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Indepth Arts News:

"Trevor Gould: Posing for the Public"
2001-04-01 until 2001-05-20
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Hamilton, ON, CA Canada

The exhibition brings together artifacts and archival material from the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, and artist Trevor Gould's own work. Gould challenges the traditional interpretations of nature by appropriating exhibition techniques - such as diorama, taxidermy, theatrical presentation and archival documents - and offering a reconsideration of past and present relationships of man with nature.

The next time you enter a natural history museum, after experiencing Gould's work, you may view it with a different perspective, a critical eye perhaps and an acute understanding of the extent of post-colonialist attitudes in these spaces, says AGH Senior Curator Shirley Madill. Gould is indeed one of the most significant international artists today addressing the complexities of issues surrounding cultural representation.

Gould's work includes watercolours, installations, and life-size sculptures. As in a natural history museum, the organization of the space is carefully considered; for example, lighting, wall colour, architecture, and locations of doorways all play a role in presenting Posing for the Public.

Many of the things we consider fact are merely constructs and belong in the realm of interpretation, says Gould.

In a gallery subtitled Under The Open Sky: The World as Exhibition, Gould displays archival photographs taken on safari in Africa by Carl Akeley and Martin and Osa Johnson. Akeley was an artist and taxidermist who designed dioramas (hunting for many of the specimens he would later incorporate into the displays himself) for the American Museum of Natural History in the early 1900s; his work greatly influenced exhibition design and scientific research throughout America. The Johnsons were filmmakers; their 1928 film Simba: The King of Beasts - also shown in this gallery space - was America's first feature-length nature film and a blockbuster hit.

Gould was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He now lives and works in Montreal, where he teaches at Concordia University.

Trevor Gould: Posing for the Public is organized by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. The circulation of this exhibition has been made possible by the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Recently awarded a Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is Ontario's third largest public gallery. It owns one of the finest art collections in Canada. Admission to the Gallery is free, courtesy of Orlick Industries Limited. Engage your imagination!

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