Carol Wainio. The Book

Curator: Diana Nemiroff

Artist: Diana Nemiroff

January 10, 2014 - February 22, 2014

Opening: January 9, 2014, 5:30 pm

Organized and circulated by Carleton University Art Gallery in Ottawa, the exhibition, which was presented in five locations across Canada, will be ending its tour in Montreal. Carol Wainio is specifically interested in the narrative power of images. In this exhibition, she uses illustrated books and fairy tales imagery references to create a dialogue with the current socio-political context. The project, curated by Diana Nemiroff, brings together a body of 15 works made between 2002 and 2010.

The Book

Illustrated books, which seek to educate their readers through images and ideas about the world, are the focal point for Ottawa painter Carol Wainio’s recent reflections on the changing and contradictory role of representation. Many of Wainio’s paintings evoke a mood of disenchantment and loss rather than wonder. In them, books have become crumbling monuments, provisional structures in a landscape littered with empty shopping bags and cheap, discarded shoes. Mass production replaces scarcity and commercial exchange but, in spite of this transformation, poverty remains ubiquitous. The subjects of the traditional European folktale — poverty and excess, high culture and low, desire and consumption, camouflage and forms of recognition or status through representation or dress — become commentaries on today’s global consumerist society and its inequities.

The artist

Carol Wainio’s work combines the visceral and painterly with the discursive to create structures for wondering not only about the practice of art, but about things that often come “from an elsewhere other than the field of painting”. The works draw together diverse references and approaches to explore the nuances of history, narrative, representation, the environment, and the changing nature of human experience.

Wainio obtained an MFA from Concordia University in 1985 and has exhibited widely, including at the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and internationally at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Venice Biennale, the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna in Bologna and in the United-States and China.  In Canada, her paintings are represented in private and public collections, including the National Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Glenbow Museum.

Carol Wainio was born in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1955, and is currently based in Ottawa. She has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University and the University of Ottawa. She is represented by TrépanierBaer Gallery, Calgary, and Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto.

The curator

Diana Nemiroff was a senior curator at the National Gallery of Canada before she was appointed as director of the Carleton University Art Gallery in Ottawa (2005-2012). She won a lifetime achievement award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries in 2011 and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2012. In recognition of an exceptional career dedicated to the promotion of Canadian visual arts, Nemiroff has been recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts with the 2012 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution.