Storylines—The Long and the Short of it // Works from the Permanent Collection

September 2, 2017 to March 11, 2018

Curated by Jennifer Bullock and Linda Perez

Stand before an artwork: observe and engage in a search for meaning. An unspoken conversation follows, revealing as much about the viewer as it does about the artist.

Storylines—The Long and the Short of It offers the stuff of dreams and lore through selected artworks from the Permanent Collection. Whether inspired by fact or fiction, stories unite us through shared experiences: amazement at a tall tale, laughter at a good joke, sorrow at a tragic downfall, camaraderie in a hero’s daring.

There are countless means and reasons to share stories. Elizabeth LePage’s Monday Morning is dreamlike in its surreal, non-linear layering of characters and multiple happenings that reveal a whole story all at once. Presenting more questions than it answers, LePage’s painting inspired our search through the Collection for the varied ways of telling and retelling stories.

Myths and folklore are a way of expressing identity: a means of staking claim to one’s cultural heritage. Favourite stories told repeatedly through generationsInuit stories of flesh eating monsters, an American classic of boyhood misadventures, or an African tale about how leopards got their spotsbecome links of shared understanding and knowledge.

A tale need not be grand. The men in Mihai Vintilla’s The Beer Shop seem to have gathered to share the ordinary events of their day. Other works in the exhibition show daily life and, through detail and bright colours, celebrate the beauty in small moments.

The artists in this exhibition have lent their distinct visual voices to the interpretation of events large and small, fantastic and mundane. Each offers a unique lens to present new views, offering inspiration for others to do the same. The telling embodies a human desire to be heard and understood.

Elizabeth LePage (Canadian), Monday Morning, 1991, Oil on canvas, 177cm x 249.7cm. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Collection. Gift of Karl Wahl, 1994. © Elizabeth LePage. Photo: Robert MacNair.