More on “It is what it is” at the National Gallery of Canada

Chris Millar Bejeweled Double Festooned Plus Skull for Girls. Purchased 2010. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: John Dean

Melodie Cardin is the Special Events and Communications Coordinator for the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area.

I had sort of middling expectations of It Is What It Is: Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art, since the National Gallery of Canada show opened in Ottawa with very little fanfare, especially compared to the summer’s Pop Life exhibit.

Surprise, surprise! As I walked from piece to piece in this exhibit, I kept thinking, “This is my favourite! No, wait a minute, this is my favourite. Nope, this is!”

After a few days of reflection and thinking about what has really stuck in my head, here are my top three:

“The Holes” by David Altmejd: A massive, jungle-like garden with crystals made of mirrors and huge brightly coloured flowers intertwines with intricate vein structures and overstated organs strewn helter-skelter. Feet, heart, liver and veins of a very human-like werewolf lie in a crystal garden. This sculpture, which took up an entire room, just fascinated me.

“Bejeweled Double Festooned Plus Skull for Girls” by Chris Millar: This sculpture sort of reminded me of Never Never Land crossed with a dollhouse. It’s a dream-like vacation resort rich with details which comment on the roles of materialism and advertising in our lives, particularly for girls.

“Tacet” by Antonia Hirsch: This piece is made up of three silent videos. In each video, a person is filmed silently reading music. The three pieces of music are the national anthems of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. From just the facial expressions of the three readers, you can tell which is which.

There were many more fantastic pieces, so go discover them yourself. The show runs until April 24, 2011.

What is your favourite part of the National Gallery of Canada?