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Materiality and Perception in Contemporary Atlantic Art

Materiality and Perception in Contemporary Atlantic Art

Materiality and Perception in Contemporary Atlantic Art showcases over forty contemporary works of art from Atlantic Canada, from established artists such as Freeman Patterson, Gerald Beaulieu, Dawn MacNutt, and Alan Syliboy to emerging artists such as Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Ursula Johnson, and Marie Fox. This is art engaged with contemporary conversations: the frailty of bodies and land, the interactions between people and environment, Indigenous – Settler relations, and the inner and outer markings of identity.

Focusing intently on the materiality of the objects themselves — from jewellery to photographs, from carved paddles to video installations — the works selected for this publication and the associated exhibition ask viewers to look again, challenging their initial perceptions about what they see and what they perceive about the context in which the work is made.

Tom Smart’s accompanying essay introduces each work and its context and discusses the role of the viewer in interpreting art objects and creating meaning, whether viewing works as discrete individual objects or as part of the larger, holistic whole.

Materiality and Perception in Contemporary Atlantic Art accompanies the 2019 Marion McCain Exhibition of Atlantic Art at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.


Tom Smart is Director and CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. He is the author of numerous books on Canadian art, including books on Mary Pratt, Alex Colville, and Miller Brittain.



80 pages
Pub date: January 7, 2020