Artwork by Joyce Wieland,  White Snow Goose of Canada Crest

Joyce Wieland
White Snow Goose of Canada Crest

embroidery floss crest
5.5 x 4.5 ins ( 14 x 11.4 cms ) ( overall )

Sold for $3,540.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Provenance:
Isaacs Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Montreal
Literature:
Sarah Milroy, “Big Av's art world” (online), Globe and Mail, May 25, 2005
Johanne Sloan, Joyce Wieland (online publication), Art Canada Institute, Toronto, 2014, pages 3-10 and 40
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Joyce Wieland was particularly productive as she fervently explored various materials, media and theories of tactility in art. She asserted herself politically, engaging herself in issues of nationalism, feminism and ecology. This “White Snow Goose of Canada” crest, an unnumbered multiple, intersects all of these issues while the artist explored their mutual inclusivity.

Wieland raises questions on the impact of pollution and politics on the ecology of Canada and what this means to defining Canadian identity. Of particular importance here, is the protection of Canadian wildlife as their endangerment is symptomatic of larger issues of environmental change and industry growth. This piece poses questions: Is selling our natural resources and industry to the United States, for instance, in fact selling a part of our identity? Can we identify as Canadian while this piecemeal process takes place? Wieland explored these questions while negotiating the close relationship between ecology and nationalism. For the artist, these issues were inextricably linked. This crest operates as an intersection of nationalism, ecology and politics while also commenting on women's place as an artist.

Working with fabrics and threads, Wieland explores the tense question of craft versus art and the materials women traditionally used in art. Historically, needlework, sewing and working with fabrics to create decorative items for the home was associated with women's work and not necessarily 'fine art'. Wieland, however, made it her artistic mission to use this traditionally accepted notion and turn it on its head, elevating the use of textile within the greater dialogue of fine art and women's place in the art historical cannon. Therefore, the patch also operates as a subversive feminist piece. Moreover, while exploring the use of textile and mixed media in her works, “Wieland challenged the notion that art should occupy a protected cultural space, removed from politics and daily life.” In this sense, Wieland breaks the accepted norms of artistic value rooted solely in formal aesthetics and moves towards critical exploration of politics in visual art.

One of these crest multiples was exhibited in Joyce Wieland’s “True Patriot Love” solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in July 1971. Another one of these multiples was exhibited in "Closet Collector" exhibition at the Textile Museum in 2005 – an exhibit celebrating Av Isaac's love of textiles. There appears to be another of this multiple in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI.
This artwork was secured from a Montreal collection during Consignor’s Spring 2018 Valuation Day Event in the city.

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Joyce Wieland
(1931 - 1998)

After graduating from the Central Technical School in Toronto in 1948, having studied design, Joyce Wieland went on to work as a graphic designer in the early 1950s while developing her practice in visual art. Living and working with other artists in Toronto, Wieland met noted Canadian artist Michael Snow and eventually married him in 1956. Shortly thereafter, Wieland's solo career began to develop with her first solo show in 1960 after a number of group shows. She developed a professional relationship with Canadian art dealer Avrom Isaacs and was represented by his gallery.

Moving to New York in the 1960's, Wieland began experimenting with film alongside her visual arts practice—paintings, assemblages, and mixed media works often including themes of eroticism and feminism. Film and the role of the filmmaker/voyeur figured prominently in her self-reflexive pieces where she often depicted herself as the subject of her own gaze. While in New York, Wieland became concerned with both American and Canadian politics. Particularly for Canadian issues, the sweep of Trudeaumania of the 1960's prompted Wieland to explore issues of nationalism, national identity, and political activism.

In 1971, the National Gallery of Canada held a solo exhibition for Wieland entitled “True Patriot Love,” which opened on July 1st. In this seminal exhibition, symbolic artifacts of Canada were at the pinnacle of the pieces, including plays on the newly recognized national anthem (1967), the adoption of the maple leaf flag (which replaced the red ensign), and gendering Canada as female—a comment on how issues of gender and nationality were interchangeable.

Throughout the 1980's, after her and Snow's relationship came to an end, she returned to painting. Themes of hallucinatory eroticism figured prominently in these later works. In 1987, the Art Gallery of Ontario held a retrospective, critically examining her work and offering an environment where her experimental film and visual art pieces could be experienced in tandem.

During the 1990's Wieland's health began to deteriorate, the artist eventually passing in 1998 from the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

“Instead of taking national identity for granted, Wieland called visitors to reimagine and reclaim nationhood.” (Johanne Sloan, “Joyce Weiland: Life and Work,” Art Canada Institute, 2014, page 31)