Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Land Reform(ed) at Âjagemô in Ottawa

Land Reform(ed) at Âjagemô invites the viewer to re-examine notions of the Canadian landscape in contemporary art. The exhibition is the first to be installed in the new gallery at the recently developed Performance Court where the Canada Council for the Arts is the anchor tenant. The Council moved there at the beginning of the year and Âjagemô opened in June to give the organization an attractive street presence. The space will be used to show off the holdings of the Canada Council Art Bank, which has been collecting Canadian artworks since 1972 and renting them to government and corporate clients. Land Reform(ed) offers a quick thematic tour as delineated over the past four decades by some of Canada’s greatest hit-makers.

Marlene Creates, Larch, Spruce, Fir, Birch, Hand, Blast Hole Pond Road, 
Newfoundland 2007 (and ongoing), 2007 (photo: Brandon Clarida)

Curated by Stanzie Tooth during an internship for her MFA at the University of Ottawa, the exhibition offers scant evidence that contemporary Canadian artists naïvely celebrate a direct communion with an unspoiled wilderness. Even the most innocuous project on view, a series by Marlene Creates where the artist photographed her hand against tree trunks, demonstrates that Canadian artists do not leave the landscape untouched by their interventions.

The complete text of my review of the exhibition was published here on the August 26th Akimblog.

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