All Eyes on Meghan Fish Contemporary, Halifax

Scoot Bertram, May, 72 x 60in, acrylic on canvas

On March 25th, 2011, Meghan Fish Contemporary and Projects launched its first group exhibition at 2053 Gottingen Street. However, this is not a gallery space. Director Meghan Fish has created a primarily online and by-appointment gallery space featuring cutting edge painting, photography and new media work by emerging and established artists from across Canada. Collectors will be able to view the art online, by appointment locally at the Meghan Fish Contemporary Art + Projects showroom/office, or have work sent on approval to their own space. Also in the works are plans for pop-up events and exhibitions–an exciting way to showcase art in a series of changing venues around Halifax.

“I see this as a more progressive model for selling art,” explains Director Meghan Fish (née Dorward), who has worked in Halifax’s commercial art world for the last five years (most notably as the former Assistant Director at Studio 21 Fine Art). “It circumvents the inefficiencies of maintaining a traditional gallery space year round. In my experience, I’ve found that most art-buying audiences arrive through word-of-mouth. It made me realize that I didn’t need a static, physical space to sell art. Instead, I will focus my resources and energy on personal service —offering artwork installation services and lease-to-own options to clients who purchase work, while effectively promoting my roster of artists. Pop-up exhibitions will add to this hybrid approach in creating a unique and diverse experience for the public.”

Adrian Fish, Stage 2-1, 48 x 48in, limited edition of 10, Chromira print

Meghan Fish Contemporary “fills a void for local collectors” by showcasing both painting and photography in its stable. “There are very few galleries carrying photography in Halifax,” says Fish, “I am introducing the media in a commercial context in Halifax.”

Not only is she filling a void for local collectors, she is also filling a void for the rest of the world, by exposing her fantastic artists to the rest of the world through her mainly web based business.“We’re thinking outside the box, literally,” Fish laughs. “I plan to introduce the concept that galleries no longer have to be limited to one static set of walls on a daily basis. It’s a malleable, ever-changing, and virtual world out there now — without geographical boundaries. It’s time we embrace that in the art world.”


Traffic makes traffic

John Baldessari, "I will not make any more boring art", 1971, NSCAD University Permanent Art Collection


This weekend marked the beginning of Traffic, an exhibition that spans across art institutions in Halifax: Anna Leonowens Gallery (NSCAD University), Dalhousie Art Gallery, MSVU Art Gallery (Mount Saint Vincent University) and Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery. Running from March 18th to May 8, 2011, Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 is the first major exhibition to focus on the influence and manifestations of conceptual art in Canada, a movement that can be largely understood through Sol LeWitt’s famous 1967 statement that “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”.


Traffic- Conceptual Art in Canada- 1965 - 1980


Traffic’s presentation in Halifax acknowledges the international prominence of this city in the development of Conceptual Art, with the transformation of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Highlights include curator Jayne Wark’s tour of the MSVU Art Gallery on Saturday, March 19th, Jeffrey Spalding will be giving a talk on Thursday, March 24th a Sait Mary’s University Art Gallery, a panel discussion with Wallace Brannen, Garry Neill Kennedy and Jayne Wark on Sunday, March 27 at MSVU Art Gallery, just to name a few.


To learn more about the East Coast’s role in the Canadian conceptual art movement, read Jayne Wark’s catalogue essay,

Conceptual Art in Canada: The East Coast Story.






Crafting Paradox at the Rooms, St. John’s

Never underestimate the power of “craft”. Whatever it is. Whatever it was. The Rooms in St. John’s Newfoundland’s Crafting Paradox exhibits the art of three fantastic artists:

Cal Lane crafts exquisite, metal works, so delicate, as if constructed from string or paper.

Image Credit: Cal Lane, Doily #1, 2002, flame cut steel, Collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Purchased with funds provided by the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, 2003. Photography by Steve Farmer.

Jason Holley makes chain mail with ceramic links.

John Good year creates what I can only describe as other-worldly delicacies out of wood.

Commonly, there is a paradox that results from the tension between material and technique, form and content. Fellow blogger Rosalind Ford had the opportunity to see the show:

It’s amazing. From Cal’s intensely torched out oil drum to resemble a map of the world, John’s woodwork that will have you wondering what the heck his material is – I’ve never seen anyone treat wood the way he does and then there’s Jason’s claymaille. Looks like metal, sounds like metal, but made of clay.

Crafting Paradox exhibits until May 15th 2011.

Artist Risen: Eleanor King


Halifax artist Eleanor King personifies artouteast’s mandate. Artist, professor, musician, mover and shaker, King is bringing to the forefront the vibrant art scene of the Maritimes for all of us to see.
King is an interdisciplinary artist who works with site-specific installation incorporating elements of audio, video, photography, and sculpture. Her work fuses found materials in a playful way to critique social behaviours, investigating consumer and tourist cultures.

Obso-less-sense: room from entrance, A version of this work will be presented at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John's NL in 2011. Image by Steve Farmer

I asked her, “what is Tourist Culture?” She explained it is a term that she coined in 2002, when the Nova Scotia Arts Council was disbanded, replaced with what the minister of culture so cleverly deemed the Nova Scotia Arts and Partnership Council in the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage.

“It sounded like double-speak to most of us, and it was clear:  we no longer had a fully independent, arms-length, art funding organization.   It has always bothered me that Tourism was lumped in with Culture, and felt that the exported ideas of Nova Scotia (or generally east coast) were outdated, false and unfortunate. Our exported “culture” was based on the assumptions that others might have of this place, ideas promoted basically for the benefit of tourists.  The fiddle music, the sou’wester fisherman hats, the east coast music awards, these examples didn’t reflect my experience, which was of real, contemporary, and exciting things that were actually going on.”

King has exhibited nationally and internationally and has participated in residency programs in Canada and the US. King teaches in the Media Arts department at NSCAD University and holds the position of Exhibitions Coordinator at Anna Leonowens Gallery. She is also a member of indie-rock bands The Just Barelys and The Got to Get Got.

This week King is getting ready for Art Rising, an annual fundraising gala in support of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax in which she is participating. It’s all very secretive; even the location will not be revealed until the night before the event on March 5th.

Needless to say, she’s busy. What is on the agenda after Art Rising?

After Art Rising this week, it’s on to the next: a piece in a group show called “Warming up” at Confederation Centre, an installation for Nuit Blanche Toronto, a 2-person show with Dustin Wilson at Eastern Edge in St. John’s and a show with Le Pont Gallery in Syria.