Current Exhibition

In the Weeds | On the Farm

A two-artist exhibition with Bruce Anderson and Val Morhart.
This show isn’t collaborative—Val and Bruce only met for the first time last year when we started planning this exhibition. The two artists have had different experiences growing up in and around farms and agriculture in Saskatchewan, and they have their own style and approaches to visual art. The differences are striking, and also there is something shared in their expression of rural life, memory, and place.
Bruce and Val’s statements reveal their individual interests and inspirations. By showing these artworks alongside one another, in effect, there are two exhibitions, two perspectives, two voices speaking. At the same time, there is another presence in the gallery: an invitation for us to consider what we share in common here—the land—and the inspiration that we can feel when we look at the place we live, its history written in the environment, and the stories we create within it.

Bruce Anderson
For as long as I have had a professional art practice, my work has focussed on the juxtaposition of images or placing the familiar in incongruent settings to create layers of meaning. My work is rooted in the west and in the old myths of settlement, independence, and colonialism—stories that are still with us and that ignore current realities, among them the subjugation of land and nature.
In my work, I deal with traditional western subject matter and reposition it. In my most recent paintings, there are several layers to which I hope the viewer will respond, mirroring my own processes in creating the work and reflecting different traditions in the history of painting: the off-kilter, or sense of unsettling, in the juxtaposition of subject and landscape; the abstract or formal, in the use of colour and texture; the creation of more literal meaning through the implied narrative, which will be different for different viewers, depending on the meaning they assign.
This work is directly focussed on issues of land use/misuse and environmental change. The weeds series represents a further evolution of previous work, through which I hope to continue to “break with traditional readings of landscape and force a new examination of the relationship of humans to land and the natural world.” (Jennifer McRorie, curatorial essay, Drift, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery)
Val (Valentine) Morhart
Growing up in Killaly, we lived on what is now referred to as an acreage. The folks had milk cows, pigs, and chickens. This is where i got experience handling livestock, milking cows, and the farm way of life. It was a combination of small town living and farming—a lot of fond memories—that later became the foundation of my art practice.
My interest in art started at an early age, when my mom got tired of drawing horses for me and told me to start doing my own. At twenty-one, I started farming, and my art practice was put on hold until 2004 when a lengthy hip replacement surgery freed up time. This was the start of painting, shows, and sales. My painting was done in such a way so they could tell a story, giving viewers a chance to revisit memories of the past. It’s this connection that brought the most satisfaction to me as I listened to people’s stories.
When I started showing my art, I wanted to see if it was good enough to get people’s attention. I wanted to see if my art could stand on its own, and i hoped one day to have a gallery showing. As i write this, through this exhibition at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery, my goal has been achieved. After this show I’m retiring from doing the big shows and sales. I will paint for the enjoyment of it, do some commission work, and continue to support the local art show at the gallery each summer. It’s been a wild ride. Thank you.