Greg Forrest, Anything Else is a Compromise, 2004, Bronze, 176.0 x 59.0 x 55.0 cm, Gift of Andrew Danyliw, Toronto, Ontario, 2010, 2010.228.

Arena: The Art of Hockey

Saturday, 5 April 2008 to Sunday, 8 June 2008

Curator: Ray Cronin

On the surface at least, hockey and art may not seem to have much in common. Once one starts looking more closely however, there is all kinds of common ground, from creativity and the pursuit of excellence, to imagination and passion, just to name a few.

The work in ARENA: The Art of Hockey examines all aspects of our fascination with the game of hockey, looking at the larger ideas and issues in contemporary culture by using hockey as a starting point.

The exhibition includes works in diverse media such as video projection, sculpture, installation, painting, printmaking and photography. Some of the top contemporary artists in Canada, including Sobey Art Award winners Jean-Pierre Gauthier and Brian Jungen, painters Wanda Koop and Landon Mackenzie, sculptors Aganetha Dyck, James Carl, Greg Forrest, Craig LeBlanc and Graeme Patterson, and photographer Tim Lee, join international artists Hanson + Sonnenberg, Roderick Buchanan, Kristian Simolin and Annika Larsson, among others, in an exhibition that examines our enduring fascination with "Canada’s game".

The works in ARENA look at the construction of such concepts as hero-worship, desire, sacrifice and the sublimation of violence in the creation of group identity through sport. Sub-themes include the culture of spectacle in Western society, the role of sport in the creation of identity, and the idea of using athletes as screens for the projection of desire and aspiration. Pathos, humour, reverence, irreverence, competitiveness and team spirit are all elements of the works that will be on display.

With one exception, all of the pieces in ARENA were created by the artists of their own initiative, responding to the rich possibilities they were able to mine from “Canada’s game.” Participating artists have keyed into particular players, as with Leah Modigliani and Wayne Gretzky, Andrew Hunter and Terry Sawchuk, or Greg Forrest and Bobby Orr. Others have focussed on key moments in hockey history, such as Paul Henderson’s goal that won the Canada Russia ’72 series. Still others focus on their own personal histories with hockey with imaginative recreations of games, plays and players.

There is something for everyone in ARENA -- hockey fans to art appreciators alike. There are works to challenge, to engage, to amuse, and to entertain us, as well as works that will get us thinking and encourage us to remember. Hockey is such an important part of the Canadian identity, and summing it up in a single art exhibition is no simple task. Spanning three floors and incorporating over 100 works of art, ARENA: The Art of Hockey is one of the largest exhibitions in the gallery's history. Still, we'll only be scratching the surface of what's possible.

The exhibition will include work by: Pierre Ayot, David Bierk, Lisa Birke, Mark Bovey, Bob Bozak, Roderick Buchanan, Nathalie Bujold, Geoff Butler, Paul Butler, Suzanne Caines, James Carl, Scott Connaroe, Ken Danby, Michael Davey, Thierry Delva, Siobhan Doherty, Jennifer Dorner, Aganetha Dyck, Joe Fafard, FASTWURMS, Greg Forrest, Tom Forrestall, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, Larry Humber, Andrew Hunter, Matt James, Anthony Jenkins, Brian Jungen, Stephen Kelly, Davida Kidd, Wanda Koop, Annika Larsson, Craig Le Blance, Tim Lee, Serge Lemoyne, Lisa Lipton, Kenneth Lochhead, Jim Logan, Landon Mackenzie, Jason McLean, Laura Millard, Leah Modigliani, Luke Naylor, Charles Pachter, Graeme Patterson, Tony Scherman, Kent Senecal, Kristian Simolin, P. Roch Smith, David Thauberger, Robyn Thomas, Diana Thorneycroft, Andy Warhol, John Will, Craig Willms and Colleen Wolstenholme.