Shary Boyle: Music for Silence
National Gallery of Canada, 2013
If a trip to Italy isn’t in the cards, this glossy catalogue with its assortment of strange and otherworldly images by Canada’s representative to this year’s Venice Biennale, Shary Boyle, may be just the ticket. The National Gallery of Canada, the commissioning institution for the 55th instalment of what’s arguably the world’s most prestigious art event, has produced an appealing 187-page trilingual catalogue generously illustrated with some 50 key works by the Toronto artist.
Boyle says her latest work was informed by her desire to give voice to those who are excluded – indeed, the catalogue features a poetic dedication “for the silenced / the unspoken / what we watch, witness and can’t name …” – and notes in an interview with Josée Drouin-Brisebois, a senior curator at the gallery, that empathy develops from personal experience.
“Art is serious to me, a real, active, living language,” says Boyle. “It is a responsibility. I can’t speak for others yet my consideration of those not invited influences how I see and make. Regardless of the art world’s collective absorption with money, status or fashion, I will insist on tenderness, silence and meaning. Plus mischief.”