The Kamloops Art Gallery (KAG) invited the community to join in on an online conversation with the artists participating in Holding a line in your hand, on now at the KAG, and Curator Charo Neville on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. The KAG stated that, “we are fortunate to be able to bring Lyse Lemieux, Azadeh Elmizadeh, Rajni Perera, Colleen Heslin, and Russna Kaur together for a discussion about their work, this exhibition, and painting in Canada today.”
Holding a line in your hand continues until September 18. The KAG is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free for all evacuees, and anyone affected by the wildfires.
Holding a line in your hand presents the work of five Canadian women painters from different cultural backgrounds, at different stages in their careers, and based at opposite ends of the country. Their work contains divergent methodologies, but also strong affinities.
The exhibition includes artwork abundant in colour, line, and texture, embedded with and unencumbered by ideas. The focus on a small group of female painters offers a renewed perspective on a historically male-dominated domain and reflects today’s growing number of female artists working in the medium. Exploring and expropriating the idea of the painting in a myriad of ways, these artists share an expanded approach to painting. Holding a line in your hand speaks to a resurgence of painting in Canada and an active dialogue around historical precedents and contemporary approaches.
Works in the exhibition by Azadeh Elmizadeh, Colleen Heslin, Russna Kaur, Lyse Lemieux, and Rajni Perera include large-scale dyed canvases and site-specific wall paintings, experimental works on fabric and rope, as well as painted objects. Many of the works integrate textiles as part of a conversation about their everyday use, formal possibilities, and historically gendered associations.
Other works interweave cultural tradition and storytelling, including the futurities of science fiction. The title of the exhibition – Holding a line in your hand – borrows a phrase from the way Lyse Lemieux has described her artistic process, which, for all the artists in the exhibition, implicates the body. Figures appear in much of the work, both through representation and abstraction, offering a bodily presence.
Steeped in centuries-old, academic traditions, painting has long been revered as the highest art form. As artists have pushed up against tradition over the past one hundred and fifty years, the objective of a painting, what comprises a new painting movement, and what is considered a masterpiece worthy of the canon has shifted dramatically. Painting in Canada today defies singular definition and can be understood through expanded practices that contribute to a broader dialogue about art.
Artists working in this medium acknowledge and push against painting’s history, integrate personal narrative, cultural tradition, and formal convention, along with experimental strategies. Through Holding a line in your hand, these five leading women artists convey a diverse view of painting today while sharing the expansive possibilities of this long-venerated medium.