Michèle Grandbois and Anna Hudson. It is accompanied by a beautiful and informative illustrated catalogue.
Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Symphonie pathétique, 1925, Collection of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Leslie Gale Saunders, Untitled (nude with straw hat), 1945, Collection of the Mendel Art Gallery
Henry George Glyde, She Sat Upon a Hill Above the City, 1949, Collection of Glenbow Museum
Kent Monkman: The Triumph of Mischief
February 13 to April 25, 2010
Acclaimed Canadian artist Kent Monkman portrays unknown stories of personal encounters between the European and First Nations in the woods, mountains and plains of North America.
The Triumph of Mischief assembles Monkman's oil paintings, sculptural spaces and objects, films, videos and photography, from 2003 to present. Powerfully evocative, splendidly integrated, this body of work overturns widely ascribed histories of destiny, domination and order, replaced by spontaneous scenarios of amorous chase,
submission and promiscuity. Monkman's Old West is a land of cross-dressing, role-swapping play between "cowboys and Indians."
At the center of Monkman's work is his performance-art alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle (punning "mischief" and "egotistical"). In the rugged continental interior, Miss Chief — two-spirited libertine, time traveler and shaman — skews the compasses of adventuring soldiers, missionaries, trappers, traders and frontier artists, luring them off course and into his/her clutches.
Simultaneously fables and follies, the events that Monkman depicts occur amid the grandeur of The West. He revives the sweeping nineteenth-century landscape painted by Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church and Paul Kane. With Monkman's canvases, these nature scenes are theatres in which Aboriginals assume the leading roles.
Monkman's reputation has soared since The Triumph of Mischief began its national tour in 2007. Leading museums have acquired important examples of his work, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Glenbow Museum, whose magnificent Théâtre de Cristal tipi will be exhibited in Calgary for the first time since it came into the collection in 2008. Monkman's newest paintings, destined for the 17th Biennale of Sydney in May 2010, make their debut in Calgary at Trépanier Baer Gallery in conjunction with his exhibition at the Glenbow.
"Despite his painstaking historical
reconstructions and embellishments, Kent
Monkman targets the present. Profoundly
contemporary, his art signals the impending
century. The Triumph of Mischief finds a
special setting at Glenbow, catalyzing the
museum's magnificent objects out of their
pasts, jolting them towards new futures and
meanings yet unimagined."
- Ben Portis, Guest Curator
Kent Monkman, Si je t'aime prends garde à toi, 2007, Private collection, Photo by Isaac Applebaum
Kent Monkman, Charged Particles in Motion (detail), 2007,
Teresa Posyniak: I Speak My Daughter Tongue
February 13 to April 25, 2010
A contemporary perspective on the nude can be seen in this solo presentation of a powerful work of art by Calgary artist Teresa Posyniak. Her poignant triptych tells the story of the sudden death of 16-year-old Calgarian Katie Ouriou who moved to France for a year with her family but who died suddenly of a rare form of leukemia. Posyniak's work is both a memorial to Katie and an intimate portrait of her parents, who are depicted nude. Because they are not artist models but real people, their nakedness seems to underscore and expose their raw grief, ironically revealing more about their inner states of mind than their bodies. In this contemporary artwork, nudity becomes a
metaphor for suffering laid bare.
Teresa Posyniak, I Speak My Daughter Tongue, 2003, Collection of Glenbow Museum
Connections to Collections: Jeff Thomas and Paul Wong
October 24, 2009 - February 21, 2010
Artists Jeff Thomas and Paul Wong have been
invited to work directly with Glenbow’s diverse
collections in response to their own practice
and create work based on their explorations.
Jeff Thomas is a contemporary photographer,
curator and writer, currently based in Ottawa
and of Iroquois/Onondaga ancestry. Based in
Vancouver, Paul Wong is a video art pioneer
and an award-winning artist and curator.
Jeff Thomas, Folded Arms Visits Calgary (GPS: N51 02.637 W114 03.886), 2005, Collection of the Artist
War Brides: One-Way Passage
November 6, 2009–February 14, 2010
War Brides: One-Way Passage is a fascinating exhibition that encompasses different formats ranging from paintings and sculpture to multi-dimensional media installations. It is thought-provoking and moving because of its seamless intersection of personal, social, historical, feminist and artistic elements.
Calgary-based artist Bev Tosh has been devoted to this complex, multi-faceted art project that is inspired by the phenomenon of war brides of the Second World War. The art is based directly on primary sources including hundreds of personal interviews with war brides, photographs, letters and personal memorabilia.
Tosh's mother was a war bride, a personal connection that was the direct catalyst for her intelligent and probing investigations. The social dimension of this exhibition is expressed in stories about love and family — tales of adaptation, endurance and identity that took place at the end of the Second World War. The exhibit explores the remarkable and little known historical fact that the largest single immigration in Canadian history took place between 1944 and 1947 when 44,000 young women and 23,000 children came to Canada, the young brides and children of Canadian soldiers stationed overseas.
While the experiences of women are often overshadowed in the historical record, Bev Tosh shines a spotlight on ordinary women in extraordinary times through her art. Although layered in meaning, Tosh's beautiful and compelling art is easily understood, resonating across time, place and generations. Bev Tosh is truly a visual poet who enriches our understanding of the past through an artistic sensibility that transforms the cold facts of distant history into a vivid, poignant and present reality.
Bev Tosh, String of Pearls (Vera), 2003, oil on canvas.
Collection of Glenbow Museum. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre achetée avec l’aide du programme d’aide aux acquisitions du Conseil des Arts du Canada, and with funds from the Historic Resources Funds, 2009
Real Life: Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
October 17, 2009 - January 24, 2010
Real Life pairs two internationally acclaimed artists, Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner. Mueck's extremely popular sculptures are uncannily lifelike but jarring in terms of their scale. His art is about the human condition, a theme also found in Ben-Ner's often humorous videos and installations.
Since rising to international prominence in 1998, Australian-born Ron Mueck has developed a unique contemporary practice that extends the traditional desire in Western art to take artistic representation to the limits of realism. His extremely popular, uncannily realistic sculptures continually shock contemporary art sensibilities with the reminder that the essentials of the human condition — birth and death, love and loneliness, body and mind — are still, today, worthy subjects for art, and can be powerfully evoked through inert materials formed in our likeness, but not, exactly, like us.
After representing his native country, Israel, at the 2005 Venice Biennale, Guy Ben-Ner has received increasing international attention for refreshingly unique videos and installations that confront the tensions between the creative and the domestic life. In his videos, the artist and members of his family act out scripted narratives situated somewhere between reality and fiction.
Included in Real Life are three sculptures by Ron Mueck from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. A Girl (2006) is a mammoth work that is the artist's most powerful depiction of childbirth to date. The gigantic Head of a Baby (2003) is a stunning close-up of a newborn infant's head. The small and tender Old Woman in Bed (2000) takes the viewer from the beginning of life to its end. A selection of study materials and a film on Mueck's process produced by The National Gallery, London, also accompany the exhibition.
Three works by Guy Ben-Ner are included in the exhibition: his new video, Stealing Beauty (2007), in which the artist discusses the origins of private property and theft with his children in the readymade sets of the room displays in IKEA® stores around the world, the video and sculpture installation Treehouse Kit (2005) and the video Moby Dick. Storyboard drawings and a film by Buster Keaton, an influence for Ben-Ner, are also on view. The exhibition is accompanied by a small, full-colour, bilingual catalogue.
Top: Ron Mueck, A Girl, 2006, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 2007 with the generous support of F. Harvey Benoit and Dr. Lynne Freiburger-Benoit. Photo © NGC
Centre left: Guy Ben-Ner. Stealing Beauty, 2007, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Bottom right: Ron Mueck, Head of a Baby, 2003, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
October 17, 2009 - January 24, 2010
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is known for his distinctive Haida Manga style which blends Indigenous art traditions with the style of Asian graphic novels known as manga or manhwa. The exhibition will highlight his large-scale works on paper along with some major sculptural works that uniquely combine diverse media such as car hoods, copper leaf and argillite dust.
This dynamic exhibition will also include an
installation of a Haida Manhwa Reading Room curated by Vancouver-based Liz Park. This space will provide visitors with an opportunity to become intimate with the artist’s graphic works through his books and a selected archive of his works on paper.
Also included is the new work RED, which is being published as a graphic novel this fall. Come and see the original artwork in this exhibition, hear the artist speak about his work at an author reading and interview at Glenbow on October 16 and find out more about the book at www.dmpibooks.com/book/red.
Visit the artist's website at: mny.ca.
Top right: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Pedal to the Meddle, 2007, Pontiac Firefly, autobody paint, argillite dust, copper leaf. Collection of Glenbow Museum
Above left: Michael N. Yahgulanaas, Coppers from the Hood- “Stolen But Recovered”, 2007, Collection of Glenbow Museum.
Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific Railway
June 20 to September 20, 2009
Presented by Canadian Pacific
In 1871, with a vision of a new nation spanning
the continent, Sir John A. Macdonald promised a
railway link to the Pacific Ocean if British Columbia
Glenbow’s Vistas: Artists on the Canadian
Pacific Railway featured works by 20 artists
who travelled west, courtesy of the CPR
and William Van Horne. These remarkable
artists captured images of the prairie and the
mountains, incorporating them into Canada’s
emerging national identity.
This curatorial journey, created
by guest curator Roger Boulet, featured
over 130 art works and photographs from
Glenbow's collections and from public and
private collections in Canada and the United
States – many not seen for decades. Images
expressing the CPR’s vision of a new Canada
were featured in this sweeping exhibition. It's a
stunning body of artwork, the first to reveal
the Canadian West as a desirable, majestic and
Supported by the Museums Assistance Program through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Calgary Herald and Pattison.
Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific Railway Companion Publication
This stunning Glenbow publication presents
over 100 paintings and photographs by some
of Canada’s most esteemed landscape artists
and photographers of the late nineteenth
century who participated in the CPR’s artists'
pass program. Written by Roger Boulet,
a specialist in Canadian historical art and
photography and featuring an essay by Terry
Fenton, a landscape painter and senior arts
professional in Canada, Vistas situates the
work of these artists within the railway's – and
Canada's – dynamic history.
Contact the Museum Shop for your copy of this
companion publication to our exhibition!
Robert F. Gagen, Evening in the Selkirks, 1900, Collection of Glenbow Museum
Vistas in Lego
June 20 to September 20, 2009
Amazingly talented LEGO® architects from the southern Alberta
LEGO® Users Group created a scenic
railroad display to rival the vistas featured
in Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific
Connections to Collections: Jin-me Yoon
June 20 to September 20, 2009
In 2002, Vancouver-based artist
Jin-me Yoon explored Glenbow's railway
paintings commissioned by the Canadian
Pacific Railway (beginning in the 1880s) to
promote tourism and settlement in the West.
This compelling work reflects upon the
relationship between tourism and cultural
identity and raises complex questions about
the ways in which identity is formed.
Jin-me Yoon, Welcome Stranger Welcome Home (detail), 2002, Collection of
Glenbow Museum, Purchased with the support of the Canada
Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre
achetée avec l‘aide du programme d‘aide aux acquistions du
Conseil des Arts du Canada and with funds from the Glenbow
Collections Endowment Fund, 2003
The People and Places of Treaty 7
July 16 to August 16, 2009
Canada's First Nations leaders
met in Calgary to chart their future as the
First Nations of Treaty 7 hosted the 30th annual
gathering of the Assembly of First Nations
(AFN), July 21–23, 2009.
Glenbow was thrilled to be a partner in this
momentous event as First Nations from
across Canada showcased their culture, arts
and business ventures in various locations
throughout Calgary. Glenbow featured a
collection of photographs of Treaty 7 people
and places taken by Harry Palmer. Palmer is a
respected Calgary-area photographer who has
spent much of the past decade working with
the people of the Treaty 7 nations, learning
about their culture and their deep connection
with the land.
May 1 to July 5, 2009
In honour of Quilt Month in Canada, Glenbow presented Celebrating Quilts, an intimate look at a few of the Museum’s rarely seen quilts and quilted objects. The exhibition featured a carefully designed and crafted bridal quilt, a signature quilt embroidered with names of a Calgary community, a humble Mennonite comforter pieced with suiting samples, a miniature quilt lovingly made for a daughter's doll, and more that illustrate the artistry of this "useful craft." Some of the quilts were treasured heirlooms brought west to cover beds and served as mementos of friends and family; others were created here to brighten a room, bring joy to a child or strengthen ties in a new community. This was a colourful and personal glimpse into the artistic and societal traditions that underlie the contemporary quilters' vibrant art.
Man’s Smoking Jacket, ca. 1910, Collection of Glenbow Museum