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Woman as Goddess

Liberated Nudes by Robert Markle and Joyce Wieland

November 29, 2003 to February 29, 2004

Woman as Goddess

Joyce Wieland, 1931-1998
Woman amusing herself
c. 1955
black crayon on paper
Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Betty Ramsaur Ferguson, Puslinch, On., 1998
© 2003 National Gallery of Canada, Gift of the Estate of Joyce Wieland

"I dare you to put Robert Markle and Joyce Wieland in a room together, alone, and ask them to discuss Art. My bet is they would start by fighting. A good verbal free-for-all would erupt, the kind that happens when the intellectual and emotional stakes are high, like ‘what it means to be an artist'."
- Anna Hudson, AGO associate curator of Canadian art

In the midst of the 1960s advocacy for women's liberation, Aboriginal rights, "make love, not war," and all those imaginings of hand-in-hand global harmony, creativity took on the unmistakable innuendo of physical union. And that's precisely where Markle and Wieland would differ - on the subject of sex.

This exhibition of Canadian artists Robert Markle and Joyce Wieland is a provocative conversation about the nude, an icon of Western art that was radicalized by the 1960s counterculture. Approximately 100 works, dating from the late 1950s through the 1990s, epitomize both artists' distinct reinterpretations of the nude. Woman as Goddess is the first in a series of exhibitions organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario to offer a fresh understanding of the legacy of Canadian artists whose careers bridge the historical and contemporary periods.

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*Content of this exhibition may not be suitable for young viewers.

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