The avant-garde, originally a French term, is the part of an army that goes forward ahead of the rest. In art, it characterizes work that is innovative, exploring new subjects or forms. In Canada, artists looking beyond traditional approaches to composition and typical representations of the land led the way into modernity.
This exhibition establishes the avant-garde in Canada as tied to the continuum of abstraction that characterizes early 20th century modern art: It introduces the various avant-garde approaches to art-making in two-dimensions that emerged as artists applied the language of shapes, lines and colours to represent immaterial qualities.
The Edge: The Abstract and The Avant-Garde in Canada brings together works by some of the most recognized artists in Canadian art history as well as examples from their contemporaries, drawn from the Art Gallery of Alberta’s collection. Featuring a selection of works in painting, drawing and print, it includes,among others
- works from vanguard modern artist collectives such as the Contemporary Arts Society in Montreal
- works by early pioneers in abstraction such as Fritz Brandtner, Bertram Brooker and Kathleen Munn
- ultimately, a selection from Canada’s most significant contribution to the international avant-garde, Paul Emile Borduas and Les Automatistes.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and Presented by Enbridge.