Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies
May 17th, 2014 to September 7th, 2014
Volunteer and Moore Galleries
In 1921, Vanity Fair magazine published a group of photographs by photographer Margaret Watkins. Titled Photography Comes into the Kitchen, the two-page spread praised her ability to take ordinary objects--dirty dishes in a kitchen sink for example--and turn them into works of art through her photography. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Margaret Watkins is now regarded as one of Canada’s most important modernist photographers. This exhibition is the first retrospective to examine her career.
Although now almost forgotten, during the 1920s Watkins made a name for herself in the world of advertising photography, where she transformed ordinary, mass-produced objects such as a bar of soap, a pair of gloves or a package of cigarettes into alluring and desirable objects. In 1924, the Hamilton Spectator ran a feature on her work, touting her success as a modernist photographer. Watkins was also elected as the vice-president of the Pictorial Photographers of America, and her photographs were shown in several international group exhibitions.
Drawn mainly from the Watkins Estate, this exhibition is curated by Lori Pauli, Associate Curator, Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada. A NGC catalogue accompanies this exhibition and is available in the Muse gift shop.
Patrick Howlett: Part-Time Offerings
May 3rd, 2014 to August 17th, 2014
The abstract images of Patrick Howlett are often small-scaled yet intense, works that can be appreciated for their individual formal merits and their playful invention. Alone and together, however, they also question the larger context of the status of the artist and art in our society, focusing on how it is made, taught, promoted, interpreted and otherwise ‘consumed.’
Over the last decade, Howlett has drawn motivation from the materials of painting, such as the use of egg tempera, a 2000-year-old medium, as well as the historical narratives of painting, which serve as both predicament and inspiration. He employs this historical material in cross-reference to media popular today, including the internet, magazines and digital design. A common starting point for his work is an image that is partially deconstructed (by poor picture quality, time, lack of context, or hazy memory), which he then reconstructs into solid analogue form.
Howlett’s practice also scrutinizes assumptions about art that deem it as apolitical or simply creative, revealing complex systems surrounding art objects, their economies, contexts, and philosophies. His work entangles relationships between titles and images, questioning applicability and inspiration. It therefore follows that an exhibition is more than just paintings on a wall. In Part-Time Offerings, Howlett constructs a range of scenarios where painting plays a role. The arrangements of works might evoke a busy studio, an office, a decorated home, the trade-show-like atmosphere of art fairs or, of course, the museum display.
Howlett teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented by Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto. This is his first solo museum exhibition.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Museum London Foundation through its Light on London Campaign.
Mid-Century Modern: Canadian Abstraction from the Collection
April 26th, 2014 to September 7th, 2014
This exhibition includes examples of works by artists who were involved in the art movements and regional scenes central to the development of abstract art in Canada, from the 1940s through the 1960s. Prior to this, painting in Canada was dominated by the landscape works of individual artists and collegial networks such as the Group of Seven, the Canadian Group of Painters and the Eastern Group of Painters. Meanwhile, the Canadian public widely regarded the modernist movements of cubism, surrealism and expressionist, which shaped the development of abstract art, as strange and even subversive.
Mid Century Modern includes a selection of works by some of Canada’s best-known abstractionists, and featuring works by artists involved in significant collectives including the Automatistes (active 1942-1949) and Plasticiens (1950 and 1960s) of Quebec, Toronto’s Painters Eleven, Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake Workshops as well as examples by London painters of the time. Together they explored formalism and expressionism in new ways, sought to sever historical ties to British painting traditions, and found new forms of expression in their collective pursuit of abstraction.
Abstraction to Abstraction: Patrick Thibert
April 19th, 2014 to August 24th, 2014
This exhibition explores the ongoing importance of abstraction in the work of Mount Brydges, Ontario-based sculptor Patrick Thibert, tracking important themes inspiring his practice for more than forty years. Thibert is well known for his large-scale sculptures of the 1970s and 80s, which feature billowing line and smooth planes, heavier, oxidized forms, and geometric patterns of darkened steel or aluminum tubing. While including many of these works, the exhibition expands our understanding of his efforts through studies, formal drawings, models, and, importantly, through a variety of new works.
The “abstraction” of the exhibition title refers not only to heavily stylized or non-representational views or objects, but also alludes to Thibert’s emphasis on being open to artistic possibilities suggested by process and materials. Divided into four main themes, Abstraction to Abstraction explores early, longstanding sculptural interests, which Thibert has revisited over the past four years, although this time exploring the pictorial character of abstraction. Primarily expressed in wall-dependent formats, these efforts combine the materials, techniques and effects of both painting and sculpture. A Museum London catalogue accompanies this exhibition and is available in the Muse gift shop.
Visible Storage Project
March 2nd, 2014 to February 9th, 2016
Lawson Family Gallery
This installation permanently displays more than 100 works of art primarily focussed on London artists but featuring many of the great works of Canadian art from our vaults. With walls devoted to the works by Paul Peel, the Group of Seven, and artists such as Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, and Paterson Ewen, Visible Storage allows you to always see old favourites from the collection as well as discover new ones.
This exhibition has been digitally enhanced. Browse images, videos and text online at visiblestorage.ca