WAG’s Defying Convention Celebrates Canadian Women Artists

Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 26, 2018: Long before contemporary gender equality initiatives, women were testing social and cultural barriers on many different fronts, including the world of art. Discover how they challenged artistic traditions and resisted constraints on women’s roles in Defying Convention: Women Artists in Canada, 1900-1960. On view from May 5 to September 3, the exhibition features work by more than 30 groundbreaking artists of the Modernist period in Canada.

It was a time of experimentation and innovation, of breaking from 19th-century art world practices. The artists in Defying Convention embraced the excitement of a radical movement in artmaking that offered new ways of evoking immediacy and emotion. In their own time, these women received widespread acclaim, yet most are not well recognized today by the public at large. Defying Convention addresses this deficit in the historical perception of women’s value as artists.

Quick Facts:
• Curated by Paula Kelly and Dr. Stephen Borys, Defying Convention is drawn entirely from the WAG collection.
• The exhibition highlights the lives and experiences of women across Canada: from Nunavut to the Prairies, and from British Columbia to Eastern Canada.
• The artists seized the Modernist potential for intuitively expressing contemporary life around them and the people who inhabited their worlds.
• By asserting their identities as artists, they also resisted the social prescription that a woman's sphere was primarily the home.
• They occupied multiple roles as artists and activists, mothers and mentors, wives and lovers, teachers and community builders.
• The six Inuit women artists in this exhibition set aside cultural traditions to become stone carvers, so they could help support their families.
• The exhibition features more than 45 works and invites dialogue about gender representation in the WAG’s upcoming Summer with the Impressionists, which features the art of just three women Impressionists.
• The WAG is Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and is home to over 27,000 artworks spanning centuries, media, and cultures, including the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth.

• June 17, 23 (French), 24, 30 • 2pm • Weekend guided drop-in tour of Defying Convention and Summer with the Impressionists. See wag.ca for more dates. Free with gallery admission.
• July 6 • 7pm • Guided tour of Defying Convention with co-curator Paula Kelly.
• July 18 • 12pm • Art for Lunch tour of Defying Convention with co-curator Paula Kelly.

Defying Convention highlights diverse and innovative artwork from across Canada that will guide visitors on an incredible journey this summer. It was a pleasure to work with Paula Kelly and her excellent research brings valuable details that will enrich the experience immensely. 
--Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director and CEO, and Defying Convention co-curator

The more we appreciate what these women accomplished in their artistic lives by challenging the limits of gendered expectations, the more we can see their relevance for today’s evolving discourse about the recognition of women’s achievements and aspirations.
--Paula Kelly, Defying Convention co-curator

Winnipeg Art Gallery

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Catherine Maksymiuk
Manager, Media & Marketing
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Tammy Sawatzky
Public Relations Coordinator
Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Breaking ground in 2018, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca




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