The fall and winter exhibits were still being installed during a media conference on 21 October 2016 to announce the featured artists at the Art Gallery of Windsor.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Pelkey, Beam, Steele, And Tomczak At The AGW

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Shalapata-Header(WINDSOR, ON) – The Art Gallery of Windsor has announced the installation of three new exhibitions available through to January 22, 2017. Occupying the 2nd and 3rd floors at the AGW, the exhibitions include a retrospective of works by Brenda Francis Pelkey, a multi-media presentation from Governor General’s Award winners Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, and a celebration of Ojibwa artist Carl Beam featuring works held by the gallery.

“These exhibitions explore concerns important to the Gallery’s on-going commitments to cutting edge contemporary art programming,” said Catharine Mastin, the director of the Art Gallery of Windsor. “The three shows bring together culturally diverse and feminist viewpoints and they offer visitors the opportunity to appreciate contemporary art produced by artists couples, artist families, and artist collaborations.”

Four Directions is a showcase of Beam’s works acquired and held by the AGW. Referring to the four directions of Indigenous cultures, the works look at issues and politics from the perspective of First Nations.

“The exhibition includes many figurative works from the artist’s major body of portraiture that developed between 2000 and 2002 … including portraits of Louis Riel and Jim Thorpe,” explained exhibition curator Jaclyn Meloche. “The biographies of these subjects suggest some of the struggles of Canada’s First Nations people to achieve recognition.”

Guest curator Paul Wong described the Lisa Steel and Kim Tomczak exhibition, The Long Time.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Guest curator Paul Wong described the Lisa Steel and Kim Tomczak exhibition, The Long Time.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Known for their work in time-based media, Steele and Tomczak’s The Long Time incorporates multi-screen projection that brings together three video components that has been 12 years in the making. Additionally, a 3-channel video is included in the installation, which will be featured at the Gallery as well as in various public art locales in Windsor and Detroit, where the movement through time is as much a part of the art as the visual representation.

“They have a very specific way of seeing the world,” said Paul Wong, curator of the Steele and Tomczak portion of the exhibition. “As older, wiser artists their show includes people starting out in the world and they’re also considering what happens when we leave this world.”

Lastly, but occupying the largest space of the three exhibitions, Pelkey’s retrospective is the first in her career, and features her early black and white work, looking at industrial subjects, as well as more recent interior photography of local institutions across Canada, including Windsor.

“Hers is an art practice informed by the many locations she has lived in across Canada during her youth and professional life,” said Mastin, the curator of the Pelkey retrospective. “The works in this exposition are formed by these biographical experiences and also by ideas of social geography and psychology.”

The director of the Art Gallery of Windsor, Catharine Mastin, introduced the art exhibitions for fall and winter as well as curated the Brenda Francis Pelkey installation.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
The director of the Art Gallery of Windsor, Catharine Mastin, introduced the art exhibitions for fall and winter as well as curated the Brenda Francis Pelkey installation.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Now a resident of Windsor, Pelkey’s youth comprised of many moves across necessitated by her father’s military career. She continued the routine of moving from place to place and the experiences gathered transferred seamlessly into her interiors pieces.

“I started to think about sites that had a psychological impact on the way that we live. What could those spaces be that affect and influence us,” Pelkey said. “So I started thinking about bars, where anything can happen, good bad, or ugly, and hospital rooms, court rooms, spaces where things can shift.”

The fall and winter exhibitions opened October 22 and will be available for viewing during regular gallery hours of Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm, until January 22.