Beaverbrook Art Gallery celebrates Mount Allison and its artists

·2 min read
The new permanent exhibit will feature a rotating display of works from artists connected to Mount Allison. (Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery - image credit)
The new permanent exhibit will feature a rotating display of works from artists connected to Mount Allison. (Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery - image credit)

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is highlighting the work of artists connected to the province's premier fine arts program.

The gallery has opened a permanent exhibition highlighting the work of former students and instructors from Mount Allison's fine arts program.

The university in Sackville has had some form of fine arts program since 1854.

Artists associated with Mount A include Canadian luminaries like Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, Christopher Pratt and Tom Forrestall.

Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery
Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery

John Leroux, the gallery's manager of collections and exhibitions, said the Beaverbook's Atlantic Gallery has often showcased the work of artists connected with Mount Allison, but it's also important to showcase just how important the university is to the New Brunswick art scene.

"It tells an important story and the works are great," said Leroux.

"It's this wonderful little shrine to one of Canada's most important artistic centres, and we are just really privileged to be part of it."

New acquisition 

The new exhibit includes a new acquisition by the gallery of a painting Leroux calls one of Canada's most important postwar paintings.

Supper Table was painted by Fredericton-born Mary Pratt in 1969.

The painting shows a typical scene of a supper table, post meal, with dishes, condiment bottles and leftovers.

Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery
Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery

While the painting's subject matter may be mundane, the lighting and vivid colours bring the piece to life.

The painting was made from a slide of the scene, which was taken by Pratt's partner Christopher Pratt.

"It is actually the first painting she did where she started working from a slide," said Leroux.

"She was able to get that instantaneous moment of light passing through materials."

Hidden gems

The exhibit also includes lesser-known pieces by famous artists.

Leroux points to a painting of flowers by Christian McKiel that "no one has really ever seen before."

There are also works that will make art lovers question what they think they know about famous artists, such as the sculptures by Tom Forrestall, who is known for his realistic paintings.

"In the late 1960s, he did a series of welded steel and aluminum sculptures, which are very abstract, of crowds and scenes," said Leroux.

"It's a part of Tom Forestell which is almost an antithesis of the work that he's known for."

Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery
Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The exhibition isn't the only project the art gallery has in mind to celebrate Mount Allison's fine arts program.

Leroux said the gallery is working on an art book and travelling exhibition to show off the work of artists associated with the university.

"We're working on that just in the very, very initial stages," said Leroux.

"[It's] celebrating a really important New Brunswick visual arts story that's been going on for 150 years."

Lerouix said the gallery is aiming for 2025 or 2026 for the book and travelling exhibit.

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