Through the Memory Atlas: 40 Years of Collecting
July 14 to September 15, 2018
Central Gallery
In celebration of the Kamloops Art Gallery’s 40th anniversary, Through the Memory Atlas: 40 Years of Collecting, gathers together the most comprehensive selection of works from its permanent collection in one exhibition to date. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to bring a large and diverse group of works, in various media, out from storage and into public view. The exhibition title and curatorial framework pay homage to the German art historian and cultural theorist Aby Warburg, who founded a private library for Cultural Studies that organized and classified the legacy of Western culture in an experimental, non-logical and non-conventional manner. His project has worked to inspire and inform many contemporary artists today. Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas constituted cosmographic and art historical images arranged non-chronologically to reveal the ways in which subjective and objective forces shape our understanding of Western culture. His juxtaposition of “information constellations” attempted to make sense of the overwhelming process of historical change, creating what he called “thought space” (Denkraum), rather than a definitive archive.

The strength of an art gallery’s permanent collection is its ability to capture and tell the story of the institution; in this case, forty years of exhibitions, forty years of relationships with artists, collectors and other galleries, and foremost, a consistent connection to the ever-changing dialogues in contemporary art. The Kamloops Art Gallery’s collection reflects a maturing institution, at first steeped in the local and representing its regional art communities, and over the years, coming to house works by significant historical artists such as members of the Group of Seven and renowned contemporary Canadian artists who have made an impact on visual art in Canada over the past many decades. Curatorial contributions tell the story of the Gallery’s evolution.

This exhibition reflects the viewpoint of the fulltime and interim curators who have shaped the Gallery’s exhibition history over the past forty years and thereby, its permanent collection. Representing approximately ten percent of the over 3,000 works in the collection, this non-chronological constellation of works endeavors to show the diversity of holdings that are now cared for in perpetuity by the Gallery.

Thematic selections include work by artists from the region, significant highlights from the mobile storage racks and the Gallery’s extensive works on paper, representing a “thought space” of collected artwork that traverses personal and institutional memory.
Curated by Roger Boulet, Jen Budney, Susan Edelstein, Adrienne Fast, Andrew Hunter, Charo Neville, Jordan Strom and Tania Willard
Generously sponsored by Funk Signs Inc., the Audain Foundation, Rojeanne and Jim Allworth, and Jane Irwin and Ross Hill
View images of the exhibition here.

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