Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience was created as a response to Canada 150 sesquicentennial celebrations. Kent Monkman’s gender bending, time travelling alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle is the guide on a journey through Canada’s history that starts in the present and takes us back to the years around Confederation. Miss Chief leads us through the harsh urban environment of Winnipeg’s north end and contemporary life on the reserve, and all the way back to the extermination of the bison, addressing some of the darkest chapters of Canada’s past and narrating a story of Canada through the lens of First Nations’ resilience.
Image: Kent Monkman, The Daddies (detail), 2016. Acrylic on canvas. Collection of Christine Armstrong and Irfhan Rawji.
Through signature works from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s permanent collection like Neoclassical Still Lifes (1994) and the variable 1,000,000 Pennies (1979), Close to the edge… offers a comprehensive overview of Ferguson’s practice. This platform makes visible his devotion to conceptual processes and systems while highlighting his significant influence on the world of contemporary art.
Image: Gerald Ferguson, Neoclassical Still Lifes, 1994, Enamel on canvas. 117.8 x 134.6 cm. Photo Credit: Steve Farmer
Question identity, sexuality, and the seeming futility of existence as you experience The Light Fantastic.
Recalled from John Milton’s poem of 1645, this line, while seeming to extoll a light and bright dance, is rooted in heavier political movements and questions about the nature of existence. Artist still ask these kinds of questions. Working in neon, video, print, paint and photography, artists in this exhibition dance with history and own their place in the world.
In an anxious political climate, compounded by challenging questions of nationality, indigenization and sexual identity, artists in this exhibition set forward with urgency to shine a greater light on uncomfortable issues.
The title seems almost a misnomer but a look at work from three eras reveals some startling congruency between prints made in Paris during the development of Art Deco in the first quarter of the last century; and, in Halifax, theatre designs by Marjorie Tozer early in the second quarter, and later designs for street and stage by Robert Doyle in the last quarter of the century.
The exhibition has been made possible by the generous donation of many Parisian prints by Arthur M Smith, former Librarian at the Royal Ontario Museum, who prepared the exhibition ‘Chevalier du Bracelet’ : George Barbier and His Illustrated Works, for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2013. The prints by George Barbier and his colleagues in Paris served an elite clientele on both sides of the Atlantic. In a changing society that felt threatened by industry and technology they took delight in classical Graeco-Roman, Baroque, and other historical periods, as well as the exoticism of the Ballets Russes. Living in a world increasingly overtaken by technology, Tozer and Doyle found expression in that same escape from the commonplace.