BEAUTIFUL SCARS Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs: The Art of Tom Wilson opens at Art Gallery of Burlington December 1

Two stellar exhibitions at Art Gallery of Burlington entice the viewer in magical and different ways.

BEAUTIFUL SCARS Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs: The Art of Tom Wilson opens at Art Gallery of Burlington December 1

Renowned musician and indigenous artist launches new series of artworks in a solo exhibition, curated by David Liss

Tom Wilson’s commitment to being an artist is complete, resolute and covers many media. Best known as an award-winning musician renowned around the world for his storytelling songwriting and his heartfelt and moving performing style, many of his fans are learning that Tom Wilson has been painting for more than 21 years. A solo exhibition launching at the Art Gallery of Burlington celebrates his work in paint AND his newly-discovered focus on his personal story and identity – an identity as an Indigenous man whose truth was only discovered seven years ago.

In mid-life, in his 50s, Tom learned that the parents who raised him were not his birth parents; that, in fact, he was adopted and that his biological mother was a longtime family friend from the Kahnawake reserve, just outside of Montreal. Grappling with this newfound sense of himself plunged Tom into a quest for his heritage and his truth, and led to the writing of his bestselling autobiography, Beautiful Scars. The book is a colourful and truthful tale of this quest, and his life’s tribulations and successes along the path.

The discovery of his true heritage and the culture that it carries now informs all of his art and especially his painting. The show at AGB will feature his most heartfelt exploration of imagery that tells the story that he has only begun to uncover. “My art is a continuation of my long way home,” Tom says. “It is my way of showing honour and respect to a culture that I’m just shaking hands with.” Since authenticity is Tom’s calling card in all things, his paintings are in the same vein of truth-telling, story-sharing and heart-stirring as his other art. As Tom states, “My truth was hidden from me – I was born a Mohawk baby, and finally I’m becoming a Mohawk man.”

BEAUTIFUL SCARS Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs: The Art of Tom Wilson is curated by David Liss, currently curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, and formerly the Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Liss was born and raised in Hamilton and in the early 1980s was active in the city’s music scene while studying at the Dundas Valley School of Art. This is where Tom and David first met, and they’ve been friends ever since, connected through family and the close-knit circles of the Hamilton music and Canadian art scenes.

Although the house where Tom Wilson grew up on East 36th Street on the Hamilton Mountain is only 11 kilometres across the Bay from the front door of the Art Gallery of Burlington, the journey of his lifetime will be on view in the paintings of BEAUTIFUL SCARS Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs: The Art of Tom Wilson.

BEAUTIFUL SCARS Mohawk Warriors, Hunters & Chiefs: The Art of Tom Wilson launches December 1, 2018 and concludes January 27, 2019. Title Sponsors are Samuel, Son & Co. and MNP; Exhibition Sponsors are Utter Morris Insurance; O’Connor MacLeod Hanna; Four Corners Group; Adam and Christine Doering; Rick and Cindy Balaz.

‘Dancing on the Grave’ shows two notable artists combining sculpture and painting

Dil Hildebrand and Patrick Thibert use abstraction to move and stir emotion

The Art Gallery of Burlington and the Woodstock Art Gallery are delighted to be working on this co-production exhibition and publication featuring recent works by two notable artists Dil Hildebrand and Patrick Thibert. Presented under the tongue-in-cheek banner “Dancing on the Grave,” the title of this exhibition conjures up associations to mortality and re-birth, but more directly references the genre of abstraction. In the last 100 years, abstraction has been sought after, theorized, given life and meaning to, only to be re-interpreted and re-invented many times over. Both Hildebrand and Thibert are part of this complex and faceted trajectory, coming to abstraction from their own individual positions of experience and place.

As a sculptor, Thibert’s artistic practice has moved from a deep engagement with abstraction towards the figure and has since leapt back into the power of shape, line, and colour. A generation younger, Hildebrand’s paintings have evolved out of the magical realism of trompe-l’œil (to deceive the eye) into a playful struggle with the flatness of the green drafting grid. He is now embracing historical illustration as a jumping off point with his image-making.

It is their imaginative use of collage and layering that formally links these two artists. The resulting visual effects strike those elusive chords of emotional meaning. Both Hildebrand and Thibert force the viewer to put work into the process of looking. The reward is an unravelling of subtle nuances that tug at poignant memories and connections buried deep within us.

The Art Gallery of Burlington would like to recognize the sponsorship of RBC Royal Bank and Cynthia Zahoruk Architects, along with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. The Woodstock Art Gallery is a department of the City of Woodstock, and would like to further extend thanks to all of whom made this exhibition and catalogue possible.

Dil Hildebrand & Patrick Thibert: Dancing on the Grave launches December 1, 2018 and concludes January 27, 2019. Title Sponsor is RBC; Exhibition Sponsor is CZ Architects.

TOM WILSON A three-time Juno winning musician with multiple gold records, Indigenous artist Tom Wilson has written for and recorded songs with Sarah McLachlan, City and Colour, Jason Isbell, Colin James, Lucinda Williams, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mavis Staples and The Rankin Family, to name a few. Known for his band Junkhouse and his iconic, Americana-fuelled Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Tom’s most recent incarnation, Lee Harvey Osmond, has received extensive praise and airplay throughout the North America.

DAVID LISS is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, and formerly the Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. From 1995 to 2000 he was Director and Curator of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal. Through the mid-1980s and early 1990s in Montreal he was an artist, writer and organizer of art exhibitions and music events. Liss was born and raised in Hamilton and during the early 1980s he became involved in the city’s thriving music scene attending shows and booking bands in bars around the city’s west end while attending art classes at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Wilson and Liss first met at the Dundas Valley School of Art where Wilson was hired to strum his guitar at a reception at the school.

DIL HILDEBRAND is an artist living and working in Montreal, and he is an MFA graduate of Concordia University, Montreal and has been awarded a number of distinguished grants and awards including the International Residency at Acme Studios, London UK (2013); the Canada Council for the Arts (2010, 2014); the Banff Centre  Thematic Residency (2009); Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2009) and was winner of the RBC National Painting Competition (2006). His work has been collected by major public institutions throughout Canada, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Bank of the Canada Council, as well as numerous private and corporate collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. His collage-based approached allows the viewer to feel, see and interpret many things through his artistry.

PATRICK THIBERT began his education in chemical technology and then switched gears completely to become a renowned and highly-educated artist, with a BFA from the University of Windsor and his MFA from Florida State University. His work is known for its dimensionality, moving from abstract forms in his early career and evolving into more narrative forms, using symbols and metaphors. His sculptures have dealt with aspects of his life, using it as a springboard to developing news ways to present sculptural ideas. His hallmark is combining a variety of processes and materials to tell his story.

The ART GALLERY OF BURLINGTON is Burlington’s art gallery and community art centre, a place of intersection where creators, cultures and communities converge. It presents many regional, national and international exhibitions a year, and is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Canadian ceramics, as well as seven art and fine craft guilds. The AGB provides art and craft education programs and public tours for people of all ages, and spans over 44,000 square feet with seven fully equipped studios, three galleries, a one-of-a-kind gift shop, a sculpture courtyard and year-round conservatory. The AGB is proud to acknowledge that the land where it is located is part of the ancient Dish With One Spoon Treaty and also the Brant Tract Purchase, Treaty No. 3 3/4 of 1795, 1797 and 2010, and it is grateful to the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Six Nations of the Grand River for sharing this territory. The location of the Art Gallery of Burlington is one of the most stunning spots in all of Burlington, facing Lake Ontario in all of its turbulent glory. The Art Gallery of Burlington is located at 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario.

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