Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada—Monday, 5 December 2022:
Beginning 8 December, the MacKenzie Art Gallery will present two brand new exhibitions, offering a window into the mid-1950s—a critical moment in Saskatchewan art history, and the history of the Gallery.
Curated by Head Curator Timothy Long, these two exhibitions, Anthony Thorn: A Portrait, 1927–2014 and Ten Artists of Saskatchewan: 1955 Revisited, feature the works of 10 artists who went on to establish Saskatchewan as a significant player on the national contemporary art stage.
Anthony Thorn: A Portrait, 1927–2014
Anthony Thorn (1927–2014), born Arthur Goldman, was a well-known Canadian artist with strong ties to the Regina community. He was among the first generation of Saskatchewan artists to experiment with abstraction during the 1950s, an experience which informed his later work and teaching in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Victoria. Celebrating a recent acquisition of forty-eight of his works, this exhibition highlights the achievements of an important independent voice in the province’s artistic landscape—providing a portrait of a career that spanned six decades. The collection affords a broad understanding of the major developments in Thorn’s career, surveying how he forged an independent path by drawing on diverse currents of twentieth-century art, spirituality, and philosophy. The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication of Thorn’s collected writings, For the Honour of Art: Essays and Opinions, a co-publication of the MacKenzie Art Gallery and Art Gallery of Greater Victoria—available in-store at the MacKenzie Shop.
Ten Artists of Saskatchewan: 1955 Revisited
The MacKenzie Art Gallery has been a centre for innovation in the fine arts since it was first established in 1953. I takes viewers back to the time of the Gallery’s first major survey of contemporary art. Highlighting the works of 10 artists who later developed into some of the region’s most prominent artists of the 1960s and 1970s, the exhibition examines the ground-breaking and under-examined period of the 1950s. The selection of works features the period’s most ambitious, modern painters—Kenneth Lochhead, Arthur McKay, Douglas Morton, Henri Bonli, McGregor Hone, Anthony Thorn, Reta Cowley, Wynona Mulcaster, Dorothy Knowles, and Clara Samuels—a group who helped define the artistic identity of the region. By returning to 1955, the exhibition provides an opportunity to assess both the triumphs and challenges faced in the past and reflect as we contemplate the evolving needs of artists today—a question addressed in a guest essay by Regina artist and writer Terri Fidelak.
“The 1950s were an exciting period for young artists, who for the first time had opportunities for travel and study abroad,” Head Curator Timothy Long recalls. “Their desire to look outward, while reflecting on regional realities, would set the tone for years to come.”
The two exhibitions will run in tandem until 23 April 2023 as complementary presentations with a selection of works that transport audiences back in time, recreating the Saskatchewan artistic landscape of the 1950s. Emphasizing Saskatchewan’s artistic and cultural heritage, the two shows offer an opportunity for visitors to consider the role that early experiments in modernism had for the development of a growing arts community.
MacKenzie Art Gallery
(306)-584-4250 ext. 4271