Beaver Tales
20 May – 16 July 2000

Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens

As a parliamentary declared national symbol, the beaver holds special relevance for Canadians. For long over a century in Canada, the beaver's image symbolized industriousness and reliability. This exhibition, curated by Reid Diamond and Marnie Fleming, references and elaborates on this narrative by drawing a brief history that places the beaver's image into modern politics and contemporary image-making. Diamond and Fleming posit a versatile and multi-faceted icon, using the works of 14 national and international artists, including Kim Adams, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Michael Belmore, Wendy Coburn, Fastwürms, Bud Fujikawa, Frank Gehry, Komar and Melamid, Liz Magor, Carl Skelton, Kathryn Walter, Joyce Wieland and Jin-me Yoon. These visual works, produced in the last few decades, provide evidence for why the image of the beaver remains a potent cultural signifier.

Beaver Tales uses this entrenched icon as a sign to evoke complex notions that inform and generate critical questions. The works selected for this exhibition bring issues concerning our cultural heritage, ecological devastation, sexuality, industry and our changing relation to technology, to the forefront through the beaver¹s image. A catalogue accompanies Beaver Tales, introducing earlier political appropriations of the beaver's image and referencing its history in popular imagery.

Curated by Reid Diamond and Marnie Fleming