Today, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria holds the largest public collection of art in the province. Working with a nearly blank slate, Colin Graham, the AGGV's founding Director, imagined a collection culled from every corner of the world. He wanted to ?give Victoria the whole gamut of ethnic cultures.? Building relationships with Victorians who had art in their homes, Graham appealed to them to help establish a collection that could be held in public trust for the citizens of British Columbia.
Colin Graham, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria?s Founding Director, had remarkable insight in starting the Asian art collection, now one of the most important in Canada. Among the very first works of art accepted into the Gallery?s collection in 1950 were two Japanese woodblock prints by the well-known artist, Utamaro (1753-1806). These were given by important early benefactor, Miss Katherine McEwen. Following her lead, Miss Kathleen Agnew and Mrs. Massy Goolden generously supplied funds to purchase early Chinese ceramics and bronzes as well as Japanese lacquerware.
In anticipation of Great New Wave: Contemporary Art from Japan, Toronto based artist Kate Wilson creates a wall-drawing project exploring small contained architectures. Wilson says, It's the idea of constructing ephemeral spaces, which permit a transitory experimentation. My work goes back and forth between computer generation and hand execution.
For Canada in the 21st century it is pertinent for us to examine the evolution of Canadian art in the context of modernity. The postwar era 1945-1970 marked the expectancy of the modern as a universality. In 1951 Colin Graham became the first director of the AGGV and over the next thirty years he shaped the institution and its collection as a legacy for all. Victoria as well as the entire country is fortunate to have Colin Graham, with his knowledge, commitment, vision, and leadership. Graham recognised and embraced the generation of artists and thinkers coming out of the war.
The art of Tibet is almost exclusively devoted to the service of Buddhism and is almost never practiced for art's sake. Tibetan art is representative of the existential character of Mahayana Buddhism known as Tantrayana or Vajrayana (the diamond path or vehicle), which considers its art to be very sacred. Although Tibetan art is religious in nature, it is also rich in artistic or aesthetic value. Tibetan art is evocative and the portraiture, although often rigidly stereotyped, shows a great variety of styles rendered in a powerful and realistic manner, particularly in the
Presented in conjunction with the Vision Into Reality exhibition, Mary-Anne McTrowe has produced a crocheted history of the Art Gallery's entire collection derived from her interest in symbolic representation, taxonomy and systems of organization: My portraits portray the Gallery's collection as it is described through the filter of the database, and can be seen as metadata; information about information.
In the summer of 2008 Victoria based artist Mike McLean drove to Banff, Lake Louise, and Waterton Lakes National Park. In the tradition of many before him, he documented these travels with a large format field camera on 4x5 colour negative film. As McLean describes, Historically, the Rocky Mountains have filled many roles in Western Canada. The landscape has helped to shape a collective identity, provided seasonal work opportunities, and offered recreational pleasures to countless visitors.
Everything in British Columbia is larger than anywhere else in Canada; the mountains, trees, flowers, the Pacific vistas. The extremes of physical scale and rugged beauty have alternately intimidated and attracted artists. In 1940 artist Jack Shadbolt made reference to British Columbia's 'giant landscape' as something the artists of his time could easily accept. Earlier artists found this region daunting as they attempted to view it through eyes accustomed only to tamed Old World landscapes.
The World Upside Down is one in which the symbolic order is turned on its head. It is a world visualized by artists where killer rabbits hunt humans and Superman is a hero of the Soviet Union. It is the Planet of the Apes and a planet where British aristocrats lose their heads when they find themselves dressed in 'African' fabrics. In each symbolic inversion an artist turns a hierarchical dichotomy on its head illuminating and challenging the visual conventions that maintain social order.
Edo is the old name for the city of Tokyo; it is also the name for the historic period from 1603 until 1868 when Japan was ruled by military leaders, called shoguns, that came from the Tokugawa family. They ruled Japan for a remarkable 250 years. Edo started as a small fishers' village, but it soon developed into a busy and overpopulated city in which commerce, arts and crafts and the entertainment business flourished and in which rich and poor lived side by side.
A Magic Particular is a series of interpretive sculptures based on selected works from the AGGV Collection which have been accessed online by the artist. These new works, created without viewing the original work, will be displayed together with their original muse to create a dialogue about representation and perception, between the real and imagined, the mediated and the authentic. Adzich says, Walter Benjamin observed that mechanical reproduction had removed the aura from the unique work of art. We do however still patronize the institutions which house these reliquaries.
This exhibition hosts 115 days of art, including sculpture, video-documentation, drawings, films, performances, actions, networks, sound works, and a theatrical performance, exploring the expanding field of socially engaged art.
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, with millions of different peoples. They follow a wide variety of different religions. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including: Shamanism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as many other beliefs.
Reconstitution is an installation project incorporating a blend of experimental and narrative techniques to shape a cinematic perspective that experiments with visual language commonly used in painting. The installation will be comprised of 3 parts, with all three cinematic panels playing simultaneously. The concept for the installation is inspired by altarpiece triptychs from the Renaissance and Medieval periods in art history.
Yoko Takashima presents an interactive new media project along with recent works exploring ideas of sensuality, embodiment, domesticity and maternity through photography, installation and new media. Takashima's works are remarkable for their questioning of gendered roles, here extending to the performance of family life and its transformation of the individual. Takashima's works are poignant intelligent reflections on the contemporary experience of wives, mothers, husbands and fathers in their enactment of daily life.
Don Jean-Louis's career presents a journey of individual discovery and visual exploration. Initially interested in mapping nature through precise organic drawings and paintings in the early 1960s, Jean-Louis's work shifted to the orchestration of perceptual situations with new materials such as vacuum-formed uvex (plastic) and neon.
Through the Gallery's collections spanning the 16th to 20th centuries, this exhibition explores the activities we perform to survive the labour and industry that establishes our position in the world our Lot in Life. The subject of labour has long drawn the interest of artists because of its narrative, symbolic, and expressive possibilities. Lot in Life invites us to consider the vast meanings of work and the insight those meanings give us into the human condition. Images of labour speak about suffering and survival and suggest the spiritual and emotional condition of the individual.