Mallarmé, the Group of Seven and Contemporary Art: Marc Mayer in Conversation with Ian Wallace

Photo: Krisdy Shindler for Ian Wallace Studio

British-born Ian Wallace is one of Canada’s most respected artists. During a career that has spanned more than forty years, he has combined photography and painting in works that raise interesting questions in relation to aesthetics, social issues, and art practice.

As a teacher at the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design), Wallace stressed the importance of art history and its influence on contemporary art movements. In courses that examined the common history of various media from painting to film, he also had a lasting impact on a new generation of artists — including Stan Douglas, Jeff Wall, Vikky Alexander and Ken Lum — often referred to as the Vancouver School.

In 2016, Wallace donated his dazzling 2010 series, Abstract Paintings I–XII (The Financial District) to the National Gallery of Canada — one of the Gallery’s biggest donations of contemporary work by an artist. The works, on view at the Gallery until April 17, 2016, are large-scale chromogenic prints with acrylic overpainting, capturing Toronto’s financial district during a time of global economic meltdown.

In this podcast, recorded earlier this year, Wallace and National Gallery of Canada Director Marc Mayer explore a broad range of issues and ideas. From concepts such as problem-solving and play in contemporary art practice, to the “useful life” of works of art, to the influence of teaching methods and earlier art movements on innovation, this wide-ranging conversation offers plenty of food for thought on art today.

Ian Wallace's Abstract Paintings I–XII (The Financial District) series is on view at the NGC in contemporary gallery B204 until April 17, 2016.


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