David Garneau, Fort Edmonton (1880s), 2006, acrylic on canvas. Collection of the Mendel Art Gallery.  Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program 2010, and with funds raised by the Gallery Group.

Where It’s At

June 22 to September 16, 2012

Where It’s At is one of the larger exhibitions drawn from the Mendel Art Gallery’s permanent collection. These works reflect the energy and success of Saskatchewan: it is indeed the place to be. The Gallery is also thriving and growing, continuing to present innovative, relevant exhibitions and public programs, and building an outstanding permanent collection that reflects and inspires this community. These artworks have been selected from hundreds acquired in the last several years through purchase or donation. They include sculpture, mixed media, painting, photography and works on paper.

The permanent collection is diverse and responsive, building on Fred Mendel’s initial gift of 13 canvases, in 1965, to include more than 7,000 works. A priority in building the collection is representing artists associated with Saskatchewan, without ignoring activities elsewhere in Canada. A collection has many stories to tell—about specific artists and their development, different art movements, expression and experimentation, and stories about place. This exhibition is conceived as a story; or more accurately a notebook filled with notations, research, and sketches. It outlines the connections taking shape.

Recent collecting activity reveals several emerging themes, although many works resist easy categorization. Images of the landscape address such considerations as history, settlement, adventure, technology and the picturesque. Figurative work ranges from portraiture, and the nature of human relationships, to explorations of the inner world of spirituality and superstition. Some works examine the formal and emotional concerns of abstraction through colour and form, while others reinsert imagery and critique into this contested field. Still others question assumptions around race, gender and difference. Not encyclopedic or even democratic, this is a collection of representations serving as lens, contemplation, provocation or record. It provides a forum for both individual and collective experience. Through these artworks, we contemplate threads of memory and imagine the future while navigating the present: Where It’s At.

Among the artists are: Martin Bennett, Lori Blondeau, Tammi Campbell, Wally Dion, Jonathan Forrest, David Garneau, Angela Grauerholz, Lee Henderson, Marie Lannoo, Arnaud Maggs, Grant McConnell, Andrea Modica, Clint Neufeld, Louise Noguchi, Daphne Odjig, Brenda Pelkey, Catherine Perehudoff, Walter Philips, Ed Pien, Annie Pootoogook, Richard Prince, Chuck Ringness, Otto Rogers, Adrian Stimson, Monica Tap, Ed Zelenak. There is also a small selection of work from the recently acquired Photographers Gallery collection.

The exhibition is curated by Associate Curator Sandra Fraser.