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Shary Boyle’s Flesh and Blood to go on display at AGO

Exhibition to tour nationally, marks artist's 2009 Iskowitz Prize win.

(TORONTO - July 27, 2010) This fall the AGO will reinstall four of its first-floor European galleries to host a special exhibition featuring the bold and imaginative work of Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle. Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood, organized and circulated by the Galerie de l'UQAM in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario and in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, will be on view from September 15 through December 5,  and includes more than 30 recent works by the artist.  Boyle was the recipient of the $25,000 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO in 2009 for her outstanding contribution to visual arts in Canada.

Boyle is an interdisciplinary artist who moves freely between drawing, painting, sculpture, audio-visual performance, and installations. She draws upon ancient mythology, fiction, and fantasy in an exploration of psychological and emotional conditions. Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood reflects the artist's extraordinary vision and versatility, and includes sculptural works in porcelain and plaster, oil paintings, drawings, and four large-scale installations. Elements of the exhibition will be presented in conversation with selected works from the AGO's European collection.

"Shary Boyle's visionary talent has been on display at the AGO since our transformation, provocatively juxtaposed with two works by Giovanni Battista Foggini," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO. "We're very excited to deepen this conversation, and to be showcasing the works of one of Canada's most formidable artistic talents on such a large scale."

Following its run at the AGO, Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood will travel to the Galerie de l'UQAM in Montreal, where it will be on view from January 6 through February 12, 2011. The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver will host the exhibition from June 17 through August 21, 2011. Louise Déry, director of the Galerie de l'UQAM, is the exhibition's curator.

"Shary Boyle's symbolic language generates daring and original perspectives on the present," says Déry. "Her work unveils a consciousness haunted by considerations of the nature of life, heredity, sexuality, death, and our relationship to other species, and is executed with ingenuity and virtuosity across multiple media, in a formidable range of scale and detail."

A public opening celebrating Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood will take place at the AGO on September 15, 2010, in the midst of a very busy September at the Gallery. Also opening are: Julian Schnabel: Art and Film on September 1, AT WORK: Eva Hesse - Studiowork, Betty Goodwin - Work Notes, Agnes Martin - Work Ethic, and The Grange Prize Exhibition 2010, both opening September 22. Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, the Gallery's big-ticket fall exhibition, opens November 20.

Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood is supported by Canadian Heritage and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. 

Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.


In 2007, the AGO and the Iskowitz Foundation joined forces to raise awareness of the visual arts in Canada with the renaming of the annual award established twenty years ago by Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988). Iskowitz recognized the importance of grants to the development of artists and acknowledged that a grant from the Canada Council in 1967 enabled him to formalize his distinctive style. The AGO is home to the artist's archives, which include early works on paper, sketchbooks and memorabilia, and holds 29 paintings by Iskowitz (spanning the period from 1948 to 1987) in its permanent collection.


With a permanent collection of more than 79,500 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery's façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


For more images and more information, contact:

Sean O'Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454,

Nancy Hushion at the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation,

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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