WAG Opens Wanda Koop VIEW from HERE
Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 25, 2015: The Winnipeg Art Gallery is pleased to present new work by one of Canada’s most important and inventive contemporary artists, Winnipeg’s own Wanda Koop. VIEW from HERE opened February 21 and runs until May 31.
Koop’s new suite of paintings both affirms and disrupts two quite different genres: landscape and portraiture. Using ink and acrylic on canvas, these nine-by-seven-foot works use landscape tropes to compose immense and surreal human heads that seem to float in ambiguous space. Unmoored from any depiction of the body, their scale demands a paradoxical bodily encounter with the viewer, one that parallels the artist’s physical engagement with both medium and ground in creating them.
Each of the eight heads recalls elements of one of Koop’s earlier landscape series, such as Satellite Cities, Native Fires, and Deep Bay, and all pose existential questions about who we are, how we are socially constructed, and what we understand about our relationship with the natural world.
“The WAG has been exhibiting Wanda Koop’s work for years now, but every once in a while there’s an installation that takes us to another level — and the VIEW from HERE exhibition is one of those instances in my estimation,” says Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO and the exhibition curator. “The intersecting or connecting of the body and the landscape isn’t really a new idea for Wanda; however, with the landscape moving right into a headspace, literally, the familiar rhythm and energy of the painted forms are met with moments of deep serenity in the viewing experience. Of course having these large paintings set against the grey limestone walls of Eckhardt Hall also offers the viewer a new colour palette to explore and enjoy.”
Known for charting new directions in painting, Koop pushes the boundaries of presentation and display with her monumental scale painting installations. Her practice explores scenes of urbanization, industrialization, and robotic technology as it interfaces with the natural world. It asks the viewer to reconsider imagery that is delivered through both cultural history and contemporary broadcast media.
"In order to communicate and translate visually, my intentions for VIEW from HERE, the approach had to be direct and seemingly effortless,” explains Wanda Koop. “After completing the initial research drawings it took another six years and many failed attempts to finally realize the eight paintings that make up the work."
Koop’s career spans over four decades and includes more than 50 solo exhibitions, nationally and internationally. In 2010, the WAG and the National Gallery of Canada organized the survey exhibition On the Edge of Experience.
Koop is a Member of the Order of Canada and received the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees. In 1998, Koop founded Art City, bringing together world-renowned contemporary visual artists and Winnipeg’s inner-city youth to explore the creative process.
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