Alex R. M. Thompson, 10.10.18 (The Former Spin Master), 2019, Photo-etching, relief, 20.32 x 30.48 cm, Edition of 3, Courtesy of the artist.
Emotional Landscapes juxtaposed works from the Varley Art Gallery of Markham’s collection with the contemporary practices of Jessica Karuhanga and Alex R.M. Thompson. Building on the nineteenth century English Romantic tradition, the Group of Seven captured the raw, emotional nature of places like Algonquin Park. Their expressive, melancholic and sublime landscapes are often devoid of human bodies. However still noticeable in them are marks indicative of human activity. Responding to the established, and at times problematic, narrative of historical Canadian landscape painting, Karuhanga and Thompson propose a political view of nature and landscape, one that acknowledges the consequences of the humans that live and work in it.
This project is the result of a pilot mentorship program initiated by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham that aims to bring diverse voices from curators of the Asian diaspora into the institution. Located in one of Canada’s most diverse cities, part of the Gallery’s artistic vision is to become a site of mentorship for a future generation of practitioners, especially culturally diverse artists and curators who reflect the lived experiences of our immediate communities. At the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, we also strive to create a forum for new ideas and experimentation, while questioning art historical canons and museological practices.
Artists: Jessica Karuhanga and Alex R. M. Thompson, with F. Carmichael, A. J. Casson, A. Y. Jackson, J. E. H. MacDonald and F. H. Varley
This project was supported by Partners in Art.