'Alex Janvier' exhibition makes its only stop in Saskatchewan at the MacKenzie Art Gallery

'Alex Janvier' exhibition makes its only stop in Saskatchewan at the MacKenzie Art Gallery

May 18, 2017

Acclaimed Alex Janvier exhibition from the National Gallery of Canada makes its only stop in Saskatchewan at the MacKenzie Art Gallery from May 20 to September 10, 2017

REGINA, SK — The MacKenzie Art Gallery is pleased to be the summer home for 'Alex Janvier', as this popular exhibition from the National Gallery of Canada makes its first stop on a national tour — and only stop in Saskatchewan.

Alex Janvier is one of Canada’s most acclaimed contemporary artists and a founding member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.. This retrospective is the largest of its kind to date, presenting more than five decades of his paintings and drawings, spanning from Janvier’s early career in the 1960s to present day, and includes nearly 100 of his most impressive works, drawn from public and private collections across Canada. The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, and curated by Greg Hill, the National Gallery of Canada’s Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art.

“No one paints like Alex Janvier,” says MacKenzie Art Gallery Curator Michelle LaVallee. “His abstractions have an aesthetic that is completely unique. They’re amazing – so luminous and inspiring. This is a wonderful opportunity to see work by one of our most respected Canadian artists. He has been at the forefront of contemporary Indigenous art since the 1960s.”

A long-time resident of Cold Lake First Nations in northern Alberta, Janvier combines Denesuline iconography and modernist abstraction in his paintings to express a personal aesthetic that relates to his physical and cultural surroundings. Janvier’s graceful abstractions also include representational imagery that references an ancient past, more recent histories of Aboriginal peoples, and his experience of the effects of colonization and residential schools. The exhibition celebrates this extraordinary artist’s lifetime of creativity, knowledge, and perspective gained from his love of the land, art, and Dene culture. 'Alex Janvier' features the artist’s best-known pieces alongside those that have rarely been seen. In addition, his largest mural — 'Morning Star-Gambeh Then’ ' — which was painted on a domed ceiling in the Canadian Museum of History in 1993, has been captured on video, and will be projected on a screen within the exhibition.

“The MacKenzie Art Gallery is thrilled to be the first venue on a national tour, showcasing one of Canada’s preeminent artists,” says Anthony Kiendl, the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Executive Director and CEO. “This exhibition represents the MacKenzie’s ongoing dedication to Indigenous culture, which complements recent exhibitions like 'Across the Turtle’s Back: The Kampelmacher Memorial Collection of Indigenous Art' and '7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.'. It’s a rare opportunity to see several decades of Janvier’s work side-by-side, and I believe the public will find this exhibition both fascinating and rewarding.”

“We are grateful to our colleagues at the MacKenzie Art Gallery for providing Saskatchewan art lovers with the opportunity to enjoy the works of the extraordinary Alex Janvier,” says Marc Mayer, the National Gallery of Canada’s Director and CEO. “It is an exhibition we are very proud of.”

While on view at the National Gallery of Canada this past winter, this exhibition attracted more than 90,194 visitors. There has been strong advance buzz among educators in Saskatchewan, with School Tour bookings filling quickly, and the MacKenzie expects a sold-out tour schedule for this exhibition. While at the MacKenzie, 'Alex Janvier' will provide ample opportunities for interactive Gallery tours and exhibition-related programming, including during the MacKenzie’s Thursday Lates program, and hands-on workshops in presentation with Studio Sundays.