Canada on Canvas

A Private Collection at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

May 2, 2009 to September 6, 2009

George Agnew Reid, Untitled (The Story), 1890.

A nation's painting tradition can give substance to its people's beliefs, hopes, and fears. Through both what is represented and unrepresented, its visual narratives can enliven a sense of collective belonging and equally remind us of the competing interests and struggles that are no less defining. Canada on Canvas brings together historical portraiture, landscape, and abstract paintings by some of the country's most distinguished artists, including Cornelius Krieghoff, Emily Carr, Norval Morrisseau and Jean-Paul Riopelle.

The 60 works in this exhibition are drawn from a major private collection, on extended loan to the WAG, as well as from the Gallery's permanent collection. In addition to celebrating Canada's painting tradition and charting its formal development, the exhibition offers points from which to reflect on changing notions of national identity, shifting social values, the environment and, of course, painting itself. Setting its sights on the representation of people, places, and ideas, the exhibition reminds us that cemented within a country's painting history are signs of dialogue and debate, shared glory and strife.

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