Meet the Canadian artists in this all-female art exhibition by London's Saatchi Gallery
Mia Feuer and Julia Dault rep for Canada at Saatchi Gallery's first all women art show
The art inside doesn't strive to explore feminist issues, but this exhibition definitely makes a point.
Most ever paid for a living female artist's work at auction: $7.1-million
Most paid for a living artist's work at auction: $58.4-million - Source: ArtNews
It marks a sort of birthday party for the influential gallery, the contemporary art museum that was instrumental in launching the Young British Artists movement, and the career of Damien Hirst. But in Saatchi's 30 years, they've never presented a group show entirely featuring women. This is their first, and while the concept itself is hardly without precedent — it's not even the only show of its kind happening this winter — Champagne Life is a high-profile reminder of just how unbalanced the art world can be when it comes to representation.
There are a lot of white cubes out there with glass ceilings, and this summer, the magazine ArtNews crunched the numbers. They provided stats about galleries (only 3 of 10 artists represented by galleries are women) and the world's top museums (less than 30 per cent of exhibitions are devoted to female artists). Need further evidence of the wage gap? $7.1-million is the most ever paid for a living female artist's work at auction. Compare that to the $58.4-million sale of a Jeff Koons sculpture, the most paid at auction for a living artist's work, full stop.
Champagne Life, huh? And you were wondering whether that title was ironic.
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Per a gallery press release, the exhibition will "reflect on what it means to be a female artist working today" as it "celebrates their contribution to the ongoing development of art." Among the participating talent are two Canadians: Julia Dault and Mia Feuer. Here's a little about the work that will be on display at Saatchi.
Her work: A multi-disciplinary artist, Dault's work can be found in the permanent collections of Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario and New York's Guggenheim Museum. For the Saatchi exhibition, two of her sculptures will be on display. Using shiny heavy sheets of Plexiglas, Dault rolls and binds the industrial stuff into shapes that shouldn't possibly remain rolled and bound. Every item looks ready to burst from the wall.
Per Saatchi's website, the forms themselves are a reminder of the toil involved in art's creation: "Dault's sculptures insist on the hand, indeed the body, of the artist herself. Each is assembled individually and literally bent to the artist's will — signs of the struggle are evident and in the marks and scratches on the material's surface."
Her work: Though she lives and works in the States, where she's currently an associate professor at the California College of the Arts, the Canadian environment has at times been a major influence on Feuer. Her 2013 museum show, An Unkindness, explored how the oil-and-gas industry has transformed the landscape of northern Alberta, and was inspired by her visits to restricted reclamation sites in the Athabasca oilsands. That said, we're pretty sure there's not a single hockey rink in all of Fort Mac that looks like this one — a fully functional, bitumen-black skating rink that was part of the installation.
Big oil is a big topic for the artist. "I started to ask myself questions about my practice, especially in terms of my own dependency on petroleum derivatives and products in my studio," she told CBC's Strombo.com in 2014. "I have had a dangerous material-love affair with Styrofoam for years!" And to research our dependence on the stuff, Feuer's travelled the world, including the West Bank. That's where she observed a traffic-law loophole that inspired the sculpture Jerusalem Donkey, which will be part of Saatchi's Champagne Life exhibition. Because they were barred from driving through certain roadblocks, Feuer noticed that Palestinians would use donkeys instead. The piece, a recreation of an older sculpture, is an homage to their beasts of burden.
Champagne Life. Jan 13-March 6 at Saatchi Gallery. London. www.saatchigallery.com
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