Off The Grid: Abstract Painting in New Brunswick

R.D. Turnbull, Untitled (detail), c. 1930s, oil on canvas, 38.1 x 63.5 cm. Private collection.

June 26 - September 14, 2014    |    Regular Exhibition    |    Cost:

Various artists

In most authoritative narratives of the visual arts in Canada, developments in the artistic life of New Brunswick are most often pushed to the historical margins or conspicuously absent, in favour of reinforcing the same identifiable artist names, movements and styles. If mentioned at all, New Brunswick is most typically associated with a strong tradition of figurative painting or Maritime Realism, while abstract painting is confined to only three regions of the country: Quebec, Ontario, and the West. In reality, the story of the visual arts in Canada is infinitely richer and more complex than such cursory and/or exclusionary, self-perpetuating discourses tell us. For example, there is a unique, albeit fractured, history of abstract painting in New Brunswick that has, until now, never been told, one that can only deepen our understanding and appreciation of Canadian visual arts culture.

Off the Grid: Abstract Painting in New Brunswick constitutes a ground-breaking statement on the presence, nature and meaning of non-representational or abstract painting in New Brunswick. It features a cross-section of work by senior, mid-career, and emerging artists: Jared Betts, David Bizzo, Sarah Cale, Luc Charette, Lionel Cormier, Mark DeLong, Angel Gomez, Georges Goguen, Toby Graser, Jay Isaac, Jocelyn Jean, Christian Michaud, Deanna Musgrave, Dana O’Regan, Sarah Petite, Lori Slauenwhite, and David Umholtz. Also highlighted is a selection of non-figurative art by some of the province’s pioneering abstract painters, most notably Jack Humphrey, Lawren P. Harris, Fritz Brandtner, Claude Roussel, Joseph Kashetsky, and Roméo Savoie, and the surprising recovery of R. D. Turnbull, one of Canada’s earliest abstractionists, who made a significant contribution to the development of Abstract Expressionism in North America, but is virtually unknown in the annals of Canadian art history.

An accompanying publication features essays by Terry Graff, Maryse Grondin and Jacques Martin, Virgil Hammock, Ian Lumsden, and Ingrid Mueller.

Curator: Terry Graff
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of presenting partner Bell Aliant, collaborating sponsor KPMG, the Province of New Brunswick, and the City of Fredericton.


Presenting partner

Collaborating Sponsor