This exhibition is running October 29, 2011 to January 29, 2012 at the
Vancouver Art Gallery
The role of private collectors in the art world has always been essential to both artists and museums. Private collections are formed in a variety of ways, yet some achieve particular distinction for their depth, breadth and quality. The works assembled by Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa over the last two decades form one of the most important private holdings of work by First Nations and non-First Nations British Columbia artists. The Audains have created a collection that allows a particularly rich history of the art of British Columbia to be told.
Beginning with the powerful ceremonial objects of the First Nations peoples, Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection traces the important strands of artistic production in the province right up to the present day. The co-curators have selected some 170 works from the Audain’s personal collection, as well as past works they have donated for the Gallery’s permanent collection. It features their particularly strong collection of the work of British Columbia’s most distinguished painter, Emily Carr, while presenting work by other prominent Canadian Modernists, including Lawren Harris, Frederick Horsman Varley and B.C. Binning. Their holdings of historical west coast indigenous art are complemented by a significant group of contemporary First Nations works, a number of which have been newly commissioned by the Audains. The photo-based art of the region has also received their careful attention, and they have been generous donors of works by Jeff Wall and Scott McFarland to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Finally, the exhibition includes another major area of focus—Mexican Modernism—representing the most significant collection of this art in Canada, with works by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquieros and Rufino Tamayo. The works presented—the first extensive survey of the collection—provide an overview of its richness and strengths.
Michael Audain has said that “living with art has been one of the great joys of my life.” These works attest to the wide range of his interests and deep commitment to the province and its history. Although was not formed with the intent of showing it to others, the strengths of their collection make it one of the most distinctive in the country.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, senior curator-historical, and Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.