Current Exhibitions

Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies

May 17th, 2014 to September 7th, 2014

Volunteer and Moore Galleries

Margaret Watkins, Academic Nude - Tower of Ivory, June 1924, Palladium print, 21.2 x 16 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the, Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural, Property Export and Import Act Margaret Watkins, Domestic Symphony, 1919, Palladium print, 21.2 x 16.4 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act Margaret Watkins, The Kitchen Sink, c. 1919, Palladium print, 21.3 x 16.4 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act Margaret Watkins, Still-life - Shower Hose, 1919, gelatin silver print, 21.2 x 15.9 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act

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.


Mid-Century Modern: Canadian Abstraction from the Collection

April 26th, 2014 to September 7th, 2014

Interior Gallery

Jack Shadbolt (Canadian, 1909 -) Takao Tanabe (Canadian, 1926 - ), untitled, 1950, oil on canvas, 71.2 x 91.6 cm, Collection of Museum London, Gift of the Artist, Errington, British Columbia, 2006, Courtesy of the Artist

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

Ivey Galleries

Patrick Thibert, Crossings No.3, February 2013, copper, tin, pine, plywood, aluminum, 91.4 x 66 x 5.1cm, Courtesy of the Artist Patrick Thibert, Linear Composition No.6, November-December 2012, copper, tin, plywood, aluminum, 91.4 x 149.9 x 5.1 cm, Courtesy of the Artist Patrick Thibert, Linear Composition No.6, November-December 2012, copper, tin, plywood, aluminum, 91.4 x 149.9 x 5.1 cm, Courtesy of the Artist

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

Paul Peel, The Young Botanist, 1888-90, oil on canvas, 115 x 91 cm, Purchased with the assistance of the Richard & Jean Ivey Fund, London, Ontario, 1987 Jack Chambers, Daffodils, 1976, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm, Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore, London, 2011 Bertram Brooker, Abstraction, Music, c. 1927, oil on canvas, 43 x 61 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945 Greg Curnoe, Car, 1967, oil, metal, masonite, wood, 168 x 173 cm, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Moore, London, Ontario, through the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1978 Arthur Lismer, Pine Tree And Rocks, 1921, oil on canvas, 83 x 102 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945

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


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