Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director & CEO of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
, announced the appointment of Sarah Stanners, PhD, to the position of Director, Curatorial & Collections at the McMichael, effective March 9, 2015.
"We are delighted to have Sarah join the McMichael and bring her wide knowledge and curatorial talent to the future of the McMichael and the celebration of Canadian art," said Victoria Dickenson. "Her passion and knowledge of Canadian art will be an asset to the McMichael and will enable our beloved collection to be showcased in creative, vibrant and intriguing ways. This is especially significant as the McMichael approaches its 50th anniversary in 2016 and Canada's sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017. Sarah's authoritative voice will provide a dramatically increased ability for the McMichael to further develop collaborative connections with leading institutions in Canada, to deliver significant exhibitions and publications with an excellence that is the hallmark of our institution and the expectation of our visitors."
Since July 2011, Dr. Sarah Stanners has been the Director of the Jack Bush Catalogue Raisonné project which, when completed, will have identified and recorded all of the paintings created by the renowned Canadian artist Jack Bush. Dr. Stanners' research will culminate in the fall of 2016 with the release of a four-volume comprehensive record, now affiliated with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Most recently, Dr. Stanners was a Guest Curator with the National Gallery of Canada, where she co-curated the major Jack Bush retrospective with the Gallery's Director and CEO, Marc Mayer, to critical acclaim. Her dynamic interpretation of Bush was heralded by The Globe and Mail with its headline exulting, "A show that goes pow! pow! pow!" Stanners and Mayer also co-edited and contributed to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which now stands as the definitive book on the artist to date.
From 2003 to 2005, Stanners was Assistant Curator at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House (University of Toronto) where she curated exhibitions of Canadian art. She earned her PhD in art history from the University of Toronto in 2009. Her dissertation, "Going British and Being Modern in the Visual Art Systems of Canada, 1906-1976" evaluated how modern British cultural practice and authority affected the exhibition and acquisition policies of Canadian museums, as well as the dissemination of ideas of modernity. Her relationship with the University of Toronto continues under a Status-Only appointment to the faculty of the Department of Art.
Dr. Stanners has been teaching modern and contemporary art history at the university level since 2006 and was awarded with a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which she held at the University of British Columbia from 2009 through 2011. Her research at UBC focused on the notion of cultivating serendipity in contemporary art practice, with a special focus on the Turner Prize-winning artist Simon Starling, with whom she worked on a contribution to Simon Starling: Cuttings (Supplement), published by the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in 2008.
With a particular passion for Canadian art, Dr. Stanners regularly writes and speaks publically on the subject. Her engagement with artists and museums extends both nationally and internationally, understanding that the definition of "Canadian art" goes beyond a birthplace noted in a passport. The calibre of her research places her in the top echelon of Canadian art research being conducted today. Her broad and deep reach within the Canadian art collecting community will allow her to develop strong relationships that will enhance the McMichael's reputation both here and abroad.
McMichael Board Chair Upkar Arora, who served on the search committee with Dr. Dickenson and other Board members, stated, "We are absolutely thrilled to have Sarah join the McMichael. Her passion, expertise, and perspective will open up new possibilities for our institution to assert its importance on the provincial, national and international stage anchored by curatorial excellence and engaging and dynamic exhibitions. She brings with her an influential voice, a trusted, collaborative style, and a rigour in research that puts the McMichael on a very solid foundation, one which we will continue to build upon. Her future path with us is virtually limitless."
"I am honoured and privileged to find myself taking on the responsibility of looking after such a prestigious and important collection pertaining to Canadian art and culture," said Dr. Stanners. "I look forward, with a great deal of enthusiasm, to joining the McMichael team and giving my best to the gallery."