February 1 – April 26, 2015
Opening reception: Saturday, January 31, 6-10pm
Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America, organized by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), is the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside Canada. Comprising of more than 100 artworks by 62 artists and collectives from across the country, Oh, Canada is huge in both scale and scope. Too big for just one gallery, the exhibition will be presented at Esker Foundation, Nickle Galleries, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, and Glenbow Museum. This unique collaboration will encourage dialogue, debate, and a deeper understanding of local, regional, and national contemporary practice.
Artists featured at Esker Foundation include: Kim Adams, Nicholas Baier, Dean Baldwin, BGL, Valérie Blass, Bill Burns, Michel de Broin, Marcel Dzama, Brendan Fernandes, Michael Fernandes, Hadley + Maxwell, Diane Landry, Craig Leonard, Micah Lexier, Luanne Martineau, Rita McKeough, Graeme Patterson, Joseph Tisiga, Hans Wendt, John Will.
Oh, Canada is curated by Denise Markonish and organized by MASS MoCA. The exhibition is supported by TD Bank and the Canada Council for the Arts.
For more information on all four venues, visit: www.ohcanadayyc.com
Passport to Oh, Canada
Make sure you see it all! Get your Oh, Canada passport stamped at each of the four main exhibition venues and enter to win a $1000 pre-paid credit card. Pick up your passport at Esker Foundation, Glenbow, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, and/or Nickle Galleries. Drop off your completed passport in the contest box located at any of the four galleries. No purchase required. Contest closes on April 11, 2015. One winner will be selected by random draw from all valid entries and will be notified by email or phone after April 13, 2015.
Full contest rules and regulations: Oh, Canada Passport Contest Rules
Kim Adams’ fantastical and densely constructed sculptural assemblages incorporate readymade, mass-produced, and prefabricated materials to explore ideas of street culture, community, mobility, technology, and mass consumerism with humour and imagination. As one of Canada’s leading sculptors, Adams’ work has been exhibited extensively in Canada and internationally. In 2012 he received the Gershon Iskowitz Prize; in 2013 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship; and in 2014 he was a winner of the prestigious Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
Nicolas Baier’s alchemical photographic, painted, and sculptural works reference the passage of time – the eternal and the fleeting – and are concerned with properties of the visible and invisible, transformations and timescales, astrophysics, and the microcosms and intricacies of natural phenomena. Baier holds a BFA from Concordia University and currently lives and works in Montréal.
Dean Baldwin constructs temporary large-scale architectural structures as social immersive environments within which he performs the role of host, often sharing food and alcohol with the public. These performative hybrid spaces subvert the traditional conventions of museum and gallery spaces and blur the borders between performance, social practice, participatory art, and community organization. Baldwin holds a BFA from York University, Toronto and an MFA from Concordia University, Montréal. He currently lives and works in Montréal.
BGL consists of Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère, and Nicolas Laverdière who founded the artist collective while studying at Laval University, Sainte-Foy. Renowned for cheeky, critical, and explosive works, BGL creates self-referential and/or site-specific works that range from painting and sculpture to immersive installations and performances. The group was shortlisted for the 2006 Sobey Art Award, and was chosen to represent Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The three artists currently live and work in Québec City.
Valérie Blass’ sculptures hybridize respective strategies in the confusion of figurative elements and in the disordering of reflexive narrative projections. Through the interplay of anthropomorphism and formal interchangeability, the artist empties out the distinction between abstraction and figuration in the staging of a deep ambivalence, ultimately reorienting the viewer’s points of reference.
For over ten years, Blass’ works have been exhibited on national and international levels and have been acquired for numerous public and private collections. In 2012 the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal organized a major solo exhibition focusing on Blass, accompanied with the printing of a monograph. Her work was first exhibited in New York in 2013 at The Hole, as well as in Istanbul during the same year at the Galeri Manâ and at Art International Istanbul. Blass is regularly included in art fairs in Canada and in the US.
Bill Burns was born into a book selling family in Regina, Saskatchewan. His work about nature and civil society has been shown and published widely including solo projects at Hippolyte, Helsinki (2014); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2008); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2007), and group shows at the Kunsthallen Nikolaj in Copenhagen (2009); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005-06); Seoul Museum of Art (2002); and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995). He has published numerous books including Three Books and an Audio CD About Plants and Animals and War (Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, 2011) and Hans Ulrich Obrist Hear Us (London: YYZBOOKS and Black Dog Publishing, 2015).
Michel de Broin
Michel de Broin’s work ranges from assemblage to video and photography. His multifaceted production deals with energy flows, entropic devolution, and the forms of visual, spatial, and technological paradox that derive from these forces. Most of his works are retooled everyday appliances, found objects that disclose an ironic re-utilization not only of the mechanic universe but also of tropes of Conceptual Art and Minimalism. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Sobey Art Award. He holds a BFA from Concordia University, Montréal and an MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal. De Broin currently lives and works in New York.
Marcel Dzama’s work is characterized by an immediately recognizable visual language that draws from a diverse range of references and artistic influences. While he has become known for his prolific drawings with their distinctive palette of muted colors, in recent years, the artist has expanded his practice to encompass sculpture, painting, film, and dioramas. Dzama was born in Winnipeg and currently lives in New York. He received a BFA from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. He has exhibited widely internationally and his work is held in museum collections worldwide.
Brendan Fernandes was born in Kenya of Indian heritage and currently lives and works in Toronto and New York. Often drawing on post-colonial theory, Fernandes’ work investigates the concepts of cultural identity and authenticity, and highlights the complexities of such terms in the context of globalization. His work has examined Western notions of an exotic Africa, as well as how culture is disseminated in the Western world. It also investigates the plasticity of personal identity, foregrounding in particular the process of migration. Migration defines identity via one’s transformation of becoming something else through processes of loss and gain, forgetfulness and remembrance.
Through his use of language, dance, video and sound, Fernandes re-examines historical material with an eye towards experiential and affective elements. In his newest work he draws on these explorations in order to look at the intimate relation between embodiment and identity. His work examines how movement techniques are recalled in the body via muscle memory and Fernandes explores this phenomenon through cultural dance, ballet, and the language that prescribes directions for the dancer to move. In 2010, he was a finalist for the prestigious Sobey Art Award.
Michael Fernandes was born in Trinidad and currently lives and works in Halifax, where he teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His art practice includes mixed media, installation, and performance, as well as audio and book works. Through public interventions and gallery installations, Fernandes generates social situations that solicit active participation by others. His work probes the intersection of private life with public space, and the relationship between art and everyday life, by combining linguistic and performance events with humour.
Hadley+Maxwell is comprised of Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephens, who have been collaborating since they met in Vancouver in 1997. Their installations, performances, and writings employ diverse media to rework iconic images and traditional forms as they are expressed in pop-cultural, artistic, and political movements. They cut into reified narratives via direct touch, transposition, and refiguration, putting into play the absences cast in relief. Hadley+Maxwell currently live and work in Berlin.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Diane Landry designs original performances, installations with automation, audio sculptures and works she qualifies as “mouvelles.” Her work subverts and challenges familiar associations and memories by recycling and repurposing everyday objects and materials. Landry’s work seeks to provoke new, surprising relationships to known objects and to break the usual link between our reading of an object and our memory of it. She received a BA from Université Laval, Québec City and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto. Landry currently lives and works in Québec City.
Craig Leonard (b. Halifax, NS, 1969)
Micah Lexier is a Toronto-based artist, curator, and collector. He has a deep interest in measurement, increment, games, puzzles, found imagery, and the kinds of casual marks we make in our day-to-day lives. He has had over 100 solo exhibitions, participated in almost 200 group exhibitions and produced a dozen permanent public commissions. Lexier holds a BFA from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.
Luanne Martineau is an Associate Professor of Painting + Drawing at Concordia University, Montreal, whose research practice explores the social stratification of artistic production and the “naturalized” fissures between art genres, engaging a long tradition of satire and critique within contemporary art. Interconnecting processes of craft with the suppressed narratives of the artisan within minimalist and post-minimalist “deskilled” materiality, Martineau’s research pursues the conflation of method, style and ideology within artistic manufacture. In 2009 was a finalist for the Sobey Art Award.
Rita McKeough lives and works in Calgary, where she has been an instructor at the Alberta College of Art + Design since 2007. An audio, media installation and performance artist, McKeough has exhibited extensively in Canada since 1977 and has presented her work internationally. She has taught at various art institutions throughout Canada and has been a drummer in various bands including Demi Monde, Confidence Band and, most recently, Sleepy Panther. She holds a BFA from the University of Calgary, and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.
From Saskatoon, Graeme Patterson now lives in Sackville. His practice stems from a self-taught method of producing stop-motion animations, but has expanded into large video/sculptural installations that consist of animation, sculptural models, robotics, sound, music, and some interactive elements. His inspiration comes from a desire to constantly develop an alternate reality that stimulates reflective engagement with universal themes of longing, loss and recovery. He holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax and was shortlisted for the 2014 Sobey Art Award.
Joseph Tisiga’s work addresses notions of myth and identity through a narrative informed by his Kaska Dene and mixed European heritage. It is through this lens that he examines the clash or hybridity that occurs between Indigenous and North American/European modalities. The sum of these influences form an evolving personal mythology he refers to as “Indian Brand Corporation,” a symbolic landscape where thoughts find bodies. In 2011 he was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award and won the Historica-Dominion Aboriginal arts competition. Currently he lives and works between Whitehorse and Halifax. Tisiga is represented by Diaz Contemporary, Toronto.
Hans Wendt was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and raised in Prince Edward Island. He currently lives and works in Millvale, PEI. He has been active as an artist in various mediums for most of his adult life, but began painting seriously following studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design in the 1990s. Since 1999 he has turned his focus to the creation of conceptually driven watercolour paintings. Recent exhibitions include Recent Work, The Apartment, Vancouver; Oh, Canada, MASS MoCA, North Adams and Gallerie d’Art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen, Moncton; Hans Wendt/Studio Painting, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown; In/Flux: Migrating Culture and Cultural Modernism in PEI, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown. He is currently represented by The Apartment in Vancouver.
John Will was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1939 and moved to Canada in 1971. He holds a BA from the University of Northern Iowa and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He was a Fulbright fellow to Amsterdam and he has been a visiting artist over 30 institutions. In 1965 he was a visiting artist at Yale University where he thought he knew everything. In 1997 he was a visiting artist at Keyano College in Ft. McMurray, the site of the Canadian tar sands and he began to realize he knows nothing. (It only took him 32 years.)