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Art Gallery of Hamilton explore the work of visionary artists
Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott, installation view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Photo: Mike Lalich. Featuring: Trans AM Apocalypse No. 3, 1998 - 2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans AM 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm, 1496.9 kg. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007. © John Scott.

HAMILTON.- Two exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Hamilton highlight the works of artists who dared to offer a new vision.

1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group – on view from February 20 to May 8, 2016 -- explores the works of some of Canada’s most avant-garde artists of the time, and stresses its unique role in developing women artists.

Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott – on view from February 6 to May 15, 2016 – showcases three decades of powerful work by an artist who championed the plight of the worker as a human tool in the face of global industry.

“1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group is the first comprehensive exhibition to examine the impact and complexity of one of Canada and Quebec’s most significant group of artists,” says AGH President and CEO Shelley Falconer. “A counterpart to Ontario’s Group of Seven, the more than 130 works by many of Canada’s leading artists represent a multiplicity of perspectives on Montreal modernism including portraits and urban landscapes. Representative of Montreal modernism in the 1920s and 30s, the influences of Montreal and their fellow artists both in and outside the Beaver Hall Group shaped the art scene long after the group disbanded. And yet it’s only now, almost a hundred years later, that we are better able to appreciate the depth of this impact.”

1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group explores a group of artists whose production gave new impetus to artistic life in Montreal, Quebec, and Canada between the two wars. Named for the location where they shared studio and exhibition space, the Beaver Hall Group has been called Montreal’s Group of Seven. In contrast to the Group of Seven’s untamed landscapes devoid of people, the Beaver Hall Group focused on the portrait and humanized cityscapes and landscapes. The Group was also the first in Canada to bring together professional women artists, giving them a public forum for their work, a community of support, and a means to develop their art further. The Art Gallery of Hamilton is an important lender to this touring exhibition, which features paintings by such artists as Prudence Heward, Edwin Holgate, Anne Savage, Sarah Robertson, and A.Y. Jackson. Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition is curated by Jacques Des Rochers and Brian Foss, and is funded, in part, by the Government of Canada.

Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott features nearly 30 works on paper as well as the rarely-exhibited Trans AM Apocalypse No. 3, a 1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM covered in matte black paint and inscribed with text from the Bible's Book of Revelations. Visitors will have an opportunity to see conservation work undertaken on the car during the exhibition period. Organized by Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College, Iowa, this exhibition is curated by Daniel Strong and is the second in a two-part show. The first part was exhibited at the McMaster Museum of Art in Fall 2015.

“John Scott’s artwork has great relevance for the region of southwestern Ontario, as his concepts are rooted in the values of working class people,” says Melissa Bennet, AGH Curator of Contemporary Art. “Born in 1950, he grew up in Windsor and left high school to work in a factory. As a witness to the Detroit riots, and a protester of war, he has always had civilian rights at the front of his mind. “

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