Purchased with Acquisition Funds from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, 1997.
Robert Houle was born in St. Boniface, which is a small community just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He stayed in his home province to complete a degree in Art History at the University of Manitoba. He also earned a degree from McGill University, also going on to study art in Salzburg, Austria.
Houle’s suite entitled Collage Auto-Portrait I-XII is an interesting blend of his Ojibwa-Saulteaux heritage, personal experience and visual abstraction. His work often demonstrates the struggle endured by Native artists. The artist describes this struggle as being “cultural apartheid”, the juggling of both contemporary issues and Native tradition in artmaking for contemporary Native artists. He believes that Native art should not be treated as an artifact, but as art shown in mainstream institutions. He encourages contemporary artists to break old traditions, yet preserve their own distinct culture. The suite itself was created for Station Gallery and has not been exhibited elsewhere.
Joan Murray is well-known to the Canadian art scene for the impact she had as a gallery director, curator and writer. Here we can witness Joan’s studio production. In 1987, she painted scenes from around Fenlon Falls, where she enjoyed summer retreats. In The Stream Series #7 she captures the subdued palette of late summer; a landscape filled with mauves and greens. The purple flowers in this painting are called purple loosestrife. These non-indigenous plants arrived to North America in water dumped from the ballast tank of European vessels. The loosestrife is the botanical equivalent to Zebra Mussels. Infestations result in dramatic disruption in water flow in rivers and canals, and a sharp decline in biological diversity as native food and cover plant species, notably cattails, are completely crowded out, and the life cycles of organisms from waterfowl to amphibians to algae are affected. Once established, loosestrife stands are difficult and costly to remove by mechanical and chemical means.
The artist Hagop Khoubesserian graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Rome, Italy and currently maintains his studio practice in Toronto. He immigrated to Canada from France in 1961. This stunning ink drawing depicts a young couple embracing and surrounded by family members. In corresponding with the artist, he mentioned that this work is an autobiographic picture. The embracing couple is the artist with his fiancé. Khoubesserian describes the work as “sentimental”. The portraits are stylized and general which gives the piece an archetypal resonance. Although this pen and ink drawing depicts a somber parting, it has a hopeful mood and light which emanates from the top of the picture.
Purchased with Acquisition Fund Grants from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Charitable Foundation and the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, 1986.
Ink drawings are made with a liquid that has pigments and/or dyes which is used to colour a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are often used in letterpress and lithographic printing.
Ink can be a complex medium, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colorants, and other additives control flow and thickness of the ink and its appearance when dry.
A collage is a picture or design created by gluing typically flat elements such as newspaper, wallpaper, printed text and illustrations, photographs, cloth, string, etc. to a surface. Cubist artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque used collage by including various found objects, pictures and text in their works, influencing many later Modern and Contemporary artists to this day, as well as promoting the medium’s acceptance as a real art form. The materials selected for collages were and are primarily chosen for their symbolism. Some types of collage are: Photomontages – where photographs are arranged artistically onto a surface, and Decoupages, where a picture(s) is placed onto an object for decoration, as well as your standard mixed media collage, where various elements are added to a work already done in another medium, like painting.