Previously shown at Comox Valley Art Gallery in March/April 2008, What Use Art History? is a touring exhibit featuring the work of seven B.C. artists. The exhibit, curated by Vancouver art historian Ann Rosenberg, addresses the appropriation and integration of historical art referents in contemporary artworks. The paintings, photographs, installations, sculptures and computer-generated works are accompanied by illustrated wall panels that describe their sources and antecedents.
Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, together with Ursula Medley, Justin Ogilvie, Bill Pitcher, Elizabeth Russell, Ruth Scheuing and Ed Varney, mine their respective cultural histories.
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, known for his Haida Manga, built a tongue-in-cheek version of a traditional Haida shield out of car hoods. Vancouver artist Justin Ogilvie, whose ethereal paintings are shown at the Diane Farris Gallery, references the anatomical imagery of the Old Masters. William Pitcher from Golden, BC places mythic Greek goddesses in contemporary settings using trompe loeil ink-jet murals that are dense with symbolism.
Ursula Medleys paintings of Lang Bay Amazones feature Rubenesque nudes, while Elizabeth Russells work speaks to the transformation of the semi-rural Comox Valley over the past 50 years. Vancouver artist Ruth Scheuing has reproduced a Cyborg version of Duchamps Nude Descending a Staircase in a massive textile mural. Royston-based Ed Varney, well known for his International Correspondence Art Network, has contributed three tributes to Mondrian and a fill-in-the-blanks- Mona Lisa from his Collaborations with Dead Artists series.