The Kamloops Art Gallery (KAG) invited the community to join an online conversation with the artists participating in Holding a line in your hand, currently at KAG, and curator Charo Neville on Wednesday, September 15 at 1 p.m. KAG said that “we are fortunate to be able to bring together Lyse Lemieux, Azadeh Elmizadeh, Rajni Perera, Colleen Heslin and Russna Kaur for a discussion on their work, this exhibition and painting in Canada today”.
Handling a line continues until September 18. The KAG is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free for all evacuees and anyone affected by forest fires.
Holding a Line in Hand features the work of five Canadian women painters from different cultural backgrounds, at different stages of their careers and based across the country. Their work contains divergent methodologies, but also strong affinities.
The exhibition includes works of art abundant in color, lines and textures, integrated and not cluttered with ideas. The focus on a small group of female painters offers a renewed perspective on a field historically dominated by men and reflects the growing number of female artists working in this medium today. Exploring and expropriating the idea of painting in multiple ways, these artists share a broad approach to painting. Holding a line in your hand is a testament to a resurgence of painting in Canada and an active dialogue around historical precedents and contemporary approaches.
The works in the exhibition by Azadeh Elmizadeh, Colleen Heslin, Russna Kaur, Lyse Lemieux, and Rajni Perera include large-scale dyed canvases and site-specific murals, experimental works on fabric and rope, as well as painted objects . Many works incorporate textiles as part of a conversation about their daily use, their formal possibilities, and their historically gendered associations.
Other works mix cultural tradition and storytelling, including the futures of science fiction. The title of the exhibition – Holding a line in the hand – borrows a phrase from how Lyse Lemieux described her artistic approach which, for all the artists in the exhibition, involves the body. Figures appear in much of the work, both through representation and abstraction, offering a bodily presence.
Steeped in centuries-old academic traditions, painting has long been revered as the highest art form. While artists have opposed tradition over the past 150 years, the goal of a painting, what constitutes a new painting movement and what is considered a masterpiece worthy of the canon has radically changed. Painting in Canada today defies any singular definition and can be understood through expanded practices that contribute to a broader dialogue about art.
Artists working in this medium recognize and push back the history of painting, integrate personal narrative, cultural tradition and formal convention, as well as experimental strategies. Holding a line in your hand, these five prominent women artists convey a diverse vision of painting today while sharing the vast possibilities of this long revered medium.