Thursday, March 4, 2010

Disappointing Decisions: Francoise Sullivan @ the AGO

The AGO has some interesting projects going on right now (like the Wangechi Mutu show, for which I did an associated National Post interview last week) but their Francoise Sullivan exhibition is a disappointment. As I explain in today's NOW,

Montreal artist Fran├žoise Sullivan has had an influential career, producing important work in dance, sculpture, photography and painting since the 1940s.

Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know that from viewing Inner Force, billed by the AGO as “an exhibition celebrating the career of pioneering Canadian artist Fran├žoise Sullivan.” This disappointingly small outing contains only five abstract paintings (all post-2000) and documentation of just one 1948 outdoor experimental dance piece.

Granted, the paintings are massive, and it’d be a challenge to squeeze any more work into the smallish room. But it’s clear that space itself is only part of the problem. None of the similarly sized rooms on the fourth floor (which feature Christian Marclay and Michael Snow) are billed as individual “exhibitions.” And there’s good reason for that – they’re simply not equal to the task, particularly for artists whose work is large or career long and varied.

You can

Documentation image of Sullivan's 1948 dance piece Danse dans la Neige from NOW Toronto


Unknown said...

Agreed-- I haven't thought much of those rooms in general, but the idea that one of them contains an entire museum exhibition is a bit rich.

Leah Sandals said...

Hey Nick --

Yeah, I've gotten some emails from people who think I'm dissing Sullivan rather than the treatment the AGO gave her. I'll take responsibility for not making that clear enough in my review, but I'm glad it's clear here.


Anonymous said...

I was just at the AGO a few days ago and my eye was particularly caught by Sullivan's paintings. Any idea where I can see more of them on the web? A search yielded articles -- like yours -- but little in the way of imagery.

Thanks for any help you can offer.


Leah Sandals said...

Hi Rob,

Glad to hear the paintings caught you.

Unfortunately, I don't know where you can find them on the web.

Maybe the Women's Art Resource Centre could help you out?

Or the AGO?

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Leah,

Thanks for the link. I also just found her at ...
You can find her in the list of artists, and there's lots of images in various views.

I love her style of painting.