Permanent Collection Exhibition
Pamela Burrill: Motion & Gesture
July 21 - August 22, 2020
Curated by Nicholas Markowski
The Mann Art Gallery (MAG) is fortunate to hold a diverse wealth of art in its Permanent Collection. Since 1993, artworks have been donated by artists and art supporters or chosen for purchase by the Director/Curator and, at one time, a Collections Committee. The Collection has grown to include more than 3,500 pieces; the majority of which were acquired in the past ten years. Since 2010, the unique and generous patronage of Diane & Roger Mann has ensured that the Gallery retains a healthy art acquisitions budget. Now, a range of historical and contemporary pieces by artists of local, regional, provincial, and national note is maintained to foster knowledge of history, preserve assets of our visual culture, and provide opportunities for education, enlightenment, and entertainment.
The MAG is delighted to present a selection of works by Pamela Burrill from the Permanent Collection. With this exhibition, we hope to open a dialogue between the works of Burrill and those included in the current Migration and Transformation exhibition in the Main Gallery. In particular, this show attempts to draw attention to how movement and mobility manifest in Burrill’s oeuvre. In works such as River Turmoil and Cloud Movements, mobility manifests in both the content of these images and the means of their representation. Burrill pushes these scenes towards abstraction, thereby emphasizing the inability of the static pictorial plane to capture a subject in motion. Some artworks, such as Untitled (Blue with red flag), grapple with movement by themselves, functioning as records of the artist’s brush across the canvas through an especially painterly technique. Here, the expressive, visible brushwork of the painting gestures towards motion itself; it is movement captured in colour, a flick of the wrist immortalized in paint. This exhibition is possible thanks to a generous donation by Burrill’s family after her passing in 2002. Lou Doderai donated the forty-fifth Burrill artwork to the gallery, adding to our collection of her works. A great thanks is also due to the MAG’s registrar, Tia Furstenberg, who installed and lit the exhibition.
Pamela Burrill (b. 1931, d. 2001) was a prolific artist, and the MAG is pleased to hold 45 of her artworks in the Permanent Collection. Born in Paris and raised in Britain, Burrill studied geography at London University before immigrating to Canada in 1955. There she would meet her husband, a geologist, with whom she would go on to live in a number of lands—North Africa, Ireland, Australia—over the course of the 1960s and 70s, before taking up residence in Saskatchewan for the rest of her life. She completed a BFA at the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, followed by an MFA, and had exhibitions held at the MAG in 1996 and 2003. Though she never lived in Prince Albert, she did attend George Glenn’s painting workshop at Emma Lake in 1986 and was well known amongst Prince Albert artists.
- Nicholas Markowski