Figuratively Speaking
June 21 – October 1, 2004
Main Gallery | Centre for the Arts | W600

Figuratively Speaking

Main Gallery
Helen Christou Gallery

Main Gallery – June 21 – October 1, 2004
Helen Christou Gallery – June 21 – September 18, 2004

The human body has long been a favoured subject for artists. This exhibition, drawn entirely from the University of Lethbridge Art Collection, features major artists from Europe, the United States and Canada who have produced diverse approaches to this subject. The wall to your right starts with two portraits from the 1950s by French artist André Derain and Canadian Rick Rivet’s recent portrait of Gabriel Dumont. Recognisable as individuals, these paintings stay closer to the traditional goals of portraiture and relate to the works by Nicholas de Grandmaison upstairs in the Helen Christou Gallery. The angry energy visible in Rivet’s Dumont also connects the work to others in this exhibition who are not concerned with depicting an individual, but instead explore the emotional and social implications of representing the human figure. Artists such as Mashel Teitelbaum and Otto Rogers, in the works on the wall facing this text panel, use elements that allow a viewer to still identify the human form within the subtle intensity of their abstracted images.

In the small room of the gallery, there are several traditional figure studies by artists such as Ernest Lindner and Miller Brittain. These drawings are often initially produced as part of the process of an artist developing their skills or preparing for a major painting and then become intimate works that can stand on their own. The range of approaches to depicting the human figure is evident in this part of the exhibition as well. The works by Henry Moore and Stanley Spencer demonstrate the development of modernism within England while Christopher Pratt’s lithographs contain the eerie stillness and sense of an implied story that has made his work famous in Canada and abroad.

The University of Lethbridge Art Collection has a strong holding of works in this area and this exhibition shows a small section of this range. From the playful Pop of Andy Warhol in this gallery and Sandra Meigs’s boxing figures upstairs in the Helen Christou Gallery to the intense imagery in Walter Bachinski’s and Renée Van Halm’s paintings, it is clear that the human body provides endless options for interpretation by artists. Please do visit the Helen Christou Gallery to see the other part of this exhibition.

Josephine Mills