The Centre for All Canadians
At the Races, Charlottetown Driving Park, 1974, coloured ink on paper. Collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Purchased with matching grants from Canada Council and Friends of Confederation Centre, 1979.

Gwen Fichaud: Arranging the Local

At the Races, Charlottetown Driving Park, 1974, coloured ink on paper. Collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Purchased with matching grants from Canada Council and Friends of Confederation Centre, 1979.
An overview by a PEI artist who explored the Island's everyday past in pictures that feature wildlife, the rural landscape, and the harness racing scene.

This exhibition provides an overview of the work of Gwen Fichaud (1915-1988). Born in Montreal, Fichaud studied art privately early in life, and took up painting full time in 1964, a few years after moving to Prince Edward Island, where she became an early supporter of Confederation Centre of the Arts, and chair of the Women’s Committee. Fichaud was immediately taken with Island history and the pastoral landscape, and her work ranged from country scenes to studies of flora and fauna, to images of local community. Her work was always focused on carefully arranged details, presenting facts and anecdotes about the Island way of life and its natural setting. The high horizons and ordered compositions of Fichaud’s images, reminiscent both of Dutch and Flemish genre scenes and of certain styles of Folk Art, allow a maximum of visual information to be brought together within a single frame. The great variety of characters, colours, activities and incidents in Fichaud’s crowd scenes are tightly organized and brought together into an ordered whole that mirrors her vision of community. Made by an urban settler impressed by the apparent naturalness and harmony of Island life, they articulate an ideal rural Prince Edward Island.

-Pan Wendt, Curator

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