Political artist’s work from more than 30 years on display
- EFN Staff | March 28, 2019
“Ruth has made a significant contribution to the art world and the wider community through her political, yet often humorous, work,” said Curator Sandra Fraser in a media release. “Not only has her work made an impact, but her efforts as a mentor, teacher and leader have been invaluable for young artists and curators in this province and beyond.”
Fraser, who curated Artist in Focus: Ruth Cuthand, chose works from the artist’s series Misuse is Abuse (1990) and Trading (2009 to present). She also included early dress paintings Cuthand created in the 1980s. These permanent collection works represent pivotal moments in Cuthand’s more than 30-year career.
While most of the works on view are from the Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern, the exhibition also incorporates two recent works courtesy of the artist. Both of these pieces reference the strategic and negligent ways disease has been used against Indigenous communities.
“In my early work, I adopted a consistently anti-aesthetic stance, refusing to be stereotyped by forcefully rejecting the authority of both Western high art and traditional Aboriginal art and design,” Cuthand said in her artist statement. “In true anarchic style, however, I borrow freely from both when it suits my purposes. This approach has allowed me to challenge mainstream perspectives on colonialism and the relationships between ‘settlers’ and Natives.”
Artist in Focus: Ruth Cuthand opened in Remai Modern’s Collection Galleries on March 13th. Cuthand gave an artist’s talk in conjunction with the exhibition on March 19th which also included a book signing.
Cuthand is a Saskatoon-based artist who uses mediums including drawing, painting and beading, her practice explores the frictions between cultures, the failures of representation and the political uses of anger. In 2009, she was the subject of a touring survey exhibition, BACK TALK, shown at and organized by Remai Modern’s predecessor, the Mendel Art Gallery. That exhibition travelled to four other art museums in Canada in 2012-13. Cuthand was awarded a Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award in 2013 and was named a University of Saskatchewan Alumni of Influence by the College of Arts and Science in 2015.