For the LOVE of Art – Canadian Biennale
It Is What It Is.
If you are looking for a way to forget the winter darkness, it’s a great chance to head to the National Gallery in Ottawa and check out some contemporary Canadian Art. The new Canadian Biennale is showcasing 80 pieces of recently acquired work by some great Canadian artists. The exhibition title is taken from one of the works in the show… It Is What It Is, It Was What It Was by artist Ron Terada, a neon text piece that spells out the phrase. As the title indicates this show has no particular theme and showcases a variety of styles, mediums, and subject matter. Make sure to plan some time as there are several interesting video works including Isosceles by Mark Lewis.
This video is a slow moving shot that revolves around a triangular shaped abandoned building in London, England.
Photography is also well represented at the show, including the dizzying image of neighborhood destruction and reconstruction by Greg Girard titled Neighborhood Demolition, #41 Lane 590, Weihai Lu.
Another favourite of the photo works is the deceptively titled Rodney Graham image The Gifted Amateur, Nov. 10, 1962.
This life-size photo presented on three light boxes is so detailed it requires as much time to take in as one of the video pieces.
There are also some great drawings in this show. A work by Tim Pitsiulak, Untitled (Cockpit) presents us with an unusual and destabilizing image of landscape.
In this image the world is off-kilter, framed by the static control panel of an airplane, highlighting the way technology frames our reading of the world.
The sculptors make a strong presence in the show as well, the first piece encountered being Valerie Blass’ The Straw Man (L’homme paille).
Blass is a master at combining found materials and constructed pieces to create mysterious narratives. Possibly the most memorable piece in the show is Steven Shearer’s Geometric Mechanotherapy Cell for Harmonic Alignment of Movements and Relations.
This giant cube made from shiny black tubing sits ominously on a low plinth while strange groans and rattles emanate from within. There is a sense of anticipation created by the sounds that brings viewers back for a second look.
When you do go to the show be sure to check out the recently installed outdoor piece One Hundred Foot Line by American artist Roxy Paine.
This shiny steel pillar slowly tapers off, making it seem much longer than its already impressive size. If it is too cold to venture outside to see it, grab a hot chocolate and enjoy the indoor view from the cafeteria!