On display until Feb 18th, "A Cordial Word" is the kind of inspiration every green thumb could use this time of year - bright, vibrant paintings of flowers in bloom. There are guides available in the library so you can learn more about the individual artists and works.
Every guide comes comes with an educational section, great for teachers and home-school families.
Flowers have been a common theme explored by artists for millennia. One reason for this is their unquestioned beauty. A second reason for their popularity with artists is that, traditionally, flowers have been rich in both religious and secular symbolism. In Ancient Egypt, for example, the lotus flower featured in the wall paintings and relief sculptures symbolized the sun and had strong ties to the concept of creation and rebirth. During medieval times flowers appeared in the borders of illuminated manuscripts and as details within larger paintings or decorative backgrounds in tapestries. In these early art works the flowers rendered were often symbolic in nature. A white lily, for instance, was a symbol of purity and many paintings of the Virgin Mary contain white lilies for this reason. In 16th and 17th (century) Dutch still life paintings, meanwhile, flowers , shown wilting or decaying, are often symbols of mortality.
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the use of flowers as independent subjects in art began in earnest and by the 19th century the decorative potential of flowers became the most enduring impulse behind their use in visual art. Through the art movements of realism, impressionism, post-impressionism and ultimately abstraction, artistic representations of flowers came to focus on explorations of pattern and colour.
The exhibition A Cordial Word, featuring works from the collection of the Alberta Foundation of the Arts, shines a spotlight on flowers and the flower garden. Expressing a variety of artistic styles and media, the art works in this exhibition invite viewers to reflect on the beauty and fragility of these natural wonders and to appreciate and nurture the flowers in their midst.
The exhibition A Cordial Word was curated by Shane Golby and organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta for the Alberta Foundation of the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program. The (exhibition) program is supported by the Alberta Foundation of the Arts.