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Mary Anne Barkhouse, Boreal Baroque

In Mary Anne Barkhouses Boreal Baroque, the works setting is inspired by the palatial grounds at Versailles where the wild is juxtaposed with the wildly opulent.

Boreal Baroque is a touring exhibition featuring the work of nationally acclaimed artist Mary Anne Barkhouse. The exhibition incorporates exquisite carvings of all kinds of Boreal animals, including the rabbit, owl, coyote, and beaver, and juxtaposes them against elegant, hand-made Baroque-style furniture. It is a playful yet haunting display of Barkhouse’s belief in the persistent power of nature and animals in our daily lives and consciousness.

The exhibition conjures wild animals’ survival, adaptation, and evolution into the 9th, 20th, and 21st centuries, mixing what the artist calls “the wild” with “the wildly opulent.” Curator Linda Jansma describes Boreal Baroque as optimistic “despite the grim news of the world’s imminent demise,” as the animals have “evicted humans from their ‘habitat’ and converse on the chaise longue and confidante sofas of a Louis XIV setting.” Indeed, the exhibition asks that we see the inhabitants of the Boreal Forest not as resources for our own use, but as animals “assured of their rightful place in the palace.”





Boreal Baroque is organized and circulated by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, and curated by Linda Jansma. The exhibition’s presentation at the Mendel Art Gallery is its only stop in Western Canada.

Barkhouse belongs to the Nimpkish band, Kwakiuti First Nations and currently lives in the Haliburton Highlands.  Her sculptural work examines environmental concerns and indigenous culture through the use of animal imagery.  Wolves, ravens, moose and beaver are juxtaposed against a diversity of background situations.  Mary Anne was present for this opening and gave a public lecture.



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