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Joyce Wieland, O Canada

Joyce Wieland, O Canada (1972), lithograph on silk / Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery


Kamloops Art Gallery
Kamloops BC – Jul 15-Sep 9, 2017

Aganetha Dyck, The Helmet

Aganetha Dyck, The Helmet (2000), hockey helmet and beeswax / Collection of the Kelowna Art Gallery, Gift of Deborah Dyck, 2005, Photo: Yuri Akuney, Digital Perfections

Among the more remarkable accomplishments of a modern democracy is its ability to celebrate the anniversary of its colonial history while allowing for – or in some instances, encouraging – its critique. This informs the premise of the KAG’s summer exhibition program, which pairs the abstracted landscape paintings of Lawren Harris: Canadian Visionary with work drawn largely from the gallery’s permanent collection.

A brief glance at the 20-plus artists included in AlterNation provides a sharp contrast to what was, in Harris’s day, a national art project dominated by men of Anglo-European descent. Although it is often mentioned that Harris and his Group of Seven cohorts faced their own share of discrimination in their application of modernist aesthetic techniques to what was, for many Canadians, a perfectly natural landscape, it was their privilege that allowed them to shrug off their detractors and get on with the work of re-envisioning Canada’s mountains and forests – not from something pristine, but as something anonymous, uninhabited.

In addition to works by established artists Rebecca Belmore, Ken Lum, Divya Mehra, Jin-me Yoon, and Tania Willard are those by senior artists such as Aganetha Dyck. In The Helmet (2000), Dyck inverts Harris’s modernist impositions onto the natural landscape by allowing nature’s honeybees to turn a piece of 21st century hockey equipment into a beeswax hive.

Michael Turner

 Mon, May 29, 2017