Contemporary Canadian Portraits


Organized by Glenbow and Library and Archives Canada

Curated by Sarah Todd and Madeleine Trudeau

Commemoration, mortality, renewal. These are some of the themes explored in Metamorphosis: Contemporary Canadian Portraits, the latest exhibition collaboration between Glenbow and Library and Archives Canada.

Striking, evocative and powerfully expressed, each of these portraits is transformative on a variety of levels, as much for the viewer as for the artist creator. “These portraits belong to all Canadians and it’s very important that they be accessible to all of us, in all parts of our country,” says Madeleine Trudeau, exhibition co-curator and Acting Manager of Curatorial Services at Library and Archives Canada. “That’s why this opportunity to present a selection of Library and Archives Canada portraits at Glenbow has been so important.”

The exhibition includes works by 14 important artists, in a variety of media, drawn from LAC and Glenbow collections. In every case, artists were inspired by the idea of transformation or change. For some, this involves moving beyond the traditional ideal of likeness in portraiture. Other artists explore alternative media or unexpected subjects. For yet others, the concept is fundamental—an essential part of a traditional world view.

Spring Hurlbut, James #1, 2005, Collection of Library and Archives Canada

Canada’s Portraits at Glenbow

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is home to many of our country’s most important portraits. These historical and modernist works provide a unique visual history of Canada, interpreted on a human scale through the faces of individuals both known and unknown, who’ve shaped and who continue to shape the history and culture of our nation. Visit LAC’s online Portrait Portal to explore more of the collection.

As part of a multi-year collaboration, Glenbow is hosting a series of five portrait-themed exhibitions drawn from the LAC collection. In some cases, portraits from Glenbow’s collection will augment the exhibitions. Previous exhibitions in this series included The Artist’s Mirror: Self-Portraits and Ladylikeness: Historical Portraits of Women by Women.

Visit Metamorphosis in the Portrait Gallery on Glenbow’s fourth floor.

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