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Oh\, Canada features more than 100 works by 62 artis ts\, including more than a dozen major new commissions

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To assemble the exhibition Oh\, Canada (opening to the publ ic on Sunday\, May 27\, 2012\, at MASS MoCA in North Adams\, Massachusetts) curator Denise Markonish visited nearly every province and territory in Ca nada.  In her travels (comprising over 400 studio visits) Markonish discove red a fascinating world of art\, rich in craftsmanship with a deep interest in landscape and identity. Oh\, Canada showcases the vast expanse of art made in the country\, spanning all media and crossing generations a nd geography.  Acknowledging that this is one curator's view and by no mean s acomprehensive picture of Canadian art today\, Oh\, Canada focus es mostly on artists less recognized outside of Canada\, providing a fresh glimpse of a vibrant art scene that is too little known in the United State s.  "At a moment in the international art scene that is particularly attune d to the exotically remote and embracing of 'anti-aesthetics'\, this is a s how of art from close to the United States\, often beautifully made\," said Joseph Thompson\, director of MASS MoCA.   "Canada's proximity\, and share d North Americanism\, is a source of interesting friction.  It's so close a nd familiar\, yet we sometimes barely know it."

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New Works f or Oh\, Canada

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New commissions for Oh\, Canada i nclude an EP of songs by art-alternative folk rock band The Cedar Tavern Si ngers  AKA Les Phonorealistes\, such as Oh Canada\, Oh Canada\, wh ich is an absurdist romp through imagined genres of Canadian art like Neo-l umberjack Abstraction\, Relational Lacrosse\, and Beaver Dam Earthworks\; G isele Amantea's Democracy\, which adapts a Louis Sullivan design i n flocking down a 90'-long gallery\; Micah Lexier's A Coin in the Corne r\, in which a series of newly minted coins will be installed treasure hunt-style throughout the museum\; and Michel de Broin's Tortoise \, an outdoor installation constructed of oversized picnic tables.

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Other artists creating new works for the exhibition include: Daniel Barrow\ , Rebecca Belmore\, BGL\, Janice Wright Cheney\, Michael Fernandes\, Eryn F oster\, David R. Harper\, Terrence Houle\, Craig Leonard\, Divya Mehra\, Gr aeme Patterson\, Ed Pien\, and John Will.

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Trends in Canadia n Art: Identity and the Landscape

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Through her research Mar konish identified several trends prevalent in contemporary Canadian art som e of which include artists examining identity like First Nations artists Re becca Belmore\, Ruth Cuthand\, Wally Dion\, Terrence Houle\, Kent Monkman\, and Joseph Tisiga. Many of these artists address the history of Aboriginal peoples throughout Canada's history\, from early colonialism and land owne rship debates to the Indian Act\, which took away many rights\, including t he right to vote and participate in cultural practices. Other artists addre ssing identity are Mario Doucette\, who examines the Acadian history of the Maritime Provinces\, and Annie Pootoogook and Shuvinai Ashoona who depict lnuit life in Nunavut.

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Close looking at the landscape is a trend al so evident in Oh\, Canada. Artists like Amalie Atkins\, David Hoff os\, and Graeme Patterson examine surreal/uncanny elements in this landscap e\, whereas Ned Pratt\, Kim Morgan\, and Rita McKeough explore memory and p olitics. Morgan and Pratt probe the coastal landscape: Morgan's cast latex lighthouse becomes a memorial to a time long gone\, while Pratt emphasizes where the man-made meets nature. Rita McKeough's Alternator addres ses the controversy over the oil sands in northern Alberta.

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Another key element of the Canadian landscape is the North\, as exemplified in Cha rles Stankievech's LOVELAND. This work comments on the militarizat ion of the landscape by Cold War paranoia and the North American Air Defens e (NORAD) Defense Early Warning (or DEW Line)\, installed in the late 1950s as a defense against Russian invasion.

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Conceptualism

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Canada has a long history of conceptual art pract ices\, from early collectives like the Vancouver-based N.E. Thing Co and To ronto's General Idea\, to the visiting artist and printmaking programs at t he Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) that brought well-known co nceptualists like John Baldessari and Sol LeWitt to Halifax. Senior artists Garry Neill Kennedy (who was once president of NSCAD) and Michael Snow con tinue to explore the conceptual - Kennedy\, in his installation Spotted which addresses CIA planes used to transport suspected terrorists\, a nd Snow in his video Solar Breath [Northern Caryatids] which conte mplates subtle natural phenomena through the framing device of the camera. Other conceptual-based practices include those of Craig Leonard\, Eryn Fost er\, Michael Fernandes\, Hans Wendt\, and Eric Cameron.

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A R eturn to Craft and Making

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In Canada there has been a nota ble return to the emphasis on craft materials and labor-intensive technique s like felt\, ceramics\, paper-cutting\, and embroidery. A new generation o f artists has emerged who borrow from these media and processes\, using the m to create contemporary works that speak to varied ideas such as beauty\, the grotesque\, history\, and materiality. This group includes: Luanne Mart ineau who works with handmade felt\; Ed Pien whose use of intricately cut p aper was inspired by a 2004 trip to China\; Shary Boyle who extends the the mes of craft and the body\; Clint Neufeld who uses traditional craft to exp lore gender\; and Janice Wright Cheney and David R. Harper who both employ taxidermy as their launching point.

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Everyday Objects

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References to the vernacular are frequent in the exhibition: Kim Adams' materials come from hardware stores\, dollar stores\, and even car dealerships. Valerie Blass and Diane Landry transform the mundane into the magical\, using materials like artificial hair on mannequins (Blass) and wa ter bottles filled with sand (Landry). Both Nicolas Baier and Kristan Horto n use photography to explore the commonplace\, creating portraits of the ar tists through studio objects.

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The trends listed here are just a few of the sub-themes present in Oh\, Canada. Other artists in the ex hibition include Patrick Bernatchez\, Bill Burns\, Douglas Coupland\, Davea ndJenn\, Marcel Dzama\, Brendan Fernandes\, Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob\, Ha dley+Maxwell\, Allison Hrabluik\, Sarah Anne Johnson\, Wanda Koop\, Myfanwy MacLeod\, Kelly Mark\, Chris Millar\, Andrea Mortson\, Janet Werner\, Mitc hell Wiebe\, and Etienne Zack.

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DTEND:20130408 DTSTAMP:20140923T154415 DTSTART:20120527 GEO:42.7018108;-73.1146681 LOCATION:Mass MOCA\,87 Marshall Street \nNorth Adams\, Massachusetts SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Oh\, Canada\, Kim Adams\, Gisele Amantea\, Shuvinai Ashoona\, Amali e Atkins\, Nicolas Baier\, Dean Baldwin\, Daniel Barrow\, Rebecca Belmore\, Patrick Bernatchez\, BGL\, Valérie Blass\, Shary Boyle\, Bill Burns\, Eric Cameron\, Janice Wright Cheney\, Douglas Coupland\, Ruth Cuthand\, Michel de Broin\, Wally Dion\, Mario Doucette\, Marcel Dzama\, Brendan Fernandes\, Michael Fernandes\, Eryn Foster\, David R. Harper\, David Hoffos\, Kristan Horton\, Terrence Houle\, Allison Hrabluik\, Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob\, Dave and Jenn\, Sarah Anne Johnson\, Garry Neill Kennedy\, Wanda Koop\, Dia ne Landry\, Craig Leonard\, Micah Lexier\, Myfanwy MacLeod\, Kelly Mark\, L uanne Martineau\, Hadley + Maxwell\, Rita McKeough\, Divya Mehra\, Chris Mi llar\, Kent Monkman\, Kim Morgan\, Andrea Mortson\, Clint Neufeld\, Graeme Patterson\, Ed Pien\, Annie Pootoogook\, Ned Pratt\, Cedar Tavern Singers A KA Les Phonorealistes\, Michael Snow\, Charles Stankievech\, Joseph Tisiga\ , Hans Wendt\, Janet Werner\, Mitchel Wiebe\, John Will\, Étienne Zack UID:210194 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120527T170000 DTSTAMP:20140923T154415 DTSTART:20120527T110000 GEO:42.7018108;-73.1146681 LOCATION:Mass MOCA\,87 Marshall Street \nNorth Adams\, Massachusetts SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Oh\, Canada\, Kim Adams\, Gisele Amantea\, Shuvinai Ashoona\, Amali e Atkins\, Nicolas Baier\, Dean Baldwin\, Daniel Barrow\, Rebecca Belmore\, Patrick Bernatchez\, BGL\, Valérie Blass\, Shary Boyle\, Bill Burns\, Eric Cameron\, Janice Wright Cheney\, Douglas Coupland\, Ruth Cuthand\, Michel de Broin\, Wally Dion\, Mario Doucette\, Marcel Dzama\, Brendan Fernandes\, Michael Fernandes\, Eryn Foster\, David R. Harper\, David Hoffos\, Kristan Horton\, Terrence Houle\, Allison Hrabluik\, Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob\, Dave and Jenn\, Sarah Anne Johnson\, Garry Neill Kennedy\, Wanda Koop\, Dia ne Landry\, Craig Leonard\, Micah Lexier\, Myfanwy MacLeod\, Kelly Mark\, L uanne Martineau\, Hadley + Maxwell\, Rita McKeough\, Divya Mehra\, Chris Mi llar\, Kent Monkman\, Kim Morgan\, Andrea Mortson\, Clint Neufeld\, Graeme Patterson\, Ed Pien\, Annie Pootoogook\, Ned Pratt\, Cedar Tavern Singers A KA Les Phonorealistes\, Michael Snow\, Charles Stankievech\, Joseph Tisiga\ , Hans Wendt\, Janet Werner\, Mitchel Wiebe\, John Will\, Étienne Zack UID:210195 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR