Where Go the Boats?

Stephen May (Canadian, b. 1957), Toy Boat(detail), 1985, oil on canvas, 137.6x183.1cm, Purch. w/ financial assistance of The Canada Council for the Arts Art Bank, 1989, & funds from The 1985 Friends' Art Auction, W. S. Bird Memorial Collection

June 13 - September 8, 2013    |    Regular Exhibition    |    Cost:

Various Artists - Permanent Collection

Boats as a primary subject in the visual arts have a long and storied history that extends back to early civilization, to ancient petroglyphs of the first vessels, which were constructed from reeds. The “ship portrait” became a distinct genre in European art near the end of the Middle Ages, and paintings of vessels at sea were especially prevalent from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

The iconic image of the boat resonates with multiple meanings – archetypal, spiritual, sexual, and is symbolic of our voyage through life. Dreams of boats have been interpreted as signs of promising developments, of travelling through emotional times, or of making a transition from one phase of life to another. In Greek mythology, it is a ferryboat that transports the dead on the journey to the Underworld. Of course, the boat has particular social and economic meanings for the Atlantic region, is a prominent image for regional folk artists, and provides special insight into traditional Maritime life and culture.

Drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection, this exhibition presents a selection of boat-inspired works in a variety of media by a diverse range of Atlantic Canadian artists, including Jack Humphrey, Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt, Stephen May, Anthony Flower, John Hammond, and Joe Norris.

Curator: Terry Graff
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Fredericton, and the Province of New Brunswick.