Canada Arts Part III

By | December 25, 2021

Halifax, in the maritime province of Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast, has continued to develop a rigorous conceptual and post-conceptual tradition around the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design by dematerializing and demystifying art and its production. GN Kennedy (b.1935) designs strictly described ” procedures ” to create a painting (Untitled, 1988) or reduces works of art to external mathematical measures (Canadian Contemporary Collection, Average size – Average color: Thirty-three Drawings, 1978). G. Ferguson ‘s Maintenance Paintings (1979-84) (b.1937) can be repainted by the owner or by the viewer. The Thick Paintings (to be continued) by E. Cameron (b. 1935) consist of household items painted with a thick layer of mechanically applied grainy white paint.

In the Prairies, the immense agricultural plain in the center of Canada, abstract art popularized by the Emma Lake Summer School (founded in 1936) has combined with an obsession with the landscape to create a vigorous tradition. The Five Painters from Regina exhibition, held in 1961 at the National Gallery, crystallized this trend with the artists R. Bloore (b.1925), T. Godwin (b.1933), K. Lochhead (b.1926), A. McKay (b.1926) and D. Morton (b.1926). The province of Saskatchewan also produced a school of very original figurative ceramic sculptors: V. Cicansky (b.1935), J. Fafard (b.1942), R. Yuristy (b.1936) and M. Levine (b. 1935). For Canada 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.

The city of Vancouver, far from New York and isolated from the rest of the Canada by large mountain ranges, located on the Pacific coast of northern California and perched on the crest of the Pacific Rim, almost a privileged place from which to observe a decentralized universe, has found its own way to fit into modernism and postmodernism. In 1961 R. Kiyooka (b.1926), who practiced a lyrical form of abstract expressionism, began teaching at the Vancouver School of Art, influencing a group of younger artists, such as B. Fisher (b.1939), G. Lee -Nova (b.1943), M. Morris (b.1942) and Canada Breeze (b.1938). In the early and mid-1960s the brilliant painter, draftsman and teacher BB Binning (1909-1976) introduced the most eminent personalities of the American avant-garde counterculture to Vancouver. Starting in 1966, the virtuoso painter and sculptor J. Shadbolt (b.1909) organized a series of creative sessions on counterculture at his home, which in 1967 led to the establishment of Intermedia, a group of young artists, representing the optimistic and utopian hippy, flower and drug culture of the 1960s. A separate trend in Vancouver has been that of the NETHING Company, founded in 1966 by Iain (b.1936) and Ingrid (b.1938) Baxter: with “ departments ” for every expression – hard edged, minimalist, anti-expressionist – practiced a parody of the corporate model of North American business, complete with a corporate symbol and notices for radio and television to make fun of the way in which art makes its own or rejects objects and perceptions, as it is ” art ”.

In the late 1970s and 1980s in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and elsewhere, many female artists focused on the human body and issues of sexual and physical identity, which sometimes meant a return to figurative art.

Goodwin (b.1923) explored intimate space in a series of installations in Montreal, in abandoned homes or industrial sites, and then devoted herself to a series of ” swimmers ”, ambiguous disassembled bodies that flounder, they float, drown in an indefinite and anguished space drawn or painted; in almost all of his works there is the psychological shadow of the Holocaust. S. Keeley (b.1955) in his paintings, frescoes, performances, videos and installations, makes use of a primitive style of mural painting, evocations of anatomical fragments, fetuses, basic physiological processes and eastern and western techniques of body knowledge. J. Sterbak (b.1955) creates installations and sculptures that are a reflection on female alienation, such as Remote Control (1989), in which a mannequin is suspended in the remote-controlled mechanical model of a crinoline dress. Canada Wainio (b. 1955) paints Kafkaesque nightmares, allegories and scenarios of human disappearances, vain struggles and disorder, as in Human Rights Movement (1981) and The Age of Enlightenment (1982). Canada Whiten (b.1945) began with fiberglass sculptures of her friends’ arms and legs, documenting their construction with slides, and then moved on to more abstract works that are an exploration of physical and psychic identity and intimate interpersonal relationships; in the late 1980s, he created a series of small dot reproductions of newspaper photographs: a critique, through an old-fashioned, delicate and intimate female domestic art, of the mass media image mechanically reproduced and transmitted. G. Falk (b. 1928) is a multimedia artist who creates settings, performs performances and, since 1974, has returned to a pictorial style.

The distinction between sculpture, installations, performances, video and photography dissolved in the work of many of the younger artists, but some of the previous generation continued to develop the vocabulary of modernist sculpture.

Etrog (b. 1933) uses forms such as bolts, hinges and columns and elaborates tormented highly worked surfaces, in combinations of mechanical and organic forms, often skeletal, which serve to humanize the mechanic and to robotize the human. The massive metal sculptures, abstract and aerodynamic, by R. Murray (b. 1936), at first minimalist, then more lyrical, have decorated many public places throughout the Canada and in the United States. Architect M. Charney (b.1935) developed the relationship between sculpture, architecture and installations with his monumental temporary wooden structures and developed a critique of monuments (Memo Series, 1969-70) and of the conceptual language of architecture (Dictionnaire, 1970-78). K. Wodiczko (b. 1943) projects luminous images (gigantic hands, enormous chains, missiles) onto public buildings and monuments, combining the ephemeral and the permanent in monumental metaphors.

Canada Arts Part III