Virtual Exhibit

Contemporary Portraiture

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Finding the Bard in Contemporary Portraiture

This gallery examines Shakespearean portraiture in contemporary Canadian visual arts. Of the sixteen pieces, five were commissioned specifically with Shakespearean adaptation in mind–many of the other images adapt Shakespeare via allusion and subtle quotation. The visible Shakespearean referents in the varied media, however, regardless of the artists’ intentionality, attest to the ways in which Shakespearean characters and story-lines permeate Canadian culture. The myriad Shakespearean representations and the manner and medium in which they are demonstrated–using food materials, papier mâché, painting, photography, found objects–testifies to the inventiveness of visual adaptations of Shakespeare in Canada, even as it puts to the question any notion of what the designation “portrait” actually means as a referent for an authentic experience of the figure represented by the portrait.

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