Ladies In The Lead

Runs to April 26

Kenderdine Gallery, U of S

Mélanie Rocan’s Souvenir Involontaire is the latest notable painting show in Saskatoon. It’s a season of good painting — although not in terms of local wallpaper that bastardizes Barnett Newman but happened “here,” so it must be “important.”

Regionalism, that pervasive (and perverting) Canadian trope, can’t help but impact our art-making.But if you make work in a site of intense self-criticality and rigorous debate, rather than self-congratulatory irrelevance, it can be a fostering, bracing environment.

Rocan is out of Montréal; Janet Werner (who’s currently showing at the College Art Gallery on campus) and Tammy Salzl (whose work I’m anticipating, soon to be at AKA Gallery) also have connections to that city. Looking ahead, this summer a historical exhibition of the Automatistes out of Québec (the only real painting school Canada has ever produced) will visit Saskatoon as well.

Let’s not forget gender, either: most female artists

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