Home Island artist Erica Rutherford to be showcased at Venice Biennale and Confederation Centre Art Gallery  

Island artist Erica Rutherford to be showcased at Venice Biennale and Confederation Centre Art Gallery  

Erica Rutherford, Earnscliffe, PEI, 1978, ed. 3/80, serigraph on paper, 66 x 56.5 cm. Gift of Gail Rutherford, 2009, CAG 2009.1.13

April 4, 2024 – The first Prince Edward Island artist to be featured at the prestigious Venice Biennale will be honoured through a retrospective at Confederation Centre Art Gallery this summer.  

La Biennale di Venezia kicks off the 60th edition of its international art exhibition this month and is set to showcase works from over 300 artists – including five paintings by Island trailblazer Erica Rutherford.  

“The Venice Biennale is widely considered to be one of the most important contemporary art exhibitions in the world,” says Pan Wendt, curator at Confederation Centre Art Gallery. “For Erica to be recognized at this level is a tremendous honour and validates the quality of the Island’s arts community.”   

Born in Edinburgh in 1928, Rutherford spent her early years living around the world exploring a variety of art forms, and eventually settled on painting as a focus. Her life was transformed by her transition to living as a woman in the mid-1970s, and by her permanent move to Prince Edward Island in 1985 – which she described as a homecoming.  

Erica Rutherford, self-portrait circa 1976

The myriad of periods of Rutherford’s life and career will be explored at Confederation Centre Art Gallery this summer with the exhibition Erica Rutherford: Her Lives and Works. The show will include over 100 pieces and be accompanied by memorabilia and photographs that support the stories told by the work itself. Rutherford’s life was shaped by the search for identity and community, and her works explore themes of persona and gender, nomadism and home, and the relationships between artistic and biographical narrative. Curated by Pan Wendt, the exhibition will be on view from June 8 – January 5.  

This exhibition is one of four to be featured at Confederation Centre Art Gallery this summer. The season will launch with the Summer Gallery Opening on Friday, June 21. The public is invited to attend this free event, and no registration is required. Other exhibitions on view include:  

Yellowknife Forever!
June 21 – September 29

The North has a particular allure, often imagined in paradoxical extremes – cozy cabins in a frozen expanse, the danger of cold vs. awe at its beauty. Popular notions are often so terribly incomplete they might as well be false. The seven artists in this exhibition offer true(er) visions. Using local vernacular, photography, scrap plywood found at the dump, or moosehide sewn into gothic forms, each explores the anti-picturesque character of northern life. Curated by Sarah Swan, supported by the Northwest Territories Arts Council.

Together Apart Under One Roof: Aganetha Dyck, Diana Thorneycroft, Reva Stone
June 21 – October 6

This exhibition celebrates the distinct practices and the enduring friendship of Winnipeg-based artists Aganetha Dyck, Diana Thorneycroft, and Reva Stone, who have been studio neighbours in Winnipeg for over 30 years. Central themes of the show include feminist art practice, the creative power of relationships, and the interplay between human and non-human. Curated by Denise Lawson and Angela Somerset, previously presented at Comox Valley Art Gallery.

The Sweet Spot
Until January 26

A selection of works from Confederation Centre Art Gallery’s permanent collection that aim for the “sweet spot” – that elusive place or moment that finds just the right balance between order and possibility, the ideal distance between intimacy and perspective, between freedom and generosity. It is the perfect jump shot or musical note. It takes practice and yet must be improvised. It is always moving, and never known in advance. Curated by Pan Wendt.

From June through October, Confederation Centre Art Gallery will have summer admission rates. Admission for adults will be $15, seniors (65+) will be $10, and students/youth (under 18) will be by donation. Admission by donation will also be available on Thursday evenings from 5 – 8 p.m. A summer Gallery pass will be $25, which is ideal for anyone planning to visit more than once.   

“Charging admission during our busiest months will help support the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to dynamic exhibition programming in Charlottetown,” says Gallery director Kevin Rice. “Our summer exhibitions will feature a fascinating array of contemporary art from across Canada and we look forward to welcoming guests to engage with these works of art.”  

Visit confederationcentre.com/artgallery for information on all events and exhibitions at Confederation Centre Art Gallery.  


Media Contact:
Emily McMahon, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
[email protected] | 902-628-6135

Erica Rutherford, Earnscliffe, PEI, 1978, ed. 3/80, serigraph on paper, 66 x 56.5 cm. Gift of Gail Rutherford, 2009, CAG 2009.1.13
Erica Rutherford, self-portrait circa 1976