Land Echoes | Sylvia Whitton & Diane Pugen

August 28 – September 15, 2019

Land Echoes is an exhibition of works by Toronto-based artists Sylvia Whitton and Diane Pugen that reflect an engagement with the land.

The Land Dresses express a lifetime of sensations of the natural world, impressed on the body through the five senses, imprinted on emotions through circumstance. The embodiment of these sensations are woven into my understanding of what it means to be a human, a person, a woman. The dress, skirt/bodice, is not an uncommon representation of woman – even a small circle atop a triangle (the simplest dress!) helps us to find the correct restroom in a public space for example.  To me, dress is Monument, a site marker of multifarious female experience.  SJ Whitton

Following graduation from OCA, Whitton’s  thirteen years as professional scenic artist for the Canadian Opera Company contributed to her extensive knowledge of mixed media applications, and led to private and public mural commissions. Her work has been exhibited in Seoul, South Korea, and in China at the Guan Shanyue Art Museum, Shenzhen; and at the Museum of Fine Art, Kaiping.  Whitton was an invited lecturer at the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) in 2013.

Sylvia Whitton, AOCA, is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University, teaching drawing and painting specializing in figuration, colour and alternative media. sjwhitton.com

Land Echoes
Diane Pugen Artist Statement:

Where ever I travel, the land I am in,
                                                              speaks to me.
I sense echoes of events, experiences, desires and past longings.
The earth is alive! Sentient and inscribed …since the beginning

There is an anima I feel at each stop or sojourn…..
                         And I am compelled to record these echoes ,…..
                                  …. sounds and surfaces ; lights and darks; winds, waters and air movements;
 with marks, with words and using the audio technology to make manifest the sounds of the site ambient for all 

Diane Pugen is a Toronto based artist, curator, activist, and educator, whose works in drawing, printmaking, and installation, examine through a socio-political lens, her own and society’s relationships to each other and to the lands they inhabit. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Students’ League of New York, Pugen is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Art, at the OCAD University in Toronto.  

Recent exhibitions include 2012 Toronto /Berlin: 1982–2012, Zweigstelle Gallery, Berlin Germany, 2010 the Visual Art Centre at Clarington, Diane Pugen, Drawings and installationsOfrenda Flora at El Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, and the XXX Festival Internacional Cervantino, Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez, El Nigromante, San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, and site specific installations for Migraciones, in Calbuco and Santiago, Chile, and The Chile Exchange in Toronto and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario Canada. 

Pugen has received Canada Council, and Ontario Arts Council Awards for her art, and in recognition of her participation on many non-profit Boards of Directors, i.e. The Toronto Arts Council, CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation / Le Front des Artistes Canadiens), Women’s Art Resource Centre’s National Advisory Council, The Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts and The Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Pugen was awarded The City of Toronto’s Medal of Honour for contribution to the Arts

Since 1979, when she curated  the Inaugural Exhibition, A National Survey of Contemporary Women Artists for the Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre, in Toronto, Pugen has continued to develop exhibitions for the non-profit and artist-run centers, i.e. The  A.C.T Invitational Print Exhibition, ACT Gallery Toronto, Mohawk College Art Gallery, Our Home and Native Land – Our Home: Native Land, Workscene Gallery, Okanata co-curated with Robert Houle, Tom Hill and David General, Workscene, and A Space Gallery In Toronto. Drawing the Futures Close – exploring diverse cultural perspectives as a forum for the Minquan Panchiat at Workscene Gallery, Toronto. Pugen has also curated national touring exhibitions for the public gallery system: Bonnie Devine: Stories from the Shield,Hokusai Revisited the work of Nobuo Kubota and Word Magic: The Work of Dennis Burton for Christopher Cutts Gallery.

Pugen was recently profiled as one of the artists in a new publication “At Home Talks with Canadian Artists about Place and Practice by Lezli Rubin -Kunda.

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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