Art Bank celebrates Canada Scene 2017

From June 5 to July 23, in collaboration with the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene, we are presenting a survey of the Art Bank collection, highlighting the diversity of Canada’s regions, with works that vary in time and place, medium and artistic intention. Consider this a layman’s lesson in the contemporary canon.

Each week for seven weeks, artists from different regions will be introduced. From iconic household names to perhaps less familiar artists, discover the breadth and diversity of our rich collection.

The selection of 35 artists and pieces from 7 regions or Scenes, will demonstrate how artists challenge their region’s associated visual iconography and perceptions of place.

Ontario’s Scene features artists who work to reclaim Indigenous identities and subvert historical narratives. Pieces criticize environmental destruction, or deconstruct traditions in medium and modes of production. More than any other Scene, this group employs irony, artifice, and protest, boldly stating, “We’re Fucked” without apology.

Joanne Tod, Kiss This Goodbye (1984), oil on canvas

Kent Monkman, Rebellion (2003), acrylic on canvas

Edward Burtynsky, Shipbreaking #3, Chittagong, Bangladesh (2000), photograph

Shelley Niro, Ghost (2004), photograph

Colleen Heslin, Dead End (2014), ink and dye on cotton

In Quebec, abstraction is a key theme of the Scene. From artists who draw on international influences, the subconscious and existentialism, to works that focus on complex changes in environment and mass consumption, challenging what we believe about our “progressive” society. These artists continuously dare the bounds of their media.

Guido Molinari, Structure Triangulaire Bleu-Rouge (1971), acrylic on canvas

Jérôme Fortin, Solitude 1 (papier romans) (2002), folded books under plexi

Jacques Hurtubise, Peinture No. 40 (1962), oil on canvas

Isabelle Hayeur, Décharge (1998), photograph

Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sans Titre (1960), gouache on paper

Canada’s Atlantic region may imply fiddle music, sad salty stories, and lighthouse paintings, but this Scene brings together artists whose work breaks regional stereotypes by contradicting idealized east coast landscapes, and by challenging gender and identity, commodification and consumption, and bring awareness to false representation in the age of information.

Ned Pratt, New Construction, Witless Bay (2007), photograph

Jordan BennettWhy Are Native Americans (2012), acrylic and gesso on canvas

Sarah Maloney, Milk and Honey (1993), bronze and bees wax sculpture

Brian Burke, Foreign Exchange (1987), oil on canvas

Léopold Foulem, Théière (famille jaune) (1992), ceramic sculpture

These albeit vague statements about art and place will be made clear with each new Scene’s release, stay tuned each week for more great content from our collections.


About the author: Julie Martin 

Julie Martin is an emerging professional in the cultural sector. She holds a B.A. in Honours History from Cape Breton University and a diploma in Applied Museum Studies from Algonquin College. Active in arts, culture and heritage on Cape Breton Island, she moved to Ottawa in 2015 to pursue her studies. Julie worked at the Canada Council for the Arts as a summer intern in 2016, and completed a field placement in 2017 at the Canada Council and Art Bank.




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