Gallery’s Di­a­mond An­niver­sary ex­hibit fea­tures both fa­mil­iar and new works

Windsor Star - - YOU - For more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the Art Gallery of Wind­sor, please call 519-977-0013 or visit BY KAREN PA­TON-EVANS

A fas­ci­nat­ing fam­ily re­union is hap­pen­ing now to mark the Art Gallery of Wind­sor’s 75th an­niver­sary, with new faces and beloved works by renowned artists gath­er­ing to greet vis­i­tors at­tend­ing the mile­stone cel­e­bra­tion.

As with all great re­unions, the AGW has many tales to tell, start­ing in 1943 with a group of art-lov­ing fe­male vol­un­teers who ap­plied their in­ge­nu­ity to bring good shows to the city, wher­ever they could bor­row space. Af­ter they ob­tained art for a per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, the vol­un­teers en­sconced the new pub­lic gallery in Wil­lis­tead Manor in Walk­erville.

The col­lec­tion has grown to nearly 4,000 pieces of his­tor­i­cal, mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art. Last year, ap­prox­i­mately 16,000 peo­ple vis­ited the AGW in its mod­ernistic per­ma­nent build­ing, erected in 2001 at 401 River­side Dr. W. “Our col­lec­tion is con­tin­u­ously evolv­ing with chang­ing ex­hi­bi­tions. We’re con­stantly min­ing our col­lec­tion so peo­ple can see it in dif­fer­ent ways,” says AGW Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Catharine Mastin.

To mark its di­a­mond an­niver­sary, the AGW has launched its “Look Again! The AGW Col­lec­tion at 75 Years” ex­hibit, run­ning now till 2021. Vis­i­tors are pleased to see many of the AGW’s favourites from its var­ied col­lec­tion, rang­ing from the 1600s to present day, in­clud­ing paint­ings by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. “Art re­flects where we are now in his­tory,” Mastin ob­serves.

Pre­sent­ing some of the gallery’s most im­pres­sive hold­ings done be­fore the 20th cen­tury, the Grand Sa­lon wall has been re­freshed with 49 works clus­tered in sev­eral tiers. There are also new­com­ers to meet dur­ing the 75th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, with 20 new ac­qui­si­tions on dis­play. The AGW team is de­lighted to in­tro­duce vis­i­tors to works by An­gus Trudeau, Mau­rice Cullen, Baker Fair­ley, Ge­orge Pep­per, Barrie Jones, Bob Boyer and oth­ers.

Be­liev­ing it is im­por­tant to bal­ance gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion, the AGW staff and board have re­cently ob­tained works by nu­mer­ous fe­male artists, in­clud­ing Joyce Wieland, Is­abel Hayeur, Mary Ce­lestino and Mary Heis­ter Reid.

The gallery has also strength­ened its com­mit­ment to Indige­nous and Inuit artists and is pre­sent­ing newly ac­quired works by Nor­val Mor­ris­seau, Daphne Od­jig and more. Stone block carv­ings, prints and other pieces re­veal dy­namic mes­sages and im­pres­sive skill. AGW cu­ra­tor of ed­u­ca­tion Chris Finn has trans­formed the Co­hen Gallery to show­case a spe­cial ex­hibit hon­our­ing Kenneth Salt­marche, an artist and AGW’s for­mer long­time cu­ra­tor/di­rec­tor. On dis­play are some of Salt­marche’s own draw­ings, oil paint­ings and wa­ter­colours – por­traits, land­scapes and travel scenes. “These works show how his art de­vel­oped over stages and rep­re­sent the dif­fer­ent gen­res he ex­plored as an artist over many years,” Finn says.

The Salt­marche ex­hibit also en­com­passes the AGW’s de­vel­op­ment through­out the decades, en­gag­ing peo­ple with art first at Wil­lis­tead Manor, then at a for­mer river­front brew­ery, Devon­shire Mall and fi­nally, its present home. Cul­tur­ally di­verse artists and sub­jects are on view in the new Por­trai­ture and the Body ex­hibit. Vis­i­tors can gain ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the AGW’s many con­ser­va­tion projects by see­ing the “af­ter” re­sults of works that have been cleaned of old glazes to re­veal their true colours, such as Ge­orge Pep­per’s por­trait of artist Lowrie War­rener. The AGW is ex­cited to show one of its Lawren Harris’ oil sketches from the 1920s, which was re­cently cleaned and brought back to its orig­i­nal fresh­ness.

To give vis­i­tors greater in­sight into the process of paint­ing out­doors, the AGW has re­moved the frames from 19 sketch pan­els done by artists out­doors, af­ford­ing a look at the ply­wood or stretched canvas and the painted outer edges. “These small sketches some­time served as tem­plates for the artists af­ter they re­turned to their stu­dios to pro­duce their much larger paint­ings,” Finn says. In­cluded are works by Tom Thomson, A.Y. Jack­son, Pru­dence He­ward, and Wind­sor’s Thomas Roach.

En­sur­ing vis­i­tors will ex­pe­ri­ence the AGW’s many trea­sures, hard­work­ing vol­un­teers and ded­i­cated do­cents con­tinue to con­nect peo­ple with art, tak­ing school and com­mu­nity groups on tours through­out the gallery year-round. Last year, 3,400 stu­dents from kinder­garten to grade 12 came on the tours. While the City of Wind­sor pro­vides the phys­i­cal space for the AGW, “as an in­de­pen­dent char­ity, we need to raise funds ev­ery year so all of our re­sources can op­er­ate,” Mastin ex­plains. “Know­ing this, we strive to be a com­pelling, rel­e­vant pub­lic art gallery that peo­ple want to visit of­ten and sup­port.”

The AGW is open Wed­nes­day to Sun­day, and ad­mis­sion is $10 for Adults, $5 for Youth (ages 6-17) and $5 for Stu­dents.


Lau­ren Harris, pain­ter from Canada’s iconic Group of Seven will have his Trees and Snow on dis­play.


Emily Carr’s paint­ing, Yan Mor­tu­ary Poles, c. 1928 - 1929.

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