Who makes art and what does it mean to be an artist?
Artists have often tried to address such questions in portraits of one another and of themselves, and these explorations are highlighted in an exhibition selected from the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) permanent collection entitled Artists by Artists.
The exhibition features the work of more than 30 visual artists, including photographic portraits by Lionel Stevenson, Dominique Cruchet and Richard Furlong of Prince Edward Island artists Jack Turner, John Bradford MacCallum, Hilda Woolnough, Bill McFadden and Nigel Roe. Also included is a charcoal portrait of Donald Andrus by Bruno Bobak, Andrus' portrait of Adam Sultan, Brian Burke's portrait of Libby Oughton and a sculpture of legendary Quebecois artist Armand Vaillancourt by the late Carl Phillis.
The portraits in this exhibition make visible how artists think about what they do and who they are, often in the settings where they work and live.
“If a portrait is a record of its subject, it also reveals something of its maker’s relationship to the person portrayed and the social world they share,” says curator Pan Wendt. “Portraits of artists show us how artists define the singularity of their role, whether they are self-portraits that function as self-presentation or images of other artists that record the identifications, rivalries, and intimacies between peers.”
Also newly opened is The Debbie Show: Views from the Desk, co curated by Islanders Jill McRae and Andrew Cairns. In this exhibition, gallery receptionist Debbie Muttart shares her favourite pieces from the CCAG collection.
A gallery fixture for over 24 years, Muttart is a friendly face and colourful voice that many regular visitors to the centre know well. She has observed and interpreted over 40 per cent of the exhibitions that have graced the walls of the gallery, and from her seat at the front desk, she has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors from all corners of the world and been privy to the great wealth of public reactions.
Digging deep from this bank of knowledge, Muttart has compiled a list of her personal picks in her first foray into helping curate the space she knows so well. The selected art works show a great range of medium and genre and reflect a life spent interpreting the collection and sharing her perspective with generations of patrons. The Debbie Show is on exhibition until April 12 in the Lower East Gallery space, next to her desk.
Opening later this month is Victor Cicansky: The Gardener’s Universe. This exhibition of 100 ceramic bronze works presents a richly layered retrospective of the Canadian artist’s career. More information will be circulated regarding this exhibition, which opens Jan. 25 at the CCAG.
Next month, the CCAG will also present a weekly art talk or exhibition tour on each of the previously described exhibitions. Held each Thursday, 12-12:30 p.m., the talks are free of charge and all are welcome. For more information, visit the gallery website.