CHARLOTTETOWN – One of the incredible resources at Confederation Centre is the Art Gallery’s permanent collection. The collection reflects the interest of individual Canadian artists working in different parts of the country, and is heavily focused on the 19th and 20th century works.
© Confederation Centre of the Arts collection
Robert Harris (1849-1919) “North Bridge and Waverly Station, Edinburgh,” 1901, oil on panel.
There is a large representation of Robert Harris (1849-1919) contained in the Harris Collection and Archive covering his entire career, and by extension through family papers, insight into the life of a mid-19th century immigrant family in P.E.I. and Canada. Many other artists are represented through much smaller collections, providing a range of works from across their career, and other artists are simply represented by a single work.
The collection is a significant achievement related to the gallery’s mandate to collect, research, and exhibit visual art in its many forms. In celebration of Confederation Centre’s 50th anniversary, the gallery will highlight the collection in a series of exhibitions that draw historic, modern, and contemporary work from the collection – sometimes focusing thematically on a period or artist and at other times mixing work to make new associations, as is the goal with “In Transit: Artists on locations.”
Opening Feb. 1, “In Transit” features works inspired by artists’ travels and their investigation of place using the tools of their practice – be it a sketchbook, camera, paint on panel, or a more conceptual premise. Place of origin and subject matter are the starting points for this project, which aims to show how artists have reflected the diverse landscape of their own country as well as their work internationally.
Gallery director and curator of “In Transit,” Kevin Rice, says “In the Art Gallery’s historic collection we are very fortunate to have dozens of beautiful small oil on panel landscapes by Robert Harris – these will be at the core of this exhibition.”
Harris travelled extensively in Eastern Canada, British Columbia; northeastern United States, and internationally in the British Isles, France, Germany, and Switzerland.
“Exhibiting the Harris landscapes along with four paintings by A.Y. Jackson – one of the best known of the Group of Seven painters, or some of the large colour photographs by celebrated photographer Edward Burtynsky – will provide opportunities to see the shared interests in landscape and place of many generations of artists.”
Also included will be works by such avid travellers as 19th century watercolour painter George Ackermann, Kathleen Daly and George Pepper, whose drawings and paintings, from the first half of the 20th century record the landscape of Nain, Labrador, Peggy’s Cove, N.S., and a first nations community in British Columbia.
“In Transit: Artists on Locations” is also an opportunity to see Bill Vazan’s large conceptual landscape project, “Cross Canada Line,” 1969 (remade in 1999). This project includes eight maps of Canadian cities and photographs documenting a line spanning the Canadian map from coast to coast, and touching down in galleries across the country, including the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.
“In Transit” shows until May 11. The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.