The tension between a picture and the object portrayed has been a central theme of art for as long as humans have been making pictures. Did our ancestors really think that their paintings of bison, elephants, bears, aurochs, mammoths, elk and other game animals had magical powers that aided in the hunt? We can’t know, but we also can’t help speculating.
An image of a thing holds a power of attraction because it seems to somehow transcend the quotidian nature of objects in the world— their transience, their inevitable decay, their function or lack thereof and so on. Is a picture of a pear more satisfying than eating an actual fruit? Yes and no, right?
In Pictured: Image and Object in Canadian Sculpture, works from the AGNS Permanent Collection as well as loans from the artists are brought together, perhaps to kindle some debate, and definitely to continue the ongoing discussion about the nature of images.
Sculptures can go back and forth between image and object: they are always objects in the world, but they often depict other things, or are made from materials that are not expected for the things that they are purporting to be. Three-dimensional works will be displayed with two-dimensional works by the same artists, reflecting how the individual artist’s intentions and interests can go back and forth between media and genres. In the end, a picture has no dimension; it begins as an idea and ends up as a thing.
Pictured includes works by 12 Canadian artists: Jane Buyers, Thierry Delva, David Diviney, Dennis Gill, Alexander Graham, John Greer, David R. Harper, Steve Higgins, Cal Lane, Glen MacKinnon, Vanessa Paschakarnis, and Colleen Wolstenholme.