Jane Ash Poitras, Cree/Canadian, 1951–. From Riel to Peltier, 1999. Mixed media on canvas, 162.7 x 315.2 cm. Purchased with funds from the Estate of Jean Victoria Sinclair, and with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisitions Assistance Program; 99.3. Lent by: Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton
Pathways and Politics: 1990-2010
The artists in this gallery demonstrate distinctly contemporary concerns in both content and form in the works on display, often using critique as part of their methodology. There are unmistakable political undercurrents at play, with a number of works investigating colonial reverberations in 20th-century Canada manifesting via corporate interests, legislation, land rights, and cultural clashes. Even art comes under scrutiny, as art history’s Eurocenticism and the art institution itself become objects of critique. Themes of exploitation continue with reference to migrant labour ethics, and Canadian international relations are also satirized. A more philosophically reflective study of art itself occurs in painting and sculpture. With Minimalism’s material reduction and consideration of gallery placement emerging in floor-based sculpture, such work became another form of institutional critique. Though situated firmly in the present, selected Aboriginal sculptures are physically and conceptually mindful of historical narratives and traditions. And in painting, elements of Realism and Romanticism are also referenced.