Arts + Culture » Visual Art

Inside the Diamond Mine

Dalhousie Art Gallery celebrates its 60th anniversary with some art nuggets from the vault.

by

comment
Fine Art Paintings Conservator Elizabeth Jablonski set up a temporary studio in the gallery.
  • Fine Art Paintings Conservator Elizabeth Jablonski set up a temporary studio in the gallery.

Diamond Mine: 60 Years of Collecting at the Dalhousie Art Gallery brings out the diamonds from the art vault, showing a rich visual history of Dalhousie's permanent art collection. Comprised of pieces from various artists, the exhibit marks the end of the gallery's 60th anniversary celebration.

"We didn't want to do a sample show," says curator Peter Dykhuis. "A university gallery is a place where you can try out ideas. We wanted to focus on a few time periods."

The Dalhousie Art Gallery began as a small one-room gallery in the old Arts and Administration building. When the Dalhousie Arts Centre was built in 1971, the gallery moved into a unique space with concrete pillars, high ceilings and a staircase in the centre. The minimalist paintings from the 1970s fit right in. Their hard-edged, bold strokes of colour complement the concrete architecture. "Looking at the paintings, I never really saw them together before," says Dykhuis. "I don't know what came first, whether the art was made for the building or the building made for the art."

In the gallery's early days, two-thirds of the art collected was drawings, because of budget constraints. These pieces have the feel of being artifacts—art that fits in its time period but still relevant today. Michael Snow, the first guest curator of the gallery, does so much with a few strokes in "Expanded Drawing (Walking Woman Series)" (1961). The standouts of the exhibit are the pieces that reflect the 1970s. John Boyle's "Chartrand" (1973) is a portrait of a man clearly from the 1970s, from his horn-rimmed glasses, long hair and short mustache. The colours from Jacques Hurtubise's zany lines in "Marie Jeanne" (1970) are very similar to comic books and TV graphics of the era. Groovy.


Diamond Mine: 60 Years of Collecting at the Dalhousie Art Gallery
To October 5
Dalhousie Art Gallery, 6101 University Avenue

Tags

Add a comment

Remember, it's entirely possible to disagree without spiralling into a thread of negativity and personal attacks. We have the right to remove (and you have the right to report) any comments that go against our policy.