Transforming Spirit: The Cameron/Bredt Collection of Contemporary Northwest Coast Art
September 19, 2015 – February 15, 2016
Curated by Chris Finn
From the time of its creation from the treasured collection of Founders Robert and Signe McMichael, the McMichael gallery has maintained a strong interest in capturing and celebrating the stories of private collectors. Transforming Spirit tells the story of Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt and their passionate commitment to art from Canada’s Northwest Coast, showcasing works by 28 of the region’s most celebrated contemporary artists. In conjunction with the exhibition, a catalogue of the collection will be published, including new photography of the 49 extraordinary objects and works on paper. The catalogue will include an essay by author and specialist in Northwest Coast art, Gary Wyatt, as well as a curatorial overview of the art and artists represented in the collection.
This exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to assess a range of aesthetic qualities inherent in the work created by indigenous artists of the Northwest Coast. Distinct artistic styles have emerged from each of the First Nations communities represented, based on their social and religious customs. Cultural narratives related to historical cosmological beliefs are incorporated into both the material and ceremonial culture of the peoples. Among the works featured in the exhibition are bentwood boxes, rattles, blankets and several works on paper, all by well-known artists, as well as many examples of an object important for its expressive qualities, the mask. The last serves as a form for communicating the importance of nature, animals, and humans, as well as imagined characters that are at the core of many First Nations cultures.
This House Was Made For Christmas
October 3, 2015 to January 31, 2016
Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements
This House Was Made for Christmas celebrates the art of Christmas greeting cards, which were designed by seminal Canadian artists of the twentieth century. Several members of the Group of Seven, including Lawren Harris, J.E.H MacDonald, and A.J. Casson, and their contemporaries, as well as aboriginal artists of Canada are represented with works drawn from the McMichael art and archival collections as well as private holdings, some of which have never been displayed before. The inspiration for this exhibition stems from Pierre Berton’s 1956 article “The House That Was Made for Christmas” (Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine), which featured the foundation for the McMichael gallery – the actual home of the founders – as a place of special Christmas spirit. This exhibition will reflect back on the gallery’s tradition of homeliness and neighbourly gathering for holiday joy.
Ken Mowatt (born 1944)
Raven at the River Mist, 2003
birch, red cedar, copper, feathers, ermine tufts, deer hide, acrylic paint, string, 76.5 55.5 x 22.1 cm (30 1/8 x 21 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.), with stand: 78.5 55.5 x 22.1 cm (30 7/8 x 21 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.), Gift of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron, 2014.6.31
Photography credit: Craig Boyko
A.J. Casson (1898–1992), Christmas card design for Mr. and Mrs. C.A.G. Matthews, 1927, screen print, printed by Sampson-Matthews, 14.4 x 13.2 cm, Private collection