The artists and the curators for “Restoration,” the current exhibit at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum's Gallery 1, want to celebrate painting and the accomplishments of Saskatchewan painters.
Elizabeth Matheson, who is one of the curators for “Restoration,” and two of the exhibit's six artists, Holly Fay and Ruth Cuthand, were at the EAGM for an August 22 reception. They chronicled their experiences with paint, and discussed their contributions to the exhibit.
Matheson said that many people have argued that painting is a dead art form, but she disagrees.
“Painting is changing as much as computer art is changing, as much as anything is changing,” said Matheson. “It's quite exciting what painters are doing, and I think that in Saskatchewan, we have some of the best painters.”
Even though people have repeatedly written the obituary for painting, it continues to dominate the art world, she said.
According to Matheson, the artists who are part of “Restoration” are well known in Saskatchewan and Canada. She believes that Saskatchewan has a proud tradition in painting, and the province's painters should be more acclaimed.
Fay said that it was only after she completed several projects that she started to think of herself as a painter. Her submissions to “Restoration” question how a painting can represent an environment or a landscape.
“What I wanted to do was get inside there and talk about the experience of environment, so the work became more abstract, because I was talking about the experience that took place, and how I address that,” said Fay.
Cuthand submitted several bead and paint depictions of diseases that white people brought to First Nations reserves – Spanish flu, polio, tuberculosis and smallpox. Diseases and indigenous people are both topics of interest for Cuthand.
“I researched diseases and I did 11 diseases that came from Europe,” said Cuthand. “Then I looked them up on the internet.”
She used her painting background to determine whether the bead colours and the black background would work. There are opaque and transparent beads, and beads of many colours.
“Restoration” was originally conceived in 2009, and it was first shown in 2010. Adrian Stimson is the other curator of the exhibit. Wally Dion, David Garneau, Jennifer McRorie and Belinda Kriek were the other artists involved.
They come from diverse backgrounds, Matheson said, and offer different subject matters.
The exhibit has been at the EAGM since early June, and it will remain until early September.