The exhibition will be the first retrospective examination of Pelkey’s work and her first solo exhibition organized by the AGW since she moved to Windsor in 2003, where she has continued to develop her art practice addressing themes of feminist subjectivity. Pelkey came to Windsor from Saskatoon to serve as Director of the School of Visual Arts at the University of Windsor, a position she held until 2012. Today, she continues an active role as professor and an established artist working in Canadian contemporary art.
Over the past three decades, Pelkey’s works have been the subject of many solo and group-artist exhibitions in Canada and northwestern Europe, including: Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland; London Guildhall University, UK; Remai Modern (Mendel Art Gallery), Saskatoon; MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Thames Art Gallery, Chatham; and the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina among others. Her works are held in several major public collections including several of those listed above as well as: Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Confederation Centre for the Arts, Charlottetown; University of Saskatchewan; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
A career-review as proposed by this retrospective is a timely undertaking to widen knowledge on Pelkey’s contributions to contemporary photography and to expand awareness of her work through public art gallery venues and the places she has lived in the Prairies, central Canada and the East Coast throughout her life. The exhibition will begin with a selection of her early documentary works from the Foundry project (1988) and include those major bodies of works which have since challenged the documentary role of photography to deploy the medium as one of rich social and psychological impact. Pelkey’s practice first demonstrated these latter concerns in 1989 when those photographs comprising the exhibition, the great effect of the imagination on the world (1988-89) were shown. Since then, Pelkey has continued to evolve these themes of psychic and social identity with photographs of landscapes, urban sites and people. The exhibition will reflect these projects to include selections from dreams of life and death (1991-94), Momento Mori (1994-96), Oblivion (1996-97), As if there were grace (1999-2000), Haunts (2000-01), Spaces of Transformation (2004-05), and her recent work addressing civic subjects such as provincial court room interiors (2005-08) and the Windsor Aquatic Training Centre under construction (2012-15).
This exhibition is supported by Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program through the auspices of the Access to Heritage Program