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September 5th to November 30th, 2019

This exhibition presents a series of new ‘perspectives’ in an on-going, cross-cultural collaboration.

The 2016 Regional art project ‘ReEncounter’, a fourteen-day kayak expedition in Gwaii Haanas, spun off a series of related endeavours inspired by the Watchmen of Haida Gwaii. The journey itself was documented in Braid Film’s 2017 short film ‘Eyes of Society’, and its basic tenets, outlined in a series of interviews, now live on in the form of a Social Commentary Award at Canada’s largest outdoor art festival, the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

In 2018, the project evolved into a summer exhibition at the Robert Bateman Centre, exploring the relationship between art and traditional knowledge, and the belief ‘that nature and culture are intrinsically connected’, to quote the Coastal Guardian Watchmen. These ideas of interconnectedness and co-dependence, on all levels, are reoccurring themes in the works of this collective of realist painters from across Canada.

Born of the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, and following the spirit of the Romantic painters of the nineteenth century, Regionalism in art is an age-old tradition that embodies the highest ideals and aspirations of Western society. These ideas, paradoxically, find their origins in direct observation of the natural world, and a parallel in the response by the Romantics to a newly industrialized world. Regional art, therefore, strives to understand the nature of perception and the nature of objective reality (‘culture’ itself, that is); resisting the postmodern perspective of the day. Perhaps no one (in this world) can claim to have a closer relationship to what is real than those who live closest to the earth and ocean.

Our goal here is to bring together the views of very different cultures, remember our respective histories, and find the common ground that will enable us to move forward together, successfully, into an uncertain future.

Participating Artists

April SGaana Jaad White     Anja Karisik     Andrew Cheddie Sookrah

Sophie Lavoie     Gary Landon     W. David Ward

Gallery of Works

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The 'Undercurrent'

The works in this exhibition might not, at first glance, seem radical in anyway. Aside from the naturalistic (nautical) theme which binds this collection together, there may be no indication that some other statement is being made. Painting in a representational manner itself, however, is making a bold statement today; painting at all for that matter.

The latest cover of Canadian Art, with the title 'Undoing Painting', is a perfectly timed illustration of the pervasive (and powerful) undercurrents that shape our cultural world; something only artists who chose to work in the 'traditional' manner will be aware of. Realism in art, as mentioned in the introduction to this exhibition, reflects a specific world view; and is chosen, therefore, as a form of resistance – a rejection, in fact, of the superficial, relativistic, postmodern culture of our day. In the 'post-truth', 'post-meaning' world (to use two common expressions which aptly describe the reality of our times) realist painters today seek to uphold the three timeless values of the Romantics (the first Regionalists): Beauty, Nature and Truth. We hope therefore, you will find a deeper meaning in this collection of work - these small statements of resistance to all that we believe might be changed, in order to make this world a better place.

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