Curator: Dr. Hilary Letwin, Curatorial Assistant
Beyond the Horizon is a unique exhibition showcasing selected landscapes from the Richmond Art Gallery’s Collection and a series of new works developed in response by students from the Richmond Art Gallery’s Youth Mentorship Program.
Works from the collection, including those by Irene Hoffar Reid, William P. Weston, Alan Wood, Toni Onley, Susan Gransby, Leslie Poole and Susan Point, demonstrate how various artists have grappled with the vast scale of the Canadian landscape. The dates of the exhibited collection works range from 1932 to 1994, and vary considerably in style and focus. Some set out to capture the immensity or emptiness of a view, while others focus instead on the toll humankind wages on the natural landscape. Through the selection of works, this exhibition seeks to highlight the ways in which landscapes have changed over the last century. Where once it was popular for the Group of Seven and its contemporaries to show Canada as an empty, wild terrain, it has become increasingly more important for artists to recognize the cost of recent human activity and to acknowledge that the country was far from uninhabited at the time of colonization. It is especially timely on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary to recognize that any perceived emptiness results from the convenient omission of earlier inhabitants.
In dialogue with the curated selection of collection works, a group of ten local secondary students; Marisse Cheung, Ayal Heinrichs, Anthea Kwong, Megan Lane, Lucy Li, Mickey Morgan, Angel Pan, Atheana Picha, Lily Wang and Mandy Xu present new works developed through an eight month youth mentorship program facilitated by RAG School Programs Coordinator Melanie Devoy.
Over the course of this period, the students participated in artist-led workshops with Diyan Achjadi, Keith Langergraber and Tsēma Igharas, researched the collection, and contributed to the creation of the exhibition. The collection works may afford a view of the past, but the works of the students illuminate our path looking forward. Many of the students’ works address environmental concerns such as climate change and large-scale pollution, demonstrating their commitment to using their art to advocate for the protection of our natural landscapes.
We acknowledge the generous support of the BC Arts Council Youth Engagement Grant. The majority of the exhibited works from the collection were acquired through generous donations from artists and collectors. The Richmond Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the on-going support of the City of Richmond, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia.
Above: William Percy Weston, "Evening - Keremeos, B.C.", 1960, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 in. Photo: Lance Blomgren.
In this video, curator Dr. Hilary Letwin discusses the themes of the Beyond the Horizon exhibition and collection artworks, and each student artist describes their artwork and inspiration.