Found in Translation: Highlights from the Contemporary Collection

September 13, 2012 – November 4, 2012
Diana Dean, Lamentations, 1994, oil on canvas, 168 cm x 229 cm. Collection of the MacLaren Art Centre. Gift of J. Michael Robinson, Q.C., Toronto, 2000
Carnegie Days Festival 2012

Found in Translation: Highlights from the Contemporary Collection
September 13 to November 4, 2012
Janice Laking Gallery and Gallery 3
Curator: Jennifer Withrow
Reception: Thursday, September 13, 7 to 9 pm

Found in Translation features contemporary works from the MacLaren’s Permanent Collection by leading regional artists Walter Bachinski, Ted Fullerton, Dennis Geden, John Hartman and Robert Marchessault, as well as distinguished artists from across Canada. This exhibition presents a unique opportunity to view highlights from the Collection in the context of techniques and traditions of abstraction.

The artworks on view in the Janice Laking Gallery illustrate diverse approaches to abstract traditions. The range of techniques applied to achieve an abstracted outcome is evident in the juxtaposition of works by senior artists Christopher Pratt and David Bolduc. While Pratt uses close-ups, amplified detail and unusual perspectives in his Light Northeast, Bolduc reduces detail, as in Seascape, Pouch Cove, Nfld, leaving the environment to exist in its most essential, experiential forms. In Buried Ocean, Toronto artist James Lahey divides a large panel into two equal halves, one figurative, the other abstract. The coexistence of the figurative and the abstract is taken on directly; the resulting relationship is arrestingly fluid and provocative. Works by Barrie artist Frances Thomas, renowned Canadian abstract painters David Sorensen, Rita Letendre, Joseph Drapell and others illustrate complete expressive immersion into abstraction.

By contrast, Gallery 3 presents works that address themes of spirituality and transcendence, revealing how abstract elements are used to express non-physical elements of experience. Featured are significant works by Fullerton and Hartman, and a key work by British Columbia artist Diana Dean entitled Lamentations. In these works, elements of abstraction increase the potency of the apparition-like figures and hauntingly luminous night skies. These, along with others drawn from the MacLaren’s Collection, explore how surreal, dream-like environments are amplified by the introduction of abstract approaches.