The second biennial exhibition showcasing new Canadian art acquired by the National Gallery of Canada
over the past two years opened this past Friday November 2. Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 features over 100 artworks acquired by the Gallerys departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and Photographs, and selected from some 300 pieces of contemporary art purchased by or donated to the NGC since 2010. A range of artistic media is on view, from paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, to photography, video and multimedia installations created by 45 emergent, mid-career, and long-established Canadian artists. Supported by the RBC Foundation, Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 is on view until January 20, 2013.
"In placing emergent practices alongside long-established Canadian artists who have been instrumental in building a context for Canadian art today, Builders offers the opportunity to appreciate the range of aesthetic accomplishment in this country", said NGC director Marc Mayer. "It also reflects how this national museum builds upon its permanent collection through an informed understanding of the dynamic and thought-provoking realm of Canadian contemporary art at the most ambitious levels, and across generations."
According to organizing curator Jonathan Shaughnessy, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGC, The multigenerational approach highlighted in Builders questions the often-held bias that innovation and creative experimentation are primarily the purview of new and emerging talent. Rather, the exhibition asserts a commitment to recognizing and discovering contemporary artists across generations whose work exemplifies and builds upon determined and original creative visions.
To this end, Builders highlights a range of new productions by influential, some now iconic figures of Canadian art such as Michael Snow, Lynne Cohen, Chris Cran, Faye Heavyshield, Evan Penny, Joanne Tod, and Leslie Reid. Within this established basis the exhibition meanders through an engaging path featuring works by many newcomers to the collection including Ottawa-based painter Melanie Authier; Winnipeg-born, Los Angeles-based painter and sculptor Jon Pylypchuk; the multidisciplinary Toronto artist Sandy Plotnikoff; as well as a unique sound installation by Vancouver-, and Berlin-based artist Mark Soo. Artworks by David Altmejd, Marcel Dzama, Sarah Anne Johnson, Ron Terada, Lynne Marsh and many other now well-rooted figures in the Canadian art milieu also figure prominently in the exhibition.
In the Builders exhibition visitors will be able to access curator and artist interviews on iPads. Video content will be updated through the run of the show. Wireless access in the exhibiton space will enable visitors to share their thoughts through social media. For those without smart phones or Twitter accounts there will be two computer stations at the end of the exhibition from which people can send Tweets. Follow @_conversations on Twitter and join the conversation using #NGCbuilders.
Building a dynamic collection reflective of Canadian art today
One of the aims of Builders and the NGCs Canadian Biennial program is to elucidate how Gallery curators in the departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and Photography make decisions regarding acquisitions. In building a dynamic collection reflective of the diverse field of Canadian art today, Gallery curators survey a wide-range of media from across artistic generations. Moreover, Builders reflects upon the practical work of artists who, in lending material form to ideas and emotion, shape original ways of seeing, understanding and relating to the world around us.