Creates and Cahén in the Spotlight at the Beaverbrook
National Gallery of Canada Magazine
Posted November 21, 2017
By Stephen Dale
Searching for a way to celebrate visual arts traditions during Canada’s sesquicentennial year, Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery went deep and wide. Earlier this year, the Gallery hosted Canadian Mosaic, an exhibition that encompassed every inch of gallery space. Now, it’s also going deep, showcasing two artists whose divergent approaches hint at the eclecticism of Canadian art.
The result is two major back-to-back retrospectives examining the significant — yet very different —contributions of photographer and environmental artist Marlene Creates and pioneering abstract painter Oscar Cahén. Since the late 1970s, Creates has conducted ever-deepening inquiries into the layered relationships between humans, the land, and language. Cahén, meanwhile, was a mercurial figure on the Toronto art scene of the 1950s, a prolific and influential ambassador for abstract art in a country just beginning to embrace modernity. He was only 40 when he died in a car crash outside of Oakville, Ontario in 1956.
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Oscar Cahén, Still life, 1950
Pastel on illustration board, 71 x 91.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC