For Emily

23 May 2009 – 13 September 2009

Gathie Falk Dress with Crossed Ankles, 1998

Gathie Falk Dress with Crossed Ankles, 1998

Over the course of the August long weekend, Regina will be a poetry hotspot as the annual meeting of the Emily Dickinson International Society takes place at the Hotel Saskatchewan. In conjunction with this meeting, the theme of which is “Emily Dickinson: Queen Without a Crown,” the MacKenzie Art Gallery will presentFor Emily, an exhibition featuring works from the Gallery's permanent collection.

To see the For Emily poster, click here. To download the For Emily exhibition handout, click here

This exhibition, a collaboration between Head Curator Timothy Long and conference organizer Dr. Cindy MacKenzie of the University of Regina, will bring together word and image through an examination of how artists and poets create meaning using separate but related techniques.

The starting point for the exhibition is the poetry of Emily Dickinson, in particular, her repeated use of the techniques of metonymy and ellipsis. Metonymy is a device which we use every time we utter a phrase like “I smoke a pack a day.” Here, the container “pack” is substituted for what it contains, “cigarettes.” According to MacKenzie, metonymy in Dickinson’s work is also “a way of creating contingent meanings—achieved by constellations of images or words or even constellations of full poems.” Ellipsis, which usually appears in texts as “…”, is the technique of leaving gaps in a line of poetry in order to let the reader “fill in the blanks.” Both of these devices have their counterparts in the visual arts: a sculptor, for instance, may create an empty dress to talk about the personality of the individual who once wore it (metonymy), or a painter might make a fragmentary image of a heart which leaves the viewer to mentally reconstruct the whole (ellipsis).

Interestingly, a number of the works in the exhibition are by women artists, such as Gathie Falk, whose imagery, as much as their technique, relates to Dickinson’s texts. The connection between the artists and the poet will be further reinforced by the introduction of a sound component which will bring Dickinson’s spoken poetry into the Gallery space.

For more information on the Emily Dickinson International Society Annual Meeting taking place in Regina July 31 to August 2, 2009 click here.


Gathie Falk
Dress with Crossed Ankles, 1998
papier-maché, acrylic paint, varnish
91.4 x 55.9 x 50.8 cm
Collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and with funds from the James Kurtz Memorial Foundation

Co-curated by Timothy Long and Cindy MacKenzie. Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the City of Regina Arts Commission