Gerald Ferguson, <em>Neoclassical Still Lifes</em>, 1994, Enamel on canvas. 117.8 x 134.6 cm. Photo Credit: Steve Farmer

Close to the edge... The Work of Gerald Ferguson

Saturday, 15 September 2018 to Sunday, 20 January 2019

September 15, 2018 – January 20, 2019
Curator: David Diviney

Through signature works from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s permanent collection like Neoclassical Still Lifes (1994) and the variable 1,000,000 Pennies (1979), Close to the edge... offers a comprehensive overview of Ferguson’s practice. This platform makes visible his devotion to conceptual processes and systems while highlighting his significant influence on the world of contemporary art.

Ferguson was included in Information, the defining exhibition of conceptual art held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1970. Over the years his work was exhibited and collected internationally and nationally in such settings as Calgary, Cologne, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Vancouver, and Warsaw. In 1995, Ferguson was awarded Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for his substantial and distinguished contribution to the cultural heritage of Canada.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1937, Gerald Ferguson came to Canada in 1968 at the invitation of Garry Neill Kennedy, the newly appointed president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Together they transformed the school into an internationally recognized institution and locus of conceptual art activity. Ferguson taught at NSCAD until his retirement in 2006, influencing generations of young artists during his tenure. He passed away in Halifax in 2009.

Close to the edge... The Work of Gerald Ferguson includes examples of painting, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture made by the late artist over the forty-year period that followed his arrival to Halifax in 1968. In tracing his lengthy career, of primary attention is Ferguson’s ongoing relationship with the history and discourse of painting. From his "task-oriented" canvases involving the use of stencils and frottage to others that underline an interest in the conventions of still life and landscape, this exhibition follows Ferguson’s examination of painting and the deconstruction of its strategies.


This exhibition is accompanied by a publication of the same name. Close to the edge… The Work of Gerald Ferguson contains seven essays and statements by Gerald Ferguson that collectively serve as the definitive account of this important artist’s approach to his art and his times. Beginning with his first works in Halifax in the late 1960s and ending with his statement for his last exhibition, New Paintings – Landscapes, held in Toronto in 2009, Ferguson’s collected writings are a unique document in Canadian art history.

Published by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
8.27 x 9.84 in
180 pg