Remai Modern - Ruth Cuthand


Artist in Focus: Ruth Cuthand

March 13 – July 14,, 2019

Remai Modern’s first Artist in Focus exhibition highlights the work of Ruth Cuthand, one of Saskatchewan’s leading artists. Through the series Misuse is Abuse, Trading and early dress paintings from Remai Modern’s permanent collection, we see how Cuthand explores frictions between cultures, the failures of representation and the political uses of anger.
Early works in the exhibition introduce Cuthand’s anti-aesthetic technique, which is employed as a strategy to provoke deeper consideration and deflect romantic sympathizing. Her use of beads is just as alluring as its decorative predecessors, but their beauty here is intercepted by Cuthand’s deeper themes. The Trading series references markings found on barrels and crates full of trade goods. These vessels carried desirable glass beads, alongside deadly infections that eventually spread through the trading centres. Extirpate this Execrable Race references smallpox-infected blankets that were used as a form of biological warfare. In this work, Cuthand created packages of blankets affixed with beaded smallpox viruses and tied with large red bows. In her most recent work, Cuthand continues to call attention to the health impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities.