Canadian artist, Shary Boyle of Toronto has been named as Canada’s chosen representative to the prestigious 55th International Art exhibition at the Venice Biennale for 2013. Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada made a surprise announcement tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art Toronto (MOCCA).
Mayer spoke on behalf of the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts who are again working in partnership to organize the Canadian representation at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official national representation, the Biennale is among the most important contemporary exhibitions in the world and will showcase official entries from over 80 countries. The Canada Pavilion is situated in the heart of the historic exhibition grounds and has presented the work of some of Canada's most accomplished artists on the world stage for over 60 years.
The artist was chosen by a national selection committee earlier this month under the organizational oversight of the National Gallery of Canada. Committee members included Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant, Toronto; Timothy Long, Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Josée Drouin-Brisebois and Marc Mayer of the National Gallery of Canada.
Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada, will be the curator for the Canadian project, working in close collaboration with the artist.
Shary Boyle is known for her bold, fantastical explorations of imaginary narratives featuring a cast of marginal characters. By giving voice to these alienated figures she redeems their emotional states of pain, grief and anger with defiant grace. Employing a high level of hand-made craft and detail her multi-disciplinary practice mines the history of porcelain figurines, animist mythologies and arcane techniques to create a symbolic language uniquely her own.
Fueled by her concerns about class and gender injustice, Boyle transgresses traditional boundaries between human and animal, animate and inanimate, life and death, young and old, male and female. The artist embraces the realm between the tangible and intangible - the soul and what is timeless, essential. From sculpture to projection she translates her personal vision of sexuality, relationships and human vulnerability through a poetic and humane lens.
According to the Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, Marc Mayer: "One of Canada’s most innovative mid-career artists, Shary Boyle’s practice spans a diversity of media, including fine craft, drawing and experimental performance often in collaboration with established musicians. A consummate object maker, her finely honed skills are disquietingly wed to a beguilingly poetic tone and a thoroughly contemporary sensibility."
The official Canadian participation at the Biennale’s 55th International Art Exhibition will be made possible by the generous financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, a long-standing champion and partner of Canada’s representation at Venice, and of private philanthropists from across Canada and beyond.
About the artist
Born in Scarborough, Ontario in 1972, Shary Boyle graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1994. She has had solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, most recently Flesh and Blood at UQAM, Montreal, Quebec which traveled to Art Gallery of Ontario and Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2011); Canadian Artist at the BMO Project Room, Toronto (2012); The Illuminations Project with Emily Duke at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2011); Moon Hunter at Fumetto Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland (2009) and The History of Light at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2008). Boyle also participated in L’Espace des métamorphoses, Biennale internationale de Vallauris, France (2012); Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé le fantôme in conjunction with Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Noise Ghost (Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto (2009); My Winnipeg, La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris (2011) which traveled to Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sete, France and Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2012). Shary Boyle has performed at the Olympia Theatre, Paris (2005), The Sonar Festival, Barcelona (2005), The Hammer Museum, LA (2006, 2008), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2008), La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011) and presented a new theatre work Everything under The Moon with musical collaborator Christine Fellows at the Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto in February 2012. Shary Boyle was a finalist for the Sobey Award (2007, 2009), the recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2009) and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award in 2010.
About the Curator
Josée Drouin-Brisebois is the Curator of Contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada. She organized the Canadian participation in la Biennale di Venezia, 2011, Steven Shearer: Exhume to Consume. She also curated numerous important exhibitions including Arnaud Maggs: Identification (2012); It Is What It Is. Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art (2010-11); Nomads (2009); Caught in the Act: the Viewer as Performer (2008); De-con-structions (2007) and Christopher Pratt (2005). She has also co-curated Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque with Catherine Crowston and Jonathan Shaughnessy, Art Gallery of Alberta (2012); Spectral Landscape (2012) and The Shape of Things (2012) with David Liss, Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MOCCA).
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information, visit gallery.ca.
— 30 —
Media inquiries: For more information, images or interviews, please contact:
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada