Summer Reading List: “Under the Influence” with Jane Buyers

By: Nicole Neufeld, Director of Public Programs, KW|AG

Earlier this summer, local artist Jane Buyers shared with a packed house some insights into the artists, images, and experiences that have influenced her artistic practice over the years. Equally important were some of the writings she encountered along her journeys, which she painstakingly paired down to a select few to share with the audience. Looking over the list, some of the stories told and ideas explored in these texts would make for great summer reading while relaxing in your backyard or at the cottage. Or, to strike a different note, get you ready for the “back to school” mentality in September.

As an artist who also taught for decades in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Fine Arts, her role as teacher and her relationships with students certainly played an important role in shaping her approach. The first image she shared with the audience was of a postcard reproduction she always kept in her office of Yves Klein’s photograph, Leap into the Void (1960); when students asked the inevitable question: “how do I become an artist?”, this is what she would show them.

Yves Klein, Leap into the Void (1960)

Yves Klein, Leap into the Void (1960)


Some early influences of Jane’s included Virginia Luz and Doris McCarthy, who would stop in, on their way to the Thousand Islands for their regular painting trips, for a visit with Jane’s parents when she was young. For Jane, it was eye-opening at an early age to meet women who pursued work as artists. The tale of McCarthy’s life, along with that of the also influential Emily Carr, is included on Jane’s book list.


Image 2, Virginia Luz

Virginia Luz, Holland (1948)

Image 3, Emily Carr

Emily Carr, Scorned as Timber (1936)

Later in her career, the likes of Louise Nevelson (whose documented conversations with Diana Mackown make Jane’s list) and Alice Aycock’s interest in minimalism and architecture (find out more in the article, listed) were both significant for Jane – as they were for many women artists working in the 70s and 80s.

Image 4, Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral (1958)

Along the way, in the progression of her own work, Jane focused on collecting and cataloging objects. The readings she found to support her quest include Susan Stewart’s text, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection and the Deep Storage compilation of essays included in the list below. Happy reading!

Image 5, Jane Buyers

Jane Buyers, Pratica #2 (1994)

Book List: Jane Buyers Under the Influence

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
June 15, 2014

Carr, Emily. Growing Pains: An Autobiography. Toronto: Clarke Irwin 1971.
Carr, Emily. Hundreds and Thousands: the Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke Irwin & Co. 1966.
Manning, Jo. A Printmaker’s Memoir: A Personal History of an Era. Manotick: Penumbra Press, 2009.
McCarthy, Doris. A Fool in Paradise: An Artist’s Early Life. Toronto: Macfarlane Walker & Ross, 1990.
McCarthy, Doris. The Good Wine: An Artist Come of Age. Toronto: Macfarlane Walker & Ross, 1991.
Nevelson, Louise. Dawns and Dusks: Conversations with Diana MacKown. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976.
Robinson, Roxana. Georgia O’Keefe: A Life. New York: Harper& Row, 1989.
Truitt, Anne. Daybook, the Journal of an Artist. Penguin,1982.

Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press,1969.
Bryson, Norman. Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still Life Painting. Harvard University Press, 1990.
Butler, Cornelia H. After Image: Drawing Through Process. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
Cumming, Neil, ed. Reading Things. Sight Works Volume Three. London: Chance Books, 1993.
Grant, Simon, ed. In my View: Personal Reflections on Art by Today’s Leading Artists. London: Thames & Hudson, 2012.
Harbison, Robert. Eccentric Spaces. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.
Hollander, Anne. Moving Pictures. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.
Denton, Monroe. “after years of ruminating on the events that led up to his misfortune…Alice Aycock Projects and Proposals 1971-1978. Allentown, PA: Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 1978.
Schaffner, Ingrid & Winzen, Matthias, eds. Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing and Archiving in Art. New York: Prestel, 1998.
Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 1993.

Making Room: Woman and Architecture. Heresies 11, Vol 3 No 3, 1981

Artists Referenced
Alice Aycock (U.S.A) 1946
Jennifer Bartlett (U.S.A) 1941
Gilles Barbier (France) 1965
Karsten Bott (Germany) 1960
Emily Carr (Canada) 1897-1945
Doris McCarthy (Canada) 1910-2010
Yves Klein (France) 1928-1962
Joseph Kosuth (U.S.A.) 1945
Louise Nevelson ( U.S.A.) 1899-1988
Georgia O’Keeffe (U.S.A.) 1897-1986
Tony Smith (U.S.A) 1912-1980
Virginia Luz (Canada) 1911-2005

Additional Artists
El Anatsui (Ghana) 1944
Gianfranco Baruchello (Italy) 1924
Sophie Calle (France) 1953
Giorgio de Chirico (Greece) 1988-1978
Juan Sanchez Cotán (Spain) 1561-1627
Tony Cragg (U.K.) 1949
Jim Dine (U.S.A.) 1935
Alberto Giacometti, (Switzerland) 1901-1966
Betty Goodwin (Canada) 1923-2008
Eva Hesse (U.S.A.) 1936-1970
Jasper Johns (U.S.A.) 1930
Ellsworth Kelly (U.S.A.) 1923
Ree Morton (U.S.A) 1936-1977
Pat Steir (U.S.A.) 1940
Sarah Sze (U.S.A) 1969
Cy Twombly (U.S.A.) 1928-2011
Rachel Whiteread (U.K.) 1963
Irene Whittome (Canada

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KW|AG’s Vaults

The inner sanctum. Art storage. The Vaults. Whatever term is used, these rooms play a vital role in helping the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery fulfill its mandate as caretakers of the artworks in the Gallery’s Permanent Collection. To that end, they also assist us in fulfilling our responsibilities to the public.

Jennifer Bullock, Assistant Curator & Registrar, in the vaults discussing how art is stored and kept safe.

Jennifer Bullock, Assistant Curator & Registrar, in the vaults discussing how art is stored and kept safe.

As a public art gallery, KW|AG must ensure that all of the objects in our care are available to be enjoyed by today’s public, and by the public of the future, for years to come. To do that, we provide an environment that controls and limits the dangers to which art objects might be exposed such as light, humidity and unforeseen accidents that could cause irreversible harm and damage. We exercise that control by caring for the artwork in dark, stable and secure spaces that exist strictly for the purpose of storing artworks. In public art galleries, these spaces are referred to as ‘the vaults’.

Jennifer Bullock, Assitant Curator & Registrar, giving a tour of the Corridor exhibition, which features works from the Permanent Collection.

Jennifer Bullock, Assistant Curator & Registrar, giving a tour of the Corridor exhibition, Canada, Our Country Guest Curated by Rohinton P. Medhora and Neil Turok, which features works from the Permanent Collection. The exhibition runs through August 24.

KW|AG regularly exhibits artwork from the Permanent Collection in the Corridor Gallery and in other exhibitions. But with a collection of over 4000 artworks, the work not currently on display is stored in the vaults. Not surprisingly, people are often curious about what goes on behind the scenes in a public art gallery and that includes where and how artwork is stored. In response, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery recently made it possible for the public to see behind the vault doors. Four times a year, at no charge, small groups are guided through KW|AG’s art storage areas and given the chance to see behind the curtain, to ask questions and to enjoy the art from a different perspective. These relaxed and informal vault tours have proven to be quite popular, but to ensure the safety of the artwork, no more than 15 people can take part in a tour, and pre-registrations is required (visit

Getting up close and personal in the vaults. One of the people on the tour looking at the detail in this painting, Ronald Bloore, (Canadian, 1925 – 2009), Untitled, 1975 oil on masonite, H 4.5cm x W 122.5cm (framed), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Gift of Mr. Irving Zucker, 2000.

Getting up close and personal in the vaults. One of the people on the tour looking at the detail in this painting by Ronald Bloore, Untitled, 1975 oil on masonite, H 4.5cm x W 122.5cm (framed), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Gift of Mr. Irving Zucker, 2000.

By the end of each tour, we hope that our guests will have a broader understanding of the purpose of our storage vaults and of the work we do. The main goal is to balance the needs of the objects with the interests of the public. KW|AG limits exposure of the artworks to protect them from damage and in so doing the Gallery ensures that the public will be able to see them for decades to come.

The next Vault Tour takes place on Sunday November 30 from 2 to 3 pm. Register here.

By: Jennifer Bullock, Assistant Curator & Registrar.

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Seniors in the Studio

By: Mindy Alexander, School Programs Coordinator, KW|AG

It has been an honour to spend time with the residents of Winston Park, Schlegel Villages during the Seniors in the Studio program, which started in January 2014. Each of the 18 sessions starts with about a focus on the artwork in the current exhibitions, on display at the time at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.


Taking a moment to reflect on the project in process.


Making adjustments.

Discussions about the artwork often elicit memories about the participants’ lives, which add an extra layer of meaning to the artworks. For instance, the gallery is currently exhibiting photograms by Michael Flomen that have been created in natural environments at nighttime. One of the pieces, called High Ground, has white circles on a black background and was created with the help of fireflies exposing light-sensitive paper. One of the residents was reminded of being a child in Germany and watching bullets flying overhead, aimed at war planes passing by.


Pleased with the results.

After some coffee, tea, and cookies, we dive into some art making inspired by the artwork we’ve just seen. For instance, in response to the repetitive tiles found in the artwork by Yefim Ladinshky, in Extraordinary Folk: Selections from the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Collection of International Naïve Art, we made mosaics using ceramic and glass tiles.


There’s always help on hand for those trickier projects.


Close up of mosaic making in the early stages.


It’s coming together nicely.

A reception to celebrate the artwork made during this program was held on Wednesday June 25, 2014 in the recently renovated Community Access Space at KW|AG. Here, we saw the incredible range and quantity of work this group of seniors produced over the course of the 18 sessions.


Art created by seniors during the program on display for the celebration.


More example of the work made during Seniors in the Studio.

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Youth Council’s Busy Year!

By: Mindy Alexander, School Programs Coordinator, KW|AG

Teen musicians in the sculpture garden in front of the Gallery.

Teen musicians in the sculpture garden in front of the Gallery.

I was blown away by Teen Night in June, hosted by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery’s (KW|AG) Youth Council. The sculpture garden outside the gallery at the Centre In The Square was alive with the sounds of the teen musicians playing on the stage of the stone amphitheater. The incredible music, which rivaled many professional bands that I’ve heard play, provided the backdrop for face painting, henna, button-making, caricature drawing, and chalk drawing, not to mention the popcorn, pizza, fresh fruit, and root beer floats.

Some body art at Teen Night.

Some body art at Teen Night.

Delicious treats, including fixings for root beer floats.

Delicious treats, including fixings for root beer floats.

Behind the scenes, during council meetings and on their own time, Youth Council members brainstormed activities for Teen Night, figured out the budget and logistics of food, designed posters, and planned advertising strategies.

Teen Night was the perfect way to wrap up the Youth Council program for this school year. The Youth Council meets every other Tuesday during the fall, winter, and spring to plan arts activities and take part in art-making. One of the highlights from this year was making trophies for the Kitchener Youth Action Council Youth Awards.

One of the trophies made by Youth Council members for the Kitchener Youth Action Council Youth Awards.

One of the trophies made by Youth Council members for the Kitchener Youth Action Council Youth Awards.

Another trophy made by Youth Council members.

Another trophy made by Youth Council members.

The Council also made an installation for Expressions 39: Inspiration, the annual student exhibition held in the main gallery at KW|AG. The council members took inspiration from Yayoi Kusama’s Fire Flies on the Water and took photographs inside mirror boxes, which they chose to display in a spiral along with a giant mirror box with a nostalgic theme. The piece was called Fractal and referenced the repeating pattern of the spiral, the never-ending images viewed within the mirror boxes, and the repetitive nature of time through each new generation.

Youth Council installation for Expressions 39: Inspiration.

Youth Council installation for Expressions 39: Inspiration.

Close up of one of the Youth Council members taking a photograph inside a mirror box.

Close up of one of the Youth Council members taking a photograph inside a mirror box.

Mirror box photograph.

Mirror box photograph.

Annika Schroevalier and Poorna Patange are two Youth Council members who spoke very eloquently and passionately about what the Gallery means to them at the Annual General Meeting. Here is a quote from one of the moving speeches: “The KW art gallery cultivates a community of art-loving, cultured, and thoughtful individuals that will have an impact on the success of KW in the future, but for now this Gallery is home to some of the most wondrous works of art and marvelous programs for the youth of this region.”

Annika Schroevalier and Poorna Patange, two Youth Council members who spoke at KW|AG's AGM.

Annika Schroevalier and Poorna Patange, two Youth Council members who spoke at KW|AG’s AGM.

Poorna Partage delivering her speech at the AGM.

Poorna Partage delivering her speech at the AGM.

The KW|AG Youth Council earned a Certificate of Recognition from the Volunteer Action Centre for participating in ChangeTheWorld Campaign as part of the Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge 2014. All participating youth earn Community Service Hours for their participation in the Youth Council.

The Youth Council will start up again on Sept 30, 2014 from 4-6pm and new members are always welcome! For more information visit the Facebook page or contact

Thank you to TD Bank for their kind and generous sponsorship of the Gallery’s Youth Council.

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Art and Wellness

KW|AG staff recently took part in a panel discussion at the Canadian Museum Association Conference, held in Toronto earlier this spring. The panel was assembled and moderated by the Gallery’s Executive Director Shirley Madill, on the topic of Art and Wellness. Representatives from three public art galleries who had worked with three health and social service organizations were brought together to share their research, experiences and results in special initiatives that were launched at their respective institutions.

Heather Fullerton, Executive Director at the Georgina Art Centre talked about their pilot project where they worked with children with autism in partnership with The Autism Society of NC-Moore County; Nicole Knibb, Educator at McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University shared the results of their program with resident doctors at the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University; and Nicole Neufeld, Director of Public Programs, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery offered an informative look at Gather at the Gallery, in collaboration with the KW Alzheimer’s Society which offered
workshops for Alzheimer patients and their caregivers.

Mindy Alexander, School Programs Coordinator, KW|AG, working with Gather at the Gallery participants, February 2014.

Mindy Alexander, School Programs Coordinator, KW|AG, working with Gather at the Gallery participants, February 2014.

I am pleased to report that our presentations drew a tremendous and positive response from our colleagues and attendees, some of whom were from other institutions in Canada and were in the early stages of launching similar programs. A good number of valuable comments and questions came out of the ensuing discussions. These touched on some important issues, such as ensuring the sustainability of these programs. Pilot projects often attract new funding, however, with such wellness programs, the real challenge can be keeping them going within the cultural sector. In any event, the galleries were committed to continuing the program and adjusting and adding to it as needed.

Another issue that came up had to do with obtaining accurate measurements for success – quantitatively and qualitatively. Qualitatively is easily accomplished through evaluation processes, however quantitative measurements are still in the early stages. Developing quantitative measuring tools seems to be an ideal match for the health and social service sector, as the professionals in these fields have experience with various research methodologies related to measuring outcomes and success in the health sector. Developing evidence-based criteria to assess the impact that the visual arts have would be an excellent basis for future collaborative endeavours with health professionals

Another important issue brought forward by the panelists was that of a future new need – of training gallery staff, especially art educators who conduct the workshops, about communicating and working with the elderly and autistic children.

Through the process of delivering this new programming, there were also surprises – joyous outcomes that were not expected. One such example was when one of KWlAG’s participants with Alzheimer’s, who vocally begrudged attending his first Gather at the Gallery session, later gladly brought his grandchildren to the Gallery for a Family Sunday.

The panelists all agreed that the effects were quite positive: Alzheimer patients gained more confidence in their socializing and caregivers felt less isolated as they were now a part of a community; resident doctors were learning how to become more observant and empathetic towards their patients; and autistic children were finding out how art offers them a vehicle for communication.

By: Shirley Madill, Executive Director, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

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Happy National Volunteer Week!

The first thing I did when I posted my 2014 calendar at my desk was highlight National Volunteer Week so I could look forward to celebrating KW|AG’s volunteers. A lot of what goes on at the gallery happens because of our dedicated team of volunteers; I feel like every time a volunteer commits to a project or event there is simply no way to express the amount of gratitude we have for their help. So, now that it is finally National Volunteer Week I would like to take this great opportunity to gloat about some of the work volunteers do with KW|AG, and to attempt to say thanks. I mean, I’ve only been waiting for this week since last April…


Black & Gold committee (left to right): Lynne Wilson, Sheila Yendt, Gail Wise, Laurel Pedersen, Sara Munroe, Eleanor Mueller, Sharon Morton and Caroline Oliver.

Some people may not know that KWAG is a registered charity. Among other things, this means that a lot of our projects rely heavily on volunteer support. Events throughout the year such as Family Sundays and exhibition openings involve planning and preparation and would not be the successes they are without the support of our volunteers. The Black & Gold Gala Committee is volunteer-driven, and their work makes a huge contribution to KW|AG. Volunteers play a role at every level of the Gallery’s operations; members of KW|AG’s Board of Directors are volunteers, and their leadership helps guide the Gallery to success and create connections in the community. The generosity of our volunteers goes beyond dedication of their time. They bring a wealth of their own amazing talents, such as flower arranging, photography, languages, sales and customer service. They lend their education, experience, ideas and professional networks to projects to ensure they are successes. These commitments, talents and abilities help enrich the KW|AG experience for everyone – patrons and staff alike.

Shashi Bangera (left) and Xiaolu Yang (right) volunteering at the Multicultural Festival in 2013, helping kids make pin-wheels in Victoria Park.

Shashi Bangera (left) and Xiaolu Yang (right) volunteers at KW|AG’s booth in the Multicultural Festival in 2013, helping kids make pin-wheels in Victoria Park.

In 2013 KW|AG recorded approximately 1,900 hours of volunteer time – that’s A LOT of hours! It is immensely humbling that our volunteers so willingly share their time and energy on weekends, holidays, evenings and during their own working hours. Beyond enhancing the Gallery in big and little ways, perhaps the greatest result of our volunteers’ hard work this past year is that the Gallery has an increasingly strong presence in our community. This measure of success means a great deal for KW|AG and it is with pride that we say:  Thank you KWAG Volunteers, for everything you do. I feel like it is said a lot, but truly KW|AG couldn’t do it if it weren’t for you.

By: Becky Moore, Visitor Services & Volunteer Coordinator.

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Seeing Both Sides

The worlds created by the exquisitely detailed watercolours in Tristram Landsdowne’s solo exhibition, Provisional Futures at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, are paradoxical and puzzling, like a two-faced Janus that can see in both directions at once. Elements of destruction are depicted in soothing pastel colours. There is evidence of human activity (platforms, pillars, doors, staircases), but not a soul in sight. Lush vegetation springs enthusiastically out of inhospitable rock surfaces and cliffs. A similarly jarring experience launched Lansdowne’s artistic voyage, as he moved from the idyllic landscapes of his home town in Victoria BC to the hard-surface, skyscraper world of downtown Toronto.


The landscape in Victoria BC where Tristram Lansdowne grew up.


The setting Lansdowne moved to from Victoria to attend OCAD, the large white building pictured above.

Tristram’s surroundings once he moved to Toronto to attend OCAD, the black and white building in this photograph.

“I went from spending time outdoors, with seascapes, fields and mountains, to the claustrophobic surroundings of OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design on McCaul Street in downtown Toronto). “It was jarring. There was no landscape,” he noted at a recent artist’s talk, presented in conjunction with the exhibition opening. “But there was infrastructure – concrete, metal and buildings.” He became interested in how these elements interacted with the landscape, and began to imagine an elaborate below-ground infrastructure world in his paintings, working within a dichotomous framework of what can be seen and what cannot.


Tristram Lansdowne, Wabash Community Centre, 2008 – an example of the work in which he begins imagining elaborate worlds below-ground.

“That dichotomy provides a way to explore an alternative narrative. I am interested in images that are hybrid… and in finding a purpose for something that has been abandoned.” His work has been strongly influenced by his father, the renowned wildlife artist J. Fenwick Lansdowne, and by the grandfather of German landscape painters, Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840). Friedrich’s work was the starting point for After The Storm (2010), one of the works included in the current exhibition. “I’ve always loved Friedrich’s paintings of oak trees,” explains Lansdowne, “so I decided I would make a painting of an oak tree. But this is where it gets really nerdy – European Oaks don’t look anything like the oak trees I grew up with, called Gary Oaks. I couldn’t really find a tree that fit the bill, so I painted a “Frankentree,” concocted from different images. Then I crashed a piece of architecture into the top branches… to acknowledge that I was crashing Friedrich’s party, that I was invading it in a clumsy way, intruding upon it. “


Caspar David Friedrich. Oak Tree in the Snow, 1929Picture6Gary Oak


Tristram Lansdowne, After the Storm, 2010

Another striking motif in Lansdowne’s work is that of the island, which serves as a metaphor for a fully formed world wherein the author or narrator establishes the parameters of the story. While the islands may be fictional and not actual places one can find on a map, they are nevertheless built out of historical references. His use of lush tropical colours, imagery that includes ruins, waterfalls and starry skies, and backgrounds that look like museum-type diorama settings only serve to “heighten the artifice as much as possible. “ He describes the use of these elements as intentionally “cheesy.’


Tristram Lansdowne, Axis Mundi, 2012, an example of the island motif.

“Islands have been used in plenty of works of literature that deal with Utopian ideas. Most importantly, it is a limited universe, one in which you as the creator can choose a set of variables and let them play out.” His use of watercolours as a medium is in itself a paradox. Often associated with hobbyist and amateur painters, he sees watercolour as a hybrid medium. “Some call it drawing, some call it painting. It has been used in different fields as well as in art, architecture and botany.”

In Lansdowne’s expert hands the end result is intricate, intense, detailed and fascinating.


Tristram Lansdowne, The Destroyer (homage to Bruno Taut), 2012

As one Gallery visitor to the exhibition noted in the guest book, “It is retrospective as well as futuristic. It shows the tragedy of a human-destroyed earth by juxtaposing it with a beautiful past”.

What sides do you see?

Provisional Futures is on view in the Eastman Gallery through Sunday April 27.

By: Caroline Oliver, Director of Development & Marketing, KW|AG

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Interesting connections between the art world and the work of corporate law.

It was standing room only for Tristram Lansdowne’s artist talk on Friday March 21, which helped launch the opening of this solo exhibition, Provisional Futures, in the Eastman Gallery. The evening also included a book launch for two KW|AG publications, Milutin Gubash and Ecotopia.

Special thanks go to the Gowlings law firm for their sponsorship of the evening, which was attended by more than 200 people. In his remarks, Gowlings representative Bryce Kraeker (and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Board member), drew some interesting connections between the art world and the work of corporate law.


Bryce Kraeker, Gowlings representative (and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Board member) saying a few words at the opening reception for Tristram Lansdowne’s exhibition, Provisional Futures.

“With all the rules and statutes and policies and procedures that lawyers deal with, you might be surprised to learn that law is, in fact, a very creative discipline. Good corporate lawyers think outside the box to develop unique, customized creative solutions to assist our clients to achieve their business objectives. Keeping the creative juices flowing, however, requires inspiration.

Four years ago, I didn’t know a thing about contemporary art. I then took the opportunity to serve the community by sitting on the art gallery’s board. I started, very slowly, to learn about art. But once you catch the contemporary art fever, it quickly becomes obsessive. Do I “get it”? Not a chance. Do I know what I like? Yes. Am I challenged to think and see beyond my ordinary everyday experiences? You bet. Am I convinced that the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery is a source of profound inspiration, and a vital community asset that showcases the best of Canadian art? Absolutely! “

A special thank you to Bryce and to Gowlings for your support of the arts and more specifically The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. We at the gallery appreciate your spirit of adventure that led you to get connected with contemporary art. May many others also catch the contemporary art fever. But a word of advice – once you catch it, the only cure is to continue to enjoy the many wonderful experiences that contemporary art has to offer.

Tristram Lansdowne exhibition, Provisional Futures, is on view in the Eastman Gallery until April 27. Thanks to our corporate partners, admission to the Gallery is FREE .

By: Caroline Oliver, Director of Development & Marketing, KW|AG

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Show & Tell at KW|AG takes us back.

This gallery contains 3 photos.

The Gallery’s second Show & Tell event took place recently at KW|AG, in partnership with Kitchener Public Library. It was a delight to see familiar and new faces as well as interesting objects brought in by those who planned to … Continue reading

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The Next Chapter: From Group of Seven to Painters 11

The most recent series of Contemporary Art 101 Lunch Time lectures wrapped up at the end of February with a presentation by Timmy Chandler, an MA candidate in the University of Guelph’s Masters of Art History and Visual Culture program, about the Gallery’s Permanent Collection. Inspired by the current exhibition in the Main Gallery, A Story of Canadian Art: As Told by the Hart House Collection, Timmy took a look at the next chapter in that story: the Canadian art scene’s struggle to move beyond the influence of the Group of Seven. Although they themselves represented a radical break from the past, the Group of Seven’s tremendous popularity in the early 20th Century in turn became a hindrance for the younger artists who followed them.


A full house in KW|AG’s Community Access Space for Timmy Chandler’s talk on what and who came after the Group of Seven.

“The Group of Seven’s unprecedented popularity in Canada led to the more prominent members basically becoming the arbiters of taste in the community,” notes Chandler. “While Europe and the United States began to develop more Modern and non-representational styles very rapidly, it became very obvious that Canada was stuck in the 19th Century while the rest of the world progressed. These new art styles began to focus much more heavily on thought and theory than on technique or representation and this caused a dramatic shift in aesthetic style in the rest of the world.”

Toronto’s break from the past emerged from an unlikely, but perhaps fitting source – a store window display at the flagship Simpsons & Co. retail location, at the corner of King and Queen Streets in Toronto (Simpsons was later purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company). William Ronald, a recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art, worked as a display artist at Simpsons. Ronald convinced the retailer to include a number of abstract paintings by Canadian painters as part of a home furnishings window display. The display was called Abstracts at Home and included paintings by Ronald, Jack Bush, Kazuo Nakamura, Alexandra Luke, Ray Mead, Oscar Cahén and Tom Hodgson, many of whom worked as designers for advertising firms. This was the first prominent exposure that the Toronto public had to abstract art. There was an opening for the display and after the show Ronald organized a meeting for the exhibiting artists at his studio; all attended, with the exception of Jack Bush. In addition to the artists named above, artists at the meeting also included Jock MacDonald, Hortense Gordon, Walter Yarwood and Harold Town. It was at this meeting that the initial idea for the Painters Eleven group was formed.

A frequent visitor to “The Big Apple”, in 1955 Ronald moved to New York City, where he struck up friendships with many painters and critics associated with Abstract-Expressionism, including the tremendously influential art critic Clement Greenberg. Largely due to Ronald’s influence and connections, Painters Eleven were invited to exhibit in the 20th annual American Abstract Artists exhibition in New York in 1956. Bush, MacDonald and Alexandra Luke joined Ronald at the exhibition, where their work received both exposure and acceptance. The group subsequently persuaded Greenberg to visit their studios in Toronto, which led to his support and championing of the work of Jack Bush.
As Chandler explained, “In addition to the high esteem that Greenberg had for him, Bush had 26 international solo shows to his credit, a number which dwarfs all other members of the group. He is arguably the most successful Canadian painter in history. According to Greenberg, “If there is a Canadian tradition, Jack started it.”

Both William Ronald and Jack Bush are well represented in KW|AG’s Permanent Collection. The Gallery holds nine works by Jack Bush (two paintings and seven prints), and 50 by William Ronald (34 paintings and 16 prints), including all 18 of his Prime Ministers series. Works by both artists are regularly included in the Gallery’s Permanent Collection exhibitions.

A Story of Canadian Art as Told by the Hart House Collection is on view at the Gallery through March 22.


Installation view of A Story of Canadian Art: As Told by the Hart House Collection

The Community Curator Exhibition in the Corridor Gallery, Art Value|Value Art, on view through April 27, features works from the Permanent Collection.

By Caroline Oliver, Director of Development & Marketing, KW|AG

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