Herménégilde Chiasson, Fourteen Stations for Oswald, 1. The Condemnation, graphite, pastel, and oil stick on Vinci paper, 1990, photo: Collection of Owens Art Gallery. Photo: Roger Smith.
The point of departure for this exhibition is Fourteen Stations for Oswald (1990), a series of evocative drawings by Herménégilde Chiasson found in the permanent collection of the Owens Art Gallery. In 1990, Gérald LeBlanc wrote a poetic essay about this work that concluded, “Herménégilde Chiasson proposes/sensible dreams/of an elsewhere forever present.” Moving out from this idea, the exhibition explores the ways in which historical, popular, and familial stories intersect in the work of four Acadian artists. While the question of identity is clearly present in these works, it is not rigidly defined or reduced to simple nationalist stereotypes. Of equal importance is the notion of repetition as an aesthetic gesture and its relationship to time and memory.
The exhibition is accompanied by an Occasional Paper featuring an essay by writer and independent curator Elise Anne LaPlante.
This exhibition was organized in conjunction with the Congrès acadien mondial 2019.
Carrie Allison, Beaded Botanical 3 (sabatia kennedyana fern.), toho beads on linen, 2018, photo: courtesy of the artist. Photo: Séamus Gallagher
wâhkôhtowin is the Cree word for “kinship” or “the way in which we relate to each other.” For artist Carrie Allison, this concept serves as an artistic methodology and guiding principle. Heart River (2018), a beaded map of the Heart River, which runs through the artist’s Cree and Métis family territory, underscores essential relationships between traditional beading, water, and the land. The companion installation Connect/Contact (2017), uses flora harvested from the banks of the river to create a gathering of paper discs whose movements invite visitors to listen for what Carmen Robertson calls “the sounds of the watery embodiment of place.” Finally, Beaded Botanicals (2018-2019) features beaded sketches of endangered flora found in Mi’kma’ki, the territory in which Allison currently resides, presented alongside botany specimens borrowed from the Herbarium of the Nova Scotia Museum.
The exhibition is accompanied by an Occasional Paper featuring an essay by Carmen Robertson, Canada Research Chair in North American Art and Material Culture at Carleton University.
Claire Cunningham, Give Me A Reason to Live, Performance, 2015, photo: photo by Hugo Glendinning
Automatisme Ambulatoire, or ambulatory automatism, is an expression that conjures notions of the compulsive traveler, while simultaneously implying irresistible urges and movements such as grimaces, tics, and gestures that form relationships with corporeal pathologies. This term inspires the title and theme of the exhibition Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance, which includes six new works focused on performance, choreography and installation.
A permanent exhibition space devoted to the work of Alex Colville (1920-2013), one of Canada’s most celebrated artists and one of Mount Allison University’s best known graduates. The Gallery features the installation of the mural Athletes, commissioned by Mount Allison for its new Athletic Centre in 1961. Designed around the theme of the student athlete, the mural was the focal point of the new building; it remained there for over 50 years, until its present installation in the stable and secure environment of Owens Art Gallery. Other artworks by Colville are also on view, including many of the preparatory drawings for Athletes and examples of the artist’s serigraphs.
Alex Colville, Athletes, oil and synthetic resin on board, 1961.