Google Arts & Culture: Feast For Your EyesBy: ArtBank / 19 October 2020
We are pleased to announce the Art Bank's collaboration with Google with the aim of providing global audiences a chance to access high-resolution images of Canadian contemporary art selected from the Art Bank’s impressive collection on the online platform Google Arts & Culture.
Before beginning my practicum at the Art Bank I had not fully grasped the broad range of media, subject matter, and styles represented in contemporary Canadian Art. For this reason, along with others, I am extremely grateful for the practicum experience. I have learned much about accomplished artists from across Canada and have come to admire the Art Bank’s dedication to Canadian art and artists. The projects I worked on, researching two collections for dissemination online, demonstrate the Canada Council Art Bank’s commitment to supporting excellence in Canadian art and to expanding global access to it.
Google Art Camera photographing The Pair (1986) by Kenneth Lochhead in the Art Bank warehouse
The Feast for your Eyes collection explores close to 40 works by contemporary Canadian artists selected for their material richness, to take advantage of the Google Art Camera’s ultra high-resolution, which can capture and make visible fine detail. The artworks in this collection span many years, medium, scale and subject matter, allowing viewers to grasp the diversity of the field of Canadian contemporary art. The following three artists and their works are a few of my favourites from the Feast for your Eyes collection.
Sarah Maloney is an exceptional Nova Scotia based contemporary artist. Her use of such media as beadwork and embroidery provide a stimulating viewing experience. Her oeuvre, which includes sculptural works, is unified through the artist’s consistent focus on the natural realm. In a world that has become increasingly concerned with environmental decline, Maloney’s work reinforces the viewer’s understanding of their inherent connection to the Earth. Maloney’s Botanical Study: Two Figures is an embroidery work produced in 2006 that provides a visual connection between human anatomy and plants. The process of embroidery, in which stitches slowly and precisely build to create images, echoes the way in which both plant and human cells are structured. Through Google’s high-resolution camera technology, each stitch is made visible to viewers around the world.
Sarah Maloney, Botanical Study: Two Figures (2006)
Image by Google
Carl Stewart’s Swoon #4 provides a quasi-tactile experience. Stewart is interested in how images on the internet cannot—despite what they might promise—provide a tactile experience. By transforming such images into a textile, however, he turns these images into something that can offer a physical sensation. The digitalisation of this specific work by the Google Art Camera returns the image back to the digital world, further complexifying the viewer’s experience.
Carl Stewart, Swoon #4 (2001)
Image by Google
Jim Reid is a highly inventive Canadian artist who incorporates elements from nature in selected Canadian locations into his three-dimensional landscape works. Landscape #18 incorporates tree branches and twigs covered in paint applied via an impasto technique. This unique process allows Reid to generate a consistent feeling of place in his work. His fusion of man-made materials like acrylic paint and natural materials such as tree branches and twigs both preserve his chosen locations and allow viewers to experience the Canadian landscape in a novel way. No longer simply a depiction of a Canadian landscape, Reid’s work provides viewers with a literal piece of it. Can you spot the branches incorporated in Landscape #18?
Jim Reid, Landscape #18 (1990)
Image by Google
While I have highlighted the works and artists above as my personal favourites, it is hard to play favourites when each work in the collection is as resonant with material, visual experience and meaning as the next. I therefore invite and urge readers to explore the full collection: Google Arts & Culture. Each work was chosen for its visual splendour and each work achieves it uniquely.
About the Author: Rebecca Korn
Rebecca Korn is a first year M.A. candidate in the Art History program at Carleton University. Provided with a practicum placement at the Art Bank, she delighted in the opportunity to learn about Canadian contemporary artists and their artworks. Her time at the Art Bank consisted of researching two online exhibitions with the aim of providing art lovers across the globe with access to examples of the outstanding work of contemporary Canadian artists.