Indepth Arts News: |
"The Other Eden: Canadian Folk Art Outdoors"
2001-03-31 until 2001-06-10
The Egyptians did it, the Romans did it, and I bet many of you do it
too. I'm talking about decorating your garden with special
hand-crafted things, of course. By adding personal touches, you
make that green space your own unique Eden. Do you choose
the quaint country look, or the classical. Are you like the Romans,
adding a slightly erotic Venus Corner for lovers. Or do you
recycle things for the fun of it - and hope others smile at your
quirky creations. You can see all of these styles of outdoor garden
art, and more, in this light-hearted display of some of the best of the
folk art collections from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Guest Curator Phil Tilney selected
almost 150 pieces to represent what
he calls the flowering of Canadian
outdoor folk art, spanning 1960-1990.
Collected from across Canada, coastal
images of fish and boats mingle with
western cowboys. The wonderful and
wacky things are placed, as their
creators intended, in open air
(simulated) settings. The exhibit
designers have adopted the folk
artists' sense of humour, for instance
placing lively birds and a big-eyed
deer next to an unwary hunter. Tilney
shows how creative people
personalized their outdoor spaces,
from the public front yard, to the
private garden, and even the country barnyard and nearby
woodlot. He follows the rural roots of this folk art to the urban
setting, and laments its demise in the 1990s when store-bought
'faux' folk art took over.
Itís like walking into another world when you enter the
exhibit - a world that is forever green and blooming with
flowers and fanciful creations made by Canadians. Amidst
the sounds of birds, trickling water, and happy children
you will be surprised and delighted by the creativity of
ordinary people. From comical chickens and elegant
windvanes in the barnyard, to whimsical flamingos and
penguins in the front yard, to playful cowpokes and cats
on the front porch, to slightly naughty sculptures in the
backyard, to fanciful people and animals around the pond,
to mocking likenesses of famous politicians, to colourful
birdhouses and incredibly complex whirligigs, you will be
amazed at the talent of ordinary Canadian folks.
Their creations reflect nostalgic memories of the past,
unfulfilled dreams, pride and joy in hobbies and work, and
much more. Playful, witty, colourful, eccentric - the
outdoor folk art will catch your eye, bring a smile to your
face, and maybe even convince you to try it yourself.
Whirligig, Bull Chasing the Man, or the Man Chasing the Bull
Gilbert Plains, Manitoba.
Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization