Yesterday, with our friend Suzanne in town from Halifax, we trundled on up to the McMichael Canadian Collection, north of the city. Once again there was a great deal of very interesting work to see, and as a bonus, we bumped into two old friends we hadn’t seen in years.
I particularly enjoyed the large exhibition of Annie Pootoogook’s work, mostly drawings depicting her day to day life and experiences living in the Arctic. I had seen some of her work in the past, but it was quite a moving experience to see such a large collection together in the gallery. Pootoogook drew what she experienced and depicted it in a disarmingly matter-of-fact manner, even when the subect matter was disturbing and uncomfortable.
Passion over Reason pairs Joyce Wieland’s work with that of Tom Thomson. From the gallery website: Consider this exhibition to be a passionate love letter to Tom Thomson and Canada – two subjects at the core of this sesquicentennial year – and a conversation between masterworks by Thomson and by Canada’s feminist art pioneer Joyce Wieland. Going in I wasn’t sure what to make of the premise for this exhibition but though quirky, the mix of work held together just fine.
There was also a major retrospective of Alex Janvier’s work 100 paintings and drawings exploring a fantastic 65-year career. I was unfamiliar with much of Janvier’s work and was fascinated with how he used “western” contemporary approaches to express aspects of his Dene history including his residential school experience. Very powerful.
Our visit was a whirlwind one, as we had less than an hour and a half to see all the work before the gallery closed. There was a lot to take in in a short period of time. I continue to be impressed with consistent high quality exhibitions coming out of McMichael over the past couple years.