A Look Back During a Move Forward: Beaverbrook Art Gallery Opens two Major Retrospectives this Fall.

Beaverbrook Art GallerySeptember 11, 20170 Comments


A Look Back During a Move Forward: Beaverbrook Art Gallery Opens two Major Retrospectives this Fall.

Fredericton, NB, September 11, 2017 -- As the Beaverbrook Art Gallery moves closer to the opening of its new pavilion on the weekend of October 14 and 15, activity continues in the existing facility. Two new exhibitions, each a major retrospective of a Canadian artist, will open this month and be on view until January. On September 23, 2017 at 5 pm, the public is cordially invited to the official opening celebration of the exhibitions Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses and Oscar Cahén.

As they enter the Gallery, visitors will encounter Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses. Curated by Susan Gibson Garvey and Andrea Kunard, this extensive exhibition fills the Canadian, Marion McCain, Harriet Irving, and Orientation Galleries, and looks back over nearly four decades of work.

Leading Newfoundland-based environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates has exhibited her work in more than 350 solo and group exhibitions across Canada and around the world. Over the years, Creates has engaged with the landscape around her, exploring the idea of place as a layered process involving memory, experiences, narratives and knowledge. Photography is central to her artistic practice, although her diverse activities also include mixed-media assemblage, video, sound, and, more recently, poetry and performance.

For this exhibition, curators Susan Gibson Garvey (independent curator; former Director/Curator, Dalhousie Art Gallery) and Andrea Kunard (Associate Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Canada), have brought together over sixty works from across the country. These have been borrowed from important public collections, including from the National Gallery of Canada, and from the artist herself, inviting visitors to explore her work in depth.

“Throughout her career, Creates has sensitively probed the relationship between human experience and the natural world, choosing a path that privileges the act over the artifact, the moment over the monument,” say Garvey and Kunard. “Creates leads us with an environmental and cultural consciousness to a greater understanding of the natural world and our ‘places’ in it. The comprehensive and immersive experience of the exhibition provides a rare opportunity to explore the range of her practice, and to locate it within larger critical, cultural and ecological contexts.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery will be the first stop for this touring exhibition; following its presentation in Fredericton, it will embark on a two-year cross-Canada tour that will include galleries in Halifax, Charlottetown, Ottawa, and St. John's. Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in partnership with Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, the exhibition is presented with the support of the Museums Assistance Program (MAP) of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Harriet Irving Endowment, the Scotiabank Artist Residency Program, the Province of New Brunswick, and the City of Fredericton.

A second major retrospective, Oscar Cahén, will bring new attention to one of Canada’s important mid-20th century artists in the Contemporary and Joseph and Fanny Oppenheimer Galleries. Cahén was instrumental in the founding of Painters Eleven, the famed group of abstract artists, in 1953. He was a prolific and well known magazine illustrator, contributing 37 cover illustrations for Maclean's magazine alone. Beyond that, he was an influential abstract artist in the early 1950s. Tragically, the artist was killed in an automobile accident in 1956 at the age of 40. His work has since been collected by and showcased in many major public art museums, and his contribution to Canadian art history is chronicled in standard art history texts; and yet, many of his artworks have rarely been exhibited publicly – until now.

Bringing together works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, from the Cahén Archives, and from other public and private collections, this tribute exhibition will be the first large-scale examination of the artist’s work in over 30 years. It marks the culmination of over a decade of work by Chief Curator Jeffrey Spalding, CM, RCA.

“We think we know the work of Oscar Cahén,” he says. “But in actuality, the public knows him primarily through our admiration of only a dozen or so paintings, or as Canada’s most prolific and influential magazine illustrator. Naturally, we have gathered these key works for our exhibition. However, we have also chosen to showcase many works that the artist did not have an opportunity to publicly display during his fleeting life. His mature career could be characterized as a mere six years: 1950-56. Our exhibition will demonstrate that not only was he the major abstract innovator of the early 1950s, but that his works were the harbinger and roadmap for subsequent generations.”

This exhibition is organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of CI Institutional Asset Management (CI Investments).

In addition to these ground-breaking works, viewers will have the opportunity to discover more about this artist’s life and artistic practice through interpretive materials, and to see some of the illustrations he is also known for.

Interim Director of the Gallery Bernard Riordon, OC, comments: “These exhibitions represent the culmination of great efforts. We are deeply thankful to the artists for creating these artworks, and to the curators and all the supporters who have made this possible. We encourage everyone to come and explore the works of these highly-accomplished artists.”

Both upcoming exhibitions are on view through January 21, 2018, and will be accompanied by major publications collecting and presenting new research and writing about the artists, and giving more depth to the exhibition experience. These publications will be available for purchase at the Gallery shop and at other outlets.


Media: High resolution images available upon request.

About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and International works of art. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery “enriches life through art”. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.
La Galerie d'art Beaverbrook enrichit la vie par l'art.

Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin

Manager of Communications
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039
Email: communications@beaverbrookartgallery.org   

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