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Major Exhibition of Winnipeg Artist Wanda Koop Opens at the National Gallery of Canada
Wanda Koop, Untitled, from Sightlines, 2000, acrylic on canvas, 231 × 403 cm. Collection of the artist. © Wanda Koop. Photo: Bruce Spielman.
OTTAWA.- The National Gallery of Canada presents Wanda Koop: On the Edge of Experience, a major survey exhibition of this distinguished and inventive Canadian artist’s work produced over the last 25 years.

The exhibition will illustrate the Winnipeg artist’s ongoing take on how technology impacts nature by drawing together not only her large plywood paintings from the 1980s with her more recent work, but by restaging past exhibitions in miniature and even recreating the artist’s own studio.

Throughout her career, Wanda Koop has become known for creating environments with her paintings to allow her works to play off the space where they are viewed. Through the use of detailed scale models, visitors to the exhibition will be able to experience 16 of these previous signature installations, which could not otherwise have been simultaneously restaged at the National Gallery of Canada.

On the Edge of Experience will also recreate a life-sized room based on Wanda Koop’s working studio, complete with drawings, notebooks, piles of post-it notes and other items that have served to inspire the artist’s creative process over the years.

“Wanda Koop’s work is both intimidating and disarming at the same time,” said NGC Director Marc Mayer. “It seems to have been done with such facility and ease you might imagine making them yourself, but they’re so graphically powerful you’re overwhelmed by them and the sheer courage of the scale.

“There are many large paintings jammed together in this exhibition, it’s like an environment of paint, a wonderland of Wanda Koop’s making, with the characteristics of a hallucination and the power to take you someplace new,” he said.

This exhibition, co-organized with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, promises to give visitors a compelling viewing of the last 25 years of this artist’s 40-year career by having works from a variety of different series, or bodies of work, shown together for the first time.

The exhibition showcases 12 of the artist’s strikingly large plywood painting from the 1980s when a financially struggling Wanda Koop traded her paintings for sheets of plywood with the owner of a lumber yard to obtain the materials she needed to keep working. Some of these paintings focus in on the image of a face or hockey mask while others depict landscapes, flowers or a helicopter.

Hybrid Human represents an example of Wanda Koop’s most recent work. A collaboration with noted choreographer Jolene Bailie, composer Susan Chafe and lighting designer Hugh Conacher, Hybrid Human includes paintings, video projections and music.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1951, the daughter of Russian Mennonite immigrants, Koop moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba as a young child and has called that city home ever since. While still a university student, Koop’s work was included in an exhibition in 1972 at The Winnipeg Art Gallery. She graduated in 1973 from the Lemoine Fitzgerald School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. She has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards in recognition of her achievements as an artist. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, the former Governor General of Canada, appointed Wanda Koop a member of the Order of Canada in 2006. In 1998 she founded Art City as a storefront art centre in Winnipeg. The goal of which remains to bring together contemporary visual artists and inner-city youth to explore the creative process.





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