April 23, 2012 Kleinburg, ON – This spring, the McMichael presents a fresh and innovative exhibition, Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art, guest curated by Ottawa native Julia Pine. “Fashionality”, a newly coined term that combines the words fashion, personality, and nationality, refers to the interplay between clothing, identity, and culture. The exhibition runs from May 5 until September 3, 2012, with the official opening celebration to be held Sunday, May 13 on Mother’s Day—what a “great fit!”

Not just about fashion, Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art explores the use of apparel and the act of adornment in the work of twenty-three active Canadian artists. “Clothes are employed in diverse ways,” explains curator Julia Pine, “…as sculptural or aesthetic objects, as markers of culture, history, pride or oppression, but also as a means of re-visioning or ‘re-dressing’ these things. Featured works play with conventions of dress as a means of examining and re-fashioning who we are, both collectively and as individuals. Ultimately, they celebrate the human spirit, visualized through the skins, embellishments, and uniforms that help us construct our identities.”

The artists explore a wide range of creative and conceptual possibilities, ranging from painting, assemblage, sculpture and installation, to video, photography, performance, and social media. Spanning multiple galleries, among the works on display are a dress that inflates into a tent for two, hockey gear embellished by honeybees, frozen ball gowns, corsets in encaustic, a colossal lumberjack shirt, and poignant reinterpretations of traditional indigenous dress. A moving and often humorous mix of technique, technology, and cultural critique, Fashionality contributes to an understanding of what it means to be woven into Canada’s national fabric.

“It is the gallery’s mission to interpret and promote Canadian and Aboriginal art, and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to present such thought-provoking, yet sometimes playful, artistic interpretations of what it means to be addressed as Canadian, while dressed as Canadian,” says Victoria Dickenson, CEO. “It is an exhibition for everyone living in and visiting Canada, who will be enthralled with the variety of works and the depth of passion these Canadian and Aboriginal artists have for our many different ‘fashionalities’.”

Artists featured are KC Adams, Ingrid Bachmann, Lori Blondeau, Dana Claxton, Cathy Daley, Nicole Dextras, Aganetha Dyck, Jane Eccles, Gathie Falk, Farheen Haq, Barb Hunt, Michele Karch-Ackerman, Meryl McMaster, Kent Monkman, Janet Morton, Jacques Payette, Camal Pirbhai, Barbara Pratt, Ana Rewakowicz, Natalie Purschwitz, Jana Sterbak, Camille Turner, and Mary Sui Yee Wong.

During the spring and summer run, there will be opportunities to meet curator Julia Pine, as well as Fashionality artists, such as Nicole Dextras who will be at the McMichael for two weeks in residency from June 17 to July 1. During that time, she will complete her new Weedrobes sculpture that will be unveiled in a special performance at our Canada Day ceremony.

Related Exhibition Programming

Exhibition Opening of Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art

Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day), 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fashion Arts: The New Generation

Exhibition by Seneca College Fashion Arts Graduating Students

Tuesday, May 15 to Tuesday, May 22, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Personality, Nationality…Fashionality?

Sunday, May 27 at 11:30 a.m.

Arts Café and Symposium presents

Art and Fashion: Marilyn Brooks, A Creative Synergy

Presented in collaboration with York Region Arts Council

Saturday, June 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Nicole Dextras, Artist and Julia Pine, Curator on

Styling Sustainability: Nature, Art, and Dress

Saturday, June 23, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Canada Day at the McMichael

Sunday, July 1, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Planet IndigenUs Festival: Aboriginal Perspective

Special Tour of Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art

Thursday, August 16, 2:00 p.m.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located at 10365 Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg.

More information: www.mcmichael.com/exhibitions

Media contact:

Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210

[email protected]