Campus Life

Alumni earn spots in Oh Canada exhibition

Oh, Canada is the largest exhibition of contemporary Canadian art to ever take place in the United States. Among the 62 artists included are three graduates of the University of Lethbridge's Faculty of Fine Arts.

Artists David Hoffos (BFA '94), Mary-Anne McTrowe (BFA '98) and Daniel Wong (BFA '03) travelled to North Adams, Mass. at the end of May for the opening of the exhibition.

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is known globally for showing the very best art of our time. Occupying a vast network of 19th century factory buildings, MASS MoCA's galleries boast more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. With a strong focus on new art, the museum has become a destination for those seeking unique, fresh and challenging encounters with contemporary art.

David Hoffos
David Hoffos will show works from his Scenes from the House Dream at Oh Canada this fall.

"We think it is an honour to be included in this exhibition, considering Denise Markonish (the curator of Oh, Canada) did more than 400 studio visits in determining the lineup," says Wong.

Known together as the 'art-ernative' folk-rock band The Cedar Tavern Singers AKA Les Phonoréalistes, McTrowe and Wong have worked collaboratively since 2006. They are among the artists who created new works specifically for the exhibition. In addition to performing at the opening of Oh, Canada, the duo released a new album of songs relating to the museum.

"The album features four songs about and related to MASS MoCA: 'Oh Canada, Oh Canada' is our interpretation of what a theme song for the Oh, Canada exhibition might be; 'MASS MoCA' is about the history of the site that MASS MoCA inhabits; and 'Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With' and 'Truisms' are about Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Jenny Holzer, respectively – two artists who have had exhibitions at MASS MoCA. The album cover itself is a riff on Bachman-Turner Overdrive," explains McTrowe.

Though it may come as a surprise to some, Lethbridge is a hotbed for contemporary art production in Canada.

"For as long as I've lived here, Lethbridge has had strong contemporary artists – people who contend on the national and international stage, so I'm not surprised Lethbridge artists are included in Oh, Canada. In fact, I'm honoured to have been chosen, especially considering there are so many great artists here," says Hoffos.

Hoffos has received widespread national acclaim for his large-scale, multimedia installations. From 2008 to 2011 his exhibition, Scenes from the House Dream, toured Canada debuting at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) and showing at major institutions across the country, including the National Gallery of Canada. For Oh, Canada, Hoffos presents works from Scenes from the House Dream; a snapshot of his practice representative of his larger body of work.

"Oh, Canada is a celebration for the whole country. It's the first time an exhibition like this has happened south of the border and it's never happened in Canada either, so it's a special moment not just for the artists in the exhibition, but also for contemporary art in Canada," he says. "My hope is that this exhibition demonstrates that cutting-edge contemporary art production can happen anywhere, including Lethbridge."

Oh, Canada opened May 27 at MASS MoCA and is on view until Apr. 1, 2013. For more info:

This story first appeared in the June 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in flipbook format, follow this link.