The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists

January 23 to April 3, 2016

Frances Anne Hopkins, London (England), 1838 – London (England), 1919, Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall, 1869, oil on canvas, 73.7 x 152.4 cm, Purchase, 1923 (e011153912), Library and Archives Canada, Photo: Library and Archives Canada

The Kelowna Art Gallery is pleased to bring this ground-breaking exhibition to the Okanagan – the first of its kind. Organized and circulated jointly by the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, both in Ontario, the show was co-curated by Tobi Bruce and Alicia Boutilier. The exhibition comprises just over fifty pieces by forty artists, all of them women who lived and worked in Canada, and most of whom have never had work shown in Kelowna.

As one might expect, works by Emily Carr are included, which may be a question Kelowna gallery-goers first think of when hearing about this show. But there are thirty-nine other women artists as well! – many of whom are now obscure if not almost forgotten, but all worthy of our attention.

The earliest pieces in the show date from the eighteenth century (for example a watercolour by Elizabeth Simcoe from about 1792) and the most recent works are from the early 1960s, which include a drawing by Christiane Pflug, and a painting from 1961 by Daphne Odjig.

Materials range from sculpture, drawings, photographs and paintings, to a painted china brooch and a painted metal biscuit tin, and quilts and samplers. The curators decided to be open-minded as to what constituted a self-portrait, so there is a wide variety of approaches evident to considering and exploring the self.

A stunning piece that is predicted to become a new favourite Canadian historical painting for Kelowna gallery-goers is the five-foot-wide Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall, from 1869, by Frances Anne Hopkins.

Aficionados of Canadian history will find plenty of imagery and details in this show with which to engage, but anyone would find these historical works easily accessible and highly enjoyable. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, full-colour, bilingual catalogue, with an essay on each artist (most, but not all, written by women).

The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists
Organized and Circulated by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Curated by Alicia Boutilier and Tobi Bruce.

Opening Reception
Friday, January 22, 7 to 9 pm
This is a free event, open to members and guests by invitation.

Bertha May Ingle, (1878–1962), Self-Portrait, around 1901, oil on canvas, 17 x 17 cm, Private Collection, Photo: Mike Lalich


Adventures in Curating Canadian Art
Curators’ Talk at the Kelowna Art Gallery
Saturday, January 23, 1 pm

2016_Artist_Herself_Boutilier_Bruce_selfieAlicia Boutilier is Curator of Canadian Historical Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, where she has produced numerous exhibitions on Canadian historical visual and decorative art.

Tobi Bruce is Senior Curator of Canadian Historical Art at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, having previously held positions in curatorial, collections management, and research at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa) and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University (Kingston).



Selfie Project
January 22 to April 3, 2016
Throughout The Artist Herself exhibition we will be accepting selfies and displaying them in our Scotiabank Studio Art Lab. E-mail your selfie to and we will print it for you! You may also choose to paint or draw your selfie and drop it off at the Gallery. All submissions must be no larger than 5 x 7 in.




[Click for details on the Public Talk]


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