Art Toronto 2020
Maureen Gruben SOLO
Oct 28 – Nov 8, 2020
ArtTO Virtual Preview
Noon to Midnight (EST)
October 29 – 30
Public Fair Days
October 31 – November 8
Our Art Toronto Viewing Room will be available to the public on October 31.
If you are in Vancouver, you can also view the exhibition in-person in our lower gallery space from October 31 – November 8.
You can visit an interactive virtual tour of the exhibition here
Maureen Gruben is an artist based in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT whose work employs an intimate materiality. Through disassembling and re-forming polar bear fur, moose hides, seal skins, and gathered kelp, she forges a critical link between threatened arctic lands and communities, as well as international environmental and human conditions. In many pieces, abstraction of form sits in active tension with the acutely ‘real’ presence of her geographically and culturally embedded mediums. In other works, she addresses the historical persistence of specific forms, as ancestral tools re-emerge in new mediums such as concrete or fibreglass, and at altered scales.
Born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk, Gruben spent much of her childhood sewing with her mother, who was a seamstress and trapping with her father. She has a tacit knowledge of arctic land and the rich but increasingly precarious resources it offers for both survival and creation. Frequently addressing themes such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), melting ice, and the rights of indigenous hunters to maintain their way of life, Gruben’s practice is permeated with activism while at the same time allowing generous room for her materials themselves to speak. While referring explicitly inwards to localized acts of hunting, gathering, communal preparation, and sharing—and even to individual animals—her work, equally, extends decisively outwards, exploring new visual languages that offer compelling and often urgent global associations.