This is the latest in a series of exhibitions the MacKenzie Art Gallery has presented where they invite a local artist to visit their vault and select works from the permanent collection to curate a show of their own. Sometimes prairie dog columnist Seema Goel was the first artist, I believe, to participate. A few years ago, she paired some traditional Western landscape paintings with Inuit prints to explore the link between art in those cultures and their broader relationship with nature and the land.
Close Strangers: Distant Relations is the brainchild of University of Regina Fine Arts professor David Garneau. Painter, art critic and academic, Garneau, for the last ten years or so, has been keenly engaged in critiquing pop culture and historical representations of First Nations and Metis people in Canada and the United States.
For this show, he pulled a broad range of paintings and sculptures from the gallery's collection. He then recorded short story-based commentaries on each work that viewers can listen to via iPods borrowed from the gallery gift shop while they wander through the show. Neat idea, eh?
Pictured above is Janet Werner's 1999 painting Gray Girl which is included in the show. Close Strangers: Distant Relations is on display at the MacKenzie until Jan. 3.