A new exhibition opens this month at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) focusing on the delicate balance in visual art between the material and immaterial. With selections gleaned from the Gallery’s permanent collection, In the Balance explores the tension between form and concept; ideas and matter; making and thinking.
Curated by Pan Wendt, this exhibition opens in the Upper West Gallery at CCAG on Saturday, April 27 and will be on display until the end of the summer, closing September 22, 2019. The works are primarily modern paintings that carry a very material quality.
“There is a long history in Western art of giving priority to design, to the mental picture, to drawing over colour, line over material, spirt over matter,” remarks Wendt. For example, in Renaissance Italy, where so many of our collective ideas about art were first articulated, this manifested as two rival aesthetic approaches to painting—‘disegno’ (design or drawing) versus colore (colour).
Continues Wendt, “We tend to think of perception in terms of the spiritual, or a disembodied experience of form, separated from its material basis, but in fact we are led by touch and other non-visual senses. And thought is itself intertwined with the whole body.”
Following the late 1960s, when this prominence of the formal, conceptual, and ‘optical’ were at their critical height, visual artists increasingly began to develop abstract pieces on the basis of a more materially-grounded conception of the work of art. That is, a process where there the idea stage and the material process were granted equal influence in the final product, and the physical process of making was emphasized.
Featured Canadian examples in the exhibition—from 1970s to the present—include works from: Ron Shuebrook, Harold Klunder, Aganetha Dyck, Ingrid Mary Percy, and Lionel Stevenson.
For more information, please visit, confederationcentre.com/gallery
Image Cutline: Lionel Stevenson, Erratic #4, 1999, digital print on paper, Purchased, 2012, CAG 2012.13
Aganetha Dyck, Drawing of a Bee After Dr. E. Assmuss (from the series Drawings from the Hive), 2002, wax and ink on braille paper. Collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, purchased with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, Acquisition Assistance Program, 2012.
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About the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG):
Presented by donation, each year the CCAG offers an average of 20 exhibitions featuring the works of Canadian visual artists. Expect to see a mix of traditional art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and sculpture, plus newer digital media presentations and contemporary interdisciplinary practices. The CCAG has a national mandate to develop appreciation and understanding of Canadian visual arts and the permanent collection and programming reflect on Canadian identity and the origin and evolution of the country. Since the CCAG opened in 1964, its permanent collection of Canadian art has grown to over 17,000 items.