The genesis for "What Use Art History?" was inspired by Ann Rosenberg's experience as a teacher of art history in the Studio Arts Program of North Vancouver's Capilano College. For Ann there is no doubt as to the importance and value of art history for those with hopes of becoming an artist - knowledge of the world of art and architecture is as important as an understanding of literature, anthropology and political science.
Virtually everything is influenced by what we know and what we've seen. The seven participants in this show have created art which was inspired by models and ideas taken overtly form recent or past art history. The accompanying wall texts and catalog allow viewers to see the original source of inspiration and read how these visual references have been put into a new uses. The pieces which have resulted from this creative, and some may say collaborative, process transcend the mere borrowing of ideas and imagery and are in their own way unique, original and contemporary.
Each of these artists was challenged to examine the issues, cultures and artists which have not only influenced art history but their own understanding of art. Through the use of various scholarly methodologies such as stylistic analysis, iconographical interpretations, revisionist art historical trends, and the use of primary source material. On the other hand several of the artists have chosen to reference contemporary culture drawing their inspiration from comic books, ads, computer games and Japanese anime. In creating their works each artist draws from the world and the environment around them rendering their own commentary on the current political situation and environmental threats.
This exhibit also features a fun community participation component which incorporates Ed Varney's M.O.N.A. - Warhol. Ed Varney invites the public to decorate a blank template inspired by the Mona Lisa and Andy Warhol as they feel so inspired. A selection of these submissions will tour with the exhibition to future venues.
This exhibition features the works of seven established and well known artists from across the province. They are: Ursula Medley (Powell River), Justin Ogilvie (Vancouver), Bill Pitcher (Golden), Elizabeth Russell (Comox Valley), Ruth Scheuing (Vancouver), Ed Varney (Comox Valley), and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Bowen Island). Thank you to the Comox Valley Art Gallery, Guest Curator Ann Rosenberg and the artists who have helped make this important exhibition possible.