"Portrait Of A Woman"
Unidentified (Italian), "Portrait Of A Woman," oil on canvas, c.1500-1600. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection, gift of Mr. Norman MacKenzie.
Close Strangers: Distant Relations, September 19 to January 3, 2009, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
David Garneau wants to challenge the notion that “art must be educational.” The Métis artist and educator brings this subversive agenda to the MacKenzie Art Gallery this fall when he curates Close Strangers: Distant Relations. In this passionate engagement with the Gallery’s permanent collection, Garneau wants to have his audience be “moved rather than convinced.” The audio-based storytelling experience he wrote for each work takes the viewer on a 20-minute journey with an iPod. Visitors will be guided through a maze as the audio story unfolds, and each work is connected to the next — it’s a narrative told in 20 fictional voices. “These are first-person accounts,” Garneau explains. “They’re not reliable. I used poetic language.” Among the works chosen for the audio maze are Ernest Lindner’s “Food for Life”, Janet Werner’s “Grey Girl”, “Unknown, Formerly Attributed to Titian” and Sanford Fisher’s “Hanging Out the Wash.” Garneau’s own internal dialogue about the works is an imaginative response he assumes most people have when they look at art. This private dialogue takes place outside of art history within a more subjective realm. “We look for mirrors and metaphors of our lives or narrate possible worlds in the picture,” he says.