Get Real: The Art of Atlantic Canada

Alex Colville (Canadian, 1920 - 2013), Woman, Dog and Canoe (detail), 1982 serigraph on paper. Gift of Edward Mullaly and Laurel Boone.

July 1 - May 28, 2017    |    Regular Exhibition    |    Cost:

Various Artists (Permanent Collection)

What determines the character of the art made in a specific geographic location? Can we properly speak of Atlantic Canadian art or is it more accurate to simply refer to art that is made in Atlantic Canada? For many, Magic Realism (or high realism) is the most recognizable stylistic tendency associated with art in this region. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery collection holds outstanding signature works by most of the principal figures. Thereby, as a cornerstone, our exhibition will showcase some of the most admired works by: Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt, Mary Pratt, Fred Ross, David Blackwood, Tom Forrestall and William Forrestall.

Yet the art made in and about this place has varied greatly over time. The exhibition commences with works made by itinerant artists who travelled from afar to record exotic, romantic images to bring back for the appreciation and sale to their home audiences. Notable among them a masterwork by German-American artist Albert Bierstadt complemented by 19th Century works by Henry Sandham and George Thomas Taylor. British modernist, Harold Gilman contributes an idyllic view of Bedford Basin, Halifax in summer 1918, just months before the devastating Halifax explosion. Artists continue to come to depict images of the land and the Atlantic way of life, among them: Arthur Lismer, Kathleen Daly and Ronald York Wilson. 

The nature of the subjects and approaches towards art making changes in the 1950s; an increasing number of artists are born in or take up permanent residence. Among them: Bruno Bobak, Miller Gore Brittain, Molly Lamb Bobak, William Goodridge Roberts and Jack Weldon Humphrey.

In recent years, many artists have attempted to balance local with global stylistic and topical interests, personified by contemporary artists: Marie- Hélène Allain, Mario Doucette, Roméo Savoie, Herménégilde Chiasson, Gerald Ferguson, Eric Fischl, John Greer, Thaddeus Holownia, Garry Neil Kennedy, Robin Peck, and Vanessa Paschakarnis.