The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, May 25, 2018

Exhibition Explores the Fascinating World of Contemporary Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada
James Carl, jalousie (baluster), 2008, coloured aluminium strips on wood base, 167.6 × 243.8 × 152.4 cm. Purchased 2009. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photography: Toni Hafkenscheid. Image courtesy of Diaz Contemporary.

OTTAWA.- More than 80 of the most innovative and ambitious works created by artists across Canada are highlighted in the National Gallery of Canada's (NGC) inaugural Canadian Biennial exhibition It Is What It Is: Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art. Reflecting the depth and diversity of contemporary Canadian art, these works are drawn from acquisitions made over the past two years for the NGC's collections of Indigenous and Contemporary art as well as for the Canadian Museum of Canadian Contemporary Photography (CMCP). Together they reveal the unique ways contemporary Canadian artists are tackling the state of the world through their art, and how they are selecting interdisciplinary modes of expression that explode traditional categories, materials and genres. Supported by the RBC Foundation, this exhibition is on view until April 24, 2011.

“It Is What It Is is an invitation to us all to embark on an adventure into the world of contemporary Canadian art,” said NGC Director, Marc Mayer. “It provides an excellent reference point for understanding the creative spirit that flourishes in our country today.”

From video to drawing and painting, photography to sculpture and installation, works by 55 artists have been assembled for this exhibition that showcases recent acquisitions for the most significant public collection of contemporary Canadian art in the world. Some of the artists selected have well-established reputations at home and abroad while others are now emerging onto the national scene. They include David Altmejd, Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Belmore, Valérie Blass, Rodney Graham, Sarah Anne Johnson, Luanne Martineau, Gareth Moore, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay and Jeff Wall.

The exhibition’s title, “It Is What It Is, is derived from a current popular catchphrase inspired by the Vancouver artist Ron Terada’s neon light sculpture It Is What It Is: It Was What It Was. It represents a comment on our current use of language, while offering a gentle critique of a perceived general state of complacency in modern society.

“RBC is proud to partner with the National Gallery of Canada to present - It Is What It Is: Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art,” said Shari Austin, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “We believe in the power of the arts to enrich our lives and enhance our communities, and are thrilled to help showcase some of Canada's most innovative and creative photographers and contemporary artists."

It Is What It Is
Over the past two years, the NGC and the CMCP have acquired approximately 400 works of Canadian contemporary art. Curators of the Indigenous, Contemporary art and CMCP collections were asked to take on the challenging task of assembling an exhibition that celebrated these acquisitions.

"After many discussions, we decided to approach the show as an opportunity to reflect on the strength of art created in Canada today," explained NGC Curator of Contemporary Art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois. "Rather than attempting a thematic or survey show, we sought ways to highlight the diversity of our collections, to conduct an experiment to see what meanings might become apparent when we juxtapose pieces that have never been shown together, all the while working within a limited exhibition space."

She continues "It Is What It Is evokes the specific moment in time and place in which we live and in which the artists have produced their works. By choosing not to adopt one specific narrative, this exhibition unabashedly is what it is – a show that highlights recent acquisitions. It also allows us to consider the present and recent past so that we can better understand what the future may hold."

Unity in diversity: Indigenous art in Canada
"This sampling of recent acquisitions for the National Gallery collection attests to the increasing appreciation of the magnitude, strength, and importance of art created by contemporary Aboriginal artists in Canada,” said Greg Hill, the Gallery’s Audain Curator of Indigenous Art."

In his introduction to the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, Hill writes: "Contemporary Indigenous art in this country is defined as art created by Aboriginal artists, that is, artists of First Nations, Metis, or Inuit descent. The works selected here epitomize the ongoing emergence of indigenous art into the forums of the contemporary art milieu nationally and internationally. The works from these eight artists—Shuvinai Ashoona, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Rebecca Belmore, Thirza Cuthand, Nadia Myre, Shelley Niro, Tim Pitsiulak, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun—represent a broad range of visual expression across diverse media. That diversity is also a unifying force. It is an insistent multiplicity of cultural, social, and even sexual identities that is the result of the many different situations Aboriginal artists in Canada experience and their desire to represent its specificity."

He adds that "the multifaceted nature of these works stands in opposition to the homogenizing tendencies of dominating cultural views and systemic art constructs that seek to limit, contain, and categorize in an effort to 'understand' from within self-defined terms of reference. These eight artists resist homogeneity. They are not defined by their cultures; rather, they are deeply engaged in defining culture. And they do so from individual perspectives that may incorporate Indigenous knowledge as well as what can be learned from anywhere in the world. Their engagement with the world in which they live – including a myriad of social, political, cultural, and environmental conditions – is what makes their work so vital to understanding who we are in a world that is rapidly compressing time and space through electronic communication and increasing technological development."

Photography now: Constructing vision, engaging the real
“Photography also has a strong presence in the exhibition, and viewers will see the medium employed to both document and fabricate a vision of the real,” said CMCP Curator of Photographs Andrea Kunard.

In her introduction to the catalogue, she explains: "As we step more fully into the twentieth-first century, photography continues to prove itself a flexible medium, capable of communicating a range of expressions from the poetic to conceptual. Positioned on the cusp of the analogue and the digital, photographers exploit the advantages of both technologies, creating works that exist simultaneously as fact and fiction. Photography also inquires into the fundamental concerns of art: it is a means of commenting on the very structures of art making, and of expanding our understanding of other media such as film and painting. In addition, photography is recognized as a medium of memory and desire, a stand-in for what we knew, or thought we knew, what we wished to know, and what we hope to have knowledge of in the future.

Although artists have for some time questioned the belief that the photograph is a factual representation of the real, many still embrace its capacity to communicate issues of social concern. Documentary projects remain in force, but now, in a heightened global context, topics are presented in complex and ambiguous ways."

Sarah Anne Johnson’s photographic installation comprises photographs of environmentalists in the Galapagos archipelago as well as sculptures and images of dioramas she has constructed of their experiences. Isabelle Hayeur creates digital composite images to comment on suburban housing developments, while Scott McFarland digitally manipulates the urban landscape to render it more “perfectly” as art. Photographers such as Greg Girard and Chih-Chien Wang use un-manipulated photographs to address issues of social concern. Girard presents the dynamic modernization of Shanghai, while Wang depicts the visual poetry of his immediate environment, as well as his sometimes difficult experiences as a recent immigrant to Canada.

Today's News

November 5, 2010

The Prado Offers a Clear Appreciation of the Evolution of Rubens’ Style in New Exhibition

ARTISSIMA 17: The International Fair of Contemporary Art in Turin Introduces a Host of New Features

The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art Totals $7.6 Million at Sotheby's

Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin Presents a Unique Project by Carsten Höller: SOMA

Exhibition Explores the Fascinating World of Contemporary Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada

German Artist Hans-Peter Feldmann Named Winner of Eighth Biennial Hugo Boss Prize

Sprüth Magers Present "Recalling Frames", an Exhibition of New Work by David Maljkovic

19th Century Masterpiece by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema Brings a Record $35.9 Million at Sotheby's

Sub Aquatic Archaeologists Discover Four Complete Skulls of Extinct Animals in a Cenote

Art Gallery of New South Wales Announces that Suzanne Archer Wins the 2010 Dobell Prize for Drawing

SFMOMA Appoints Robert W. Lasher as New Deputy Museum Director, External Relations

New National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia Celebrates Jewish Life

Model of Former Nazi Castle Headed to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Historic Mirrors from Setting of Brideshead Revisited, Castle Howard, Make £120,000 at Bonhams

Art Gallery of Ontario Announces Toronto-Based Artist Kristan Horton Wins $50,000 Grange Prize

Rare Mary Cassatt Painting on View at the Mint Museum Randolph Due to Long-Term Loan

Artists and Fashion Icons will Gather in New York to Honor the Winner of the Hugo Boss Prize

Memories of Yorkshire on Walls of James Mason's Swiss Home for Sale at Bonhams

Art World Gathers in Abu Dhabi for the Opening of the Second Edition Abu Dhabi Art 2010

London's Iconic Canary Wharf Has Scooped a Prestigious International Award for Its Public Art Programme

MoMA to Celebrate Master Filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci with a Complete Retrospective of His Cinematic Career

John Singer Sargent Exhibition at Adelson Galleries Explores Impressionist Period

Dates Announced for First Ever Exhibition of Internationally Renowned Artist Anish Kapoor in India

The Power of the Muse in Photography: Glamorous, Beautiful & Famous Faces

Egypt: Archaeologists Unearth 3,400 Pharaoh Statue

Ruling Says Fisk can Sell Part of Art Collection

Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida Receives Major Gifts and Support in Honor of Its 20th Anniversary

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful