UNINVITED: CANADIAN WOMEN ARTISTS IN THE MODERN MOMENT
‘Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment is a major exhibition gathering more than 200 works of art by a generation of extraordinary painters, photographers, weavers, bead workers and sculptors. Focusing on the 1920s, 30s and 40s, Uninvited foregrounds the production of women artists from across the country, providing a broad and diverse accounting of female creativity in Canada a century ago.’ – VAG website
I visited Univited in late August and I’ll be going again. In the interval I have looked up more of these artists and am astonished they are not better known and how little Canada has supported and acknowledged its artists, especially the women.
The title Uninvited is maddening because that is just what they were – uninvited to the small and cliquey art world – such as it was – in early 20thC Canada. And like all Canadian artists, even now barring a very few, uninvited to the global ‘art world’
I was already familiar with the magnificent Emily Carr, whose writing s are also very interesting. Years ago I visited her house. I saw for myself her absolute struggle to be an artist in her day and age, as a not particularly privileged, unmarried woman in the remoteness of British Columbia (colonial capital Victoria). She spent many years in poverty running. boarding house, before finding some measure of success late. in life. Her retrospective at the wonderful Dulwich Picture gallery in London was a standout and was absolutely jammed. In recent years she has been accused of being a colonialist and racist, by the kind of people with zero sense of history but lots and lots of misogyny.
I digress. I wanted to tell you about the incredible Russian born painter YULIA BIRIUKOVA (1897–1972) whose work I admired so much in the show.
Another superb Russian whose work I loved is Paraskeva Clark, whose Self-Portrait, 1931–32, is really evocative:
I was also enthused by the work of Ann Savage, one of the few relatively known artists in the show. Savage was esteemed for her landscapes – initially as an artist adjacent to the ‘Group of Seven’ make artists who found fame painting Canada’s vast and eerie landscapes – but soon found her own visual style and approach.
UNINVITED: CANADIAN WOMEN ARTISTS IN THE MODERN MOMENT, VANCOUVER ART GALLERY, JUNE 11, 2022 – JANUARY 8, 2023