LaTourelle and Witthöft. Installation view (etwas kam auf uns zu) (2019). Mixed media installation. Photo by Aleks Slota.
Built specifically for The Rooms and evolving over the exhibition period, First We Take the Museum reimagines the building’s architecture to consider the very nature of ‘public’ space. It marks a significant example of ongoing investigations by Berlin-based artists Rodney LaTourelle and Louise Witthöft into the relationship between colour, space, and experience. Colour and pattern become tools that alter how a visitor encounters other people, shifting focus from displayed objects (the collection) to the people in the space itself (the collective).
Members of the public are invited to engage the space for impromptu events such as concerts, readings, exercises, and meetings.
Amanda Strong, detail of Maaschii (to move), Mixed media (puppets and sculpture installation), 2018, photo: Photo courtesy Art Gallery of Alberta, Charles Cousins.
Boarder X presents contemporary work by artists from Indigenous nations across Canada who surf, skate and snowboard. The exhibition reveals how these practices are vehicles to challenge conformity and status quo, as well as demonstrate knowledge and performed relationships with the land. Whether reading the urban terrain, making a cement jungle a playground, riding the natural contours of white immovable mountains, or shredding the ever-changing waves, it’s not about controlling land and water, but being humbled by their power.
Through painting, mixed media, carving, weaving, photography, performance and video, the artists reflect cultural, political, environmental and social perspectives, as well as critiques about the territories we occupy. The paintings present narratives and observations of traditions, movement, balance, and entanglements of space, place and belonging. Mobilizing traditional histories, the artwork conceptually bridges the past and present with reinventions in carving, weaving and performance. Video and photography capture the energy of boarding with unbridled motivation and physicality. The exhibition presents cultural thrivance and active presence – creating a space for engagement through art, culture and boarding. It is an affirmation and transmission of cultural resilience and acknowledgement of ongoing respect and reverence for the land.
Curated by Jaimie Isaac, Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art Circulated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Marlene Creates, Excerpt from Larch, Spruce, Fir, Birch, Blast Hole Pond Road, Newfoundland 2007, An ongoing sequence of eighty-one black and white, silver photographic prints, (2007-2015), photo courtesy of the artist.
Presenting the work of prominent Newfoundland-based environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates, this exhibition offers viewers a comprehensive experience of nearly four decades of her unique activities. Since the mid-1970s, Creates’ work has been presented in over 350 solo and group exhibitions and screenings across Canada and around the world, and it is also represented in numerous public collections.
Throughout her career, Marlene Creates has sensitively probed the relationship between human experience and the natural world, choosing a path that privileges the act over the artifact, the moment over the monument. From her earliest ephemeral gestures in the land to her latest immersion in the boreal forest that surrounds her home, her photo-based, multi-disciplinary practice has explored, as she puts it, “the idea of place — not as a geographical location but as a process that involves memory, multiple narratives, ecology, language, and both scientific and vernacular knowledge.” Her lifelong engagement offers a timely occasion for re-envisioning our own places with attentive environmental and cultural consciousness.
Organized and circulated by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in partnership with Dalhousie Art Gallery with the support of the Museum Assistance Program, Canadian Heritage.
Billy Gauthier, Northern Frigidaire Diet, serpentine, antler (moose and caribou), horn (muskox), slate, 2012, photo: Photo courtesy of Spirit Wrestler Gallery
The Rooms is honored to host the first solo exhibition by Billy Gauthier in his home province. Gauthier is an artist and activist of Inuit and Métis ancestry whose inspiration comes directly from an intimate connection with the land and culture of his home in North West River, Labrador. For decades, Gauthier has developed his artistic practice into a complex, detailed, and vibrantly dynamic body of work. His sculptures are characterized by his attention to detail and an ability to illustrate stories. In telling these stories, Gauthier has become a vocal protector of the environment and whole-heartedly advocates for its conservation alongside traditional Inuit practices.
Curatorial Advisors: Heather Igloliorte, Darryn Doull
Hidden Histories is an artistic response by Logan MacDonald to experiencing the collections of Indigenous artifacts housed at The Rooms. The artworks speak to MacDonald’s Indigenous ancestral connections, specifically in navigating issues of belonging and acknowledging cultural erasure. He critically pulls together examinations of how Indigenous artifacts are collectively held and defined within an institutional repository while imagining further personal ancestral connections to the cultural production of these material items. MacDonald creatively blurs the lines between cultural fact and family fiction, inserting the examination of his own Indigenous ancestry into the institutional framework of archiving Indigenous belongings.
Jordan Bennet, tamiow tle’owin, 2016
Taking place on the 70th anniversary of confederation with Canada, this exhibition gathers close to 100 artworks, images and objects from across The Rooms art gallery, archives and museum collections to ask questions about how histories are told and re-told. The exhibition examines the period after Confederation in 1949, placing historical works in conversation with works by contemporary artists. This is the second part of a ground-breaking, two-part series that looks at the art history and iconography of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication that marks the first comprehensive art history of the province.
The next installation of Truth or Myth? draws on the permanent collection to explore the changing relationship between cultural identity and food in Newfoundland and Labrador, as portrayed by artists such as Grant Boland, Martin Lyons, Derrick Pottle, Mary Pratt, and Helen Parsons Shepherd.
Grant Boland, High Class Candies, oil on canvas, 2002. Photo credit: The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Collection