The Painting Project. A Snapshot of Painting in Canada – Part 2

Artists: Melanie Authier, Mike Bayne, Simon Bilodeau, Jack Bishop, Jérôme Bouchard, Anthony Burnham, Sarah Cale, Arabella Campbell, DaveandJenn, Kim Dorland, Pierre Durette, Dorian FitzGerald, Sky Glabush, Kym Greeley, Jeremy Hof, Chris Kline, François Lacasse, Jean-François Lauda, Norma Jean MacLean, Elizabeth MicIntosh, Michael Merrill, Shaun Morin, Andrea Mortson, Wil Murray, Ben Reeves, Francine Savard, Justin Stephens, Beth Stuart, Joseph Tisiga, Ehryn Torrell, Janet Werner

General curator: Louise Déry

Curator and coordinator: Julie Bélisle

June 7, 2013 - July 6, 2013

Opening: June 6, 2013, 6:00 pm

The Painting Project. A Snapshot of Painting in Canada opened on April 30 at Galerie de l’UQAM and is on display through July 6 2013. Unique for the diversity of recent works on display, the exhibition testifies to the intense activity taking place in painters’ studios all across Canada. The works by 60 artists were selected after two years of research. The project also includes a virtual exhibition, which will be launched in fall 2013 to give the national and international public access to a lively, prolific art scene. The project has been curated by Julie Bélisle, with Louise Déry acting as general curator. Many of the artists will be in attendance at openings and public activities.

The exhibition

The entire process of preparing The Painting Project – its unusual depth and scope, measure of risk, methodological difficulties and complex logistics – confirmed our hunch that such an initiative was essential, for it would enable the generation of new knowledge and provide an updated view of Canadian painting as it is being practised at the present time. It might seem surprising that a university gallery should consider such an enterprise, but as an institution of learning committed to disseminating information, the Galerie de l’UQAM exercises and promotes a mandate of active research. The idea of undertaking a huge project on painting grew out of the chance to put together an exhibition for the Virtual Museum of Canada. Although this type of platform may not allow for examining a subject indepth, it is ideal for exploring and interpreting broad thematic currents for the wider public.

The preparation and coordination of the gallery and the virtual exhibitions were entrusted to Julie Bélisle, with the collaboration of Marie-Eve Beaupré in developing the ideas and selecting the artists. In order to make the selection of 60 artists, they visited studios, galleries, museums and art fairs, studied some 500 artist files, and consulted a committee of Canadian experts. The results of these efforts are presented in two parts:

Hugo Bergeron (QC), Marie-Claude Bouthillier (QC), Tammi Campbell (SK), Thomas Chisholm (BC), Louis-Philippe Côté (QC), Pierre Dorion (QC), Mario Doucette (NB), Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber (MB), Graham Gillmore (BC), Cynthia Girard (QC), Clint Griffin (ON), Dil Hildebrand (QC), Daniel Hutchinson (ON), Wanda Koop (MB), Jessica Korderas (NS), Gwenessa Lam (BC), Stéphane La Rue (QC), Maclean (QC), Jason McLean (ON), Christine Major (QC), Sandra Meigs (BC), Chris Millar (AB), Kent Monkman (ON), Tim Moore (SK), Paul P. (ON), Brad Phillips (ON), Team Macho (ON), Julie Trudel (QC), Carol Wainio (ON)

Melanie Authier (ON), Mike Bayne (ON), Simon Bilodeau (QC), Jack Bishop (NS), Jérôme Bouchard (QC), Anthony Burnham (QC), Sarah Cale (ON), Arabella Campbell (BC), DaveandJenn (AB), Kim Dorland (ON), Pierre Durette (QC), Dorian FitzGerald (ON), Sky Glabush (ON), Kym Greeley (NF), Jeremy Hof (BC), Chris Kline (QC), François Lacasse (QC), Jean-François Lauda (QC), Norma Jean MacLean (PE), Elizabeth McIntosh (BC), Michael Merrill (QC), Shaun Morin (MB), Andrea Mortson (NB), Wil Murray (AB), Ben Reeves (BC), Francine Savard QC), Justin Stephens (QC), Beth Stuart (ON), Joseph Tisiga (YT), Ehryn Torrell (ON), Janet Werner (QC)

The catalogue

The catalogue provides a unique, masterful picture of the painting practice in Canada, presented in four sections: Figures of Reality, grouping figurative-based approaches that build on the great painting traditions; Fictional Worlds, composed of figurative works with content either symbolic, inspired by comic strips, the media or illustration, or computer-generated; Painting as Subject, where, by means of quotation, gesture or abstraction, the “how” of painting becomes the subject matter; and Hybrid Practices, in which painting develops through contact with other artistic disciplines to produce object-paintings, text-paintings and photograph-paintings. Bilingual and amply illustrated, the 364-page catalogue will be a major reference for seeing and understanding present-day painting in Canada. It includes essays by Julie Bélisle, Louise Déry, Robin Anthony, Robert Enright, Nicolas Mavrikakis and Jonathan Shaughnessy. It is edited by Audrey Genois and the graphic design is by Makara.

The committees

Michel Boulanger, artist and professor, École des arts visuels et médiatiques, UQAM, Montreal Geneviève Goyer-Ouimette, freelance curator, Montreal David Liss, artistic director, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto Nicolas Mavrikakis, art critic and professor of art history, Montreal Jonathan Shaughnessy, associate curator, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Wayne Baerwaldt, director/curator, Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary Ray Cronin, director, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax Jeff Nye, program coordinator, Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Regina Ann Webb, executive director, Canadian Art Foundation, Toronto Pan Wendt, curator, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown

Public activities: Free admission

May 1 – Noontime Contemporary Art – 12:45 – 1:45 pm
Robin Anthony in conversation with Anthony Burnham and Stéphane La Rue

RBC art curator Robin Anthony talks with two Montréal artists about what’s involved in starting a career in art and what it takes to move to professional status.

Happy Hour Speed Painting – 5 to 7 pm
With Mario Doucette, Gwenessa Lam, Maclean, Kent Monkman, Sandra Meigs, Team Macho

Plain and simple! Come take part in a series of events at which each artist will give a 5-minute presentation on his or her work. A question period and discussion with the audience will follow the presentations.

May 16 – Noontime Contemporary Art – 12:45 – 1:45 pm
With Marie-Claude Bouthillier, Christine Major, Hugo Bergeron

Three artists introduce their work, discuss their processes and talk with each other and the audience about painting as the basis of their practice.


The exhibition and the publication are financially supported by Virtual Museum of Canada, an initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Canada Council for the Arts, Transit. Collectif de commissaires et de critiques indépendants and Université du Québec à Montréal.

RBC is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition.