Myfanwy MacLeod ‘Neighbours’ exhibition opens at Canada House Gallery with support from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation
Originally posted on High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
London, UK – Canada House is delighted to present Neighbours, the first solo UK exhibition by Myfanwy MacLeod, in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG, Vancouver).
MacLeod is best known for her irreverent artworks that often explore the overlap between pop culture, folklore, traditions and histories. Her practice examines how perceptions of “high” and “low” culture are interpreted through themes of gender, privilege and value, and ranges from gallery exhibitions through to celebrated works in the public realm.
Her interest in how an image or object can be transformed to change its meaning and, importantly, the context of indoors or out plays a specific role within her deliberations and is the starting point for this exhibition.
Illustrating this proposition, Neighbours presents a selection of recent works alongside maquettes for public commissions. Revealing her process and interest in materiality, scale and meaning, these combine to embody the underlying playful humour of her practice while encompassing her ongoing interest in more profound environmental concerns.
Central to the exhibition is a sequence of framed watercolours used in 2018 as the basis for a public artwork, Neighbours, a series of large-scale posters displayed at 20 sites around Vancouver that corresponded with the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act established between Canada and the US, considered to be one of the most successful conservation laws in North American history.
Also in 2018, Vancouver hosted the International Ornithological Congress (founded in 1884), which was marked with the re-installation of MacLeod’s acclaimed large-scale public sculpture of two house sparrows, The Birds (2010). Her process for the public installation is explored here with a small-scale sculptural maquette of The Birds and photographic and video documentation of the commission on site.
With conservation as her backdrop, MacLeod’s watercolour drawings depict birds afforded protection by the Canada-US treaty and incorporate different species gathered together into one diverse flock. Also presented in the exhibition is MacLeod’s woven piece Purr, Purr, Purr(2018), inspired by Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s speech at the ornithological gathering that called for a positive conversation about the role that cats play in the killing of migratory songbirds that “didn’t completely annoy cat people”.
Neighbours is generously supported by BC Arts Council, the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom and The Dahdaleh Foundation.
Myfanwy MacLeod lives and works in Vancouver. A recipient of the VIVA Award (1999) presented by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts, Vancouver, she has had numerous solo exhibitions in key public and private galleries across Canada including Vancouver Art Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Internationally, MacLeod has exhibited in Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.