The Ronald Bloore Conservation Project
Until January 13
Inspired by then newly-built Confederation Centre, Canadian painter Ronald Bloore (1925-2009) offered to create a custom mural to adorn its walls in the early months of 1965. The finished piece, White on White was finally installed by Bloore during the summer of 1967. Eleven masonite panels that match the shape of the sandstone blocks that make up the structure of the Centre were installed directly under a skylight in the main concourse, a public thorough-fare that is still used as such today. The varying tones of white, coupled with the changing outside light, created a mural that Bloore felt would “always be alive and moving.”
After 36 years, the wear and tear of being on public display, coupled with the need to complete repairs in the concourse saw the Bloore mural removed and placed into storage in 2003. Several years of planning will come to a head this year, as the conservation treatment of this sculptural painting takes place in full view of the public as part of fall exhibit programming. Elizabeth Jablonski, a paintings conservator from Nova Scotia, will head the treatment process with assistance from the Art Gallery’s Conservation Technician, Jill McRae. Upon completion of treatment, the site-specific piece will be re-installed in the main concourse.
Wafaa Bilal: 168:01
Until January 20
The solo exhibition of new and recent work by New York-based artist Bilal speaks to the impact of international politics on individual lives. Included is the installation of a makeshift library filled with empty white books symbolizing the cultural heritage that was destroyed during a Mongol siege at Bayt al-Hikma, a major academic center during the Islamic Golden Age. This also represents the libraries, archives, and museums that have been systematically decimated by occupying forces in Bilal’s homeland. Over the course of the exhibit, visitors may donate books from a wish-list compiled by The College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad, whose library was looted and destroyed in 2003. Upon the exhibition’s closing, the donated books will be sent to this university to help rebuild their library.
In conjunction with this installation, there will also be a series of photographs titled The Ashes Series that bring the viewers closer to images of violence and war in the Middle East. Show is curated by Srimoyee Mitra, organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Windsor.
Mitchell Wiebe: VampSites
Until March 3
The Gallery opened a new solo exhibition by Mitchell Wiebe in October. Based in Halifax, Wiebe has been something of a cult artist in Canada for decades. Known for his instantly recognizable paintings of fantastical creatures and warped worlds, Wiebe is also a performer who has fronted numerous experimental bands, from Soaking Up Jagged to Pastoralia, Fantasy Eye, and Cat Bag.
Over the past decade Wiebe has branched out into installation art and this new show, titled VampSites, involves his occupation and response to the Brutalist architecture of Confederation Centre.
During the run of the exhibition, the gallery will feature a number of performance pieces, as well, involving collaboration with artists and musicians. The show kicks off a national tour, involving a series of responses to gallery spaces across the country, and will feature a publication that includes critical essays by prominent curators in Canada and the United States.
Sandra Meigs: The Basement Paintings
Until March 17
The Confederation Centre Art Gallery is pleased to present a striking series of oversize paintings by Hamilton-based artist Sandra Meigs, titled The Basement Paintings. The work, inspired by the artist’s process of mourning the passing of her husband, finds resonance and exuberance in the face of tragedy.
The exhibition features three expansive paintings from 2012-13 that draw from the artist’s feelings of claustrophobia—they are based on her imagination of a subterranean landscape—as well as a number of smaller, complementary pieces that are derived from photographs of a family member’s basement. “With these powerful works,” says curator Pan Wendt, “Meigs has embraced a sense of space that mirrors our irrational side, featuring a combination of sinister, chaotic, and liberating line and colour.”
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Meigs was trained in Canada at the NSCAD and Dalhousie Universities. Now based in Hamilton, Meigs was a dedicated teacher at the University of Victoria for over 20 years, and has mentored hundreds of visual art students.
Who’s Your Mother: Women Artists of PEI, 1964 to the present
Until June 1
Who’s Your Mother? is a survey exhibition of artwork by women working in PEI since the opening of the gallery in 1964. Selected from the Centre’s collection, the show features over 40 artists, and will include several new acquisitions chosen by co-curators Lisa Theriault and Pan Wendt.
Women have been influential artists in the province since the 1970s, when Hilda Woolnough, Elaine Harrison, and Erica Rutherford were prominent figures in the art scene. Woolnough, Harrison, and Rutherford will be well-represented, but there will also be examples by the latest generation of Island women artists, including Sandi Hartling, Monica Lacey, Norma Jean MacLean, and Becka Viau.