Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh Canada

What is Canada? Is it the queen? Or hockey? Long nights? The great northern lights? Or the open prairies? The benign neighbor to the north? Above the 49th parallel. Or more?

I admit I love Mass MOCA--the very large contemporary art museum so near by in North Adams, MA.  Their new show--Oh Canada--attempts just such a definition. Apparently there were about 400 visits to different artists studios and galleries in Canada looking for the best most provocative work. And what a show it is.

I loved loved loved this large latex sculpture by Kim Morgan called Range Light. Like a giant sail it stretches up to the second floor. So complex and shimmering it dominates the space.

But look at all the detail in latex. So carefully manipulated.

From the second story you can even see a door painted onto the latex and more great texture.

Listen with ear phones to the video production off the side of the large room in the first floor. It is tucked away under this scultpture. Asking in such a jaunty manner--what is Canada? Made me ponder and set the tone for the whole show.

Another piece I loved in the same room is Lookup by Wanda Koop. Again this stretches way way up with the colors and the rhythms just dominating the space. I love how it dwarfs the viewer but made me also want to stare and examine each color.

There were some wonderful ceremonial spaces and ritual objects. I took images but I couldn't capture in my camera but love the image that lingered in my mind. Some provocative drawings by the native residents on their contemporary life that I found almost heart wrenching in their poignancy. References to the dark starry nights and videos of the wind on the prairie. Another video of a ceremonial dance that kept me absorbed in the motions and colors.

I loved this large drawing of the textural slap of clay by Hans Wendt. Yes, this is a flat watercolor but the art just pops out of the frame in its perspective. This is just a detail but isn't it amazing?

I also liked the two contrasting scenes in these paintings--one of the pristine arctic and one of the ruined arctic although I failed to get the name of the artist.

Some great photographs. Some just lovely in the scenes. Others manipulated to convey a message. Lots more videos and installations. One a very dark room that you have to acclimate your eyes to see the wonders. Some pieces that I still do not understand. Shouldn't there always be work over my head? Do find the windmills of water bottles. Stunning.  And of course look for the coins carefully hidden in the corners.

So much to see--such a rich and varied exhibit. Have you seen it yet? What were your favorites? Have you seen any other great shows this summer? Here is the link to the show--it runs through April 1, 2113. http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=663


  1. Looks like a great show! Wish I could see it.

  2. I wish I could see this in person! The Globe and Mail (Canadian newspaper) had a great story on this exhibit a few weeks ago. Here's the link to the article - the interview with the curators is fascinating: