Lyndal Osborne: Coevolution

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Lyndal Osborne coevolution

lyndal osborne coevolution

vernon public art gallery

lyndal osborne


Vernon Public Art Gallery October 13 - December 21, 2016

Vernon Public Art Gallery 3228 - 31st Avenue, Vernon BC, V1T 2H3 250.545.3173

Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Vernon Public Art Gallery 3228 - 31st Avenue, Vernon, British Columbia, V1T 2H3, Canada October 13 - December 21, 2016 Production: Vernon Public Art Gallery Editor: Lubos Culen Layout and graphic design: Vernon Public Art Gallery Text editing: Kelsie Balehowsky Cover image:Lyndal Osborne: Coevolution, 2016, (detail), mixed media installation, 300 x 600 x 100 cm Printing: Get Colour Copies, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada ISBN 978-1-927407-30-1 Copyright Š 2016, Vernon Public Art Gallery All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, except as may be expressly permitted by the 1976 Copyright Act or in writing from the Vernon Public Art Gallery. Requests for permission to use these images should be addressed in writing to the Vernon Public Art Gallery, 3228 31st Avenue, Vernon BC, V1T 2H3, Canada. Telephone: 250.545.3173 Facsimile: 250.545.9096 Website: The Vernon Public Art Gallery is a registered not-for-profit society. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee/RDNO, the Province of BC’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, British Columbia Arts Council, the Government of Canada, corporate donors, sponsors, general donations and memberships. Charitable Organization # 108113358RR.

This exhibition is sponsored in part by:

BRITISH COLUMBIA ARTS COUNCIL Supported by the Province of British Columbia

table of CONTENTS


Foreword · Dauna Kennedy


Introduction · Lubos Culen


Of Origins, Organisms and Coevolution · Roger Boulet


Artist Statements · Lyndal Osborne


Artist Acknowledgements


Lyndal Osborne · Selected Biography

executive director’s Foreword

It is with great pleasure that the Vernon Public Art Gallery welcomes Lyndal Osborne for a solo exhibition titled Coevolution which opens on October 13, 2016. An Edmontonbased artist, Osborne is known for her extensive multi-media installations. Her work brings into view the dynamics between issues relating to nature and the environment. This current exhibition consists of sculptural installations, encouraging a conversation around genetic engineering and its potential impact on traditional growing methods. This is a topic very relevant to the Okanagan Valley with its vast orchards and agriculture and we look forward to creating the opportunity for dialogue on this very important topic. This publication includes a sampling of Osborne’s work along with a critical essay by guest writer Roger Boulet and introduction by VPAG Curator, Lubos Culen. A follower of Osborne’s work, Boulet also has more than 40 years of experience in the public art gallery/museum domain for such institutions as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Director), the Burnaby Art Gallery (Director/Curator), the Edmonton Art Gallery (Head Curator), and the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan (Director/Curator). He currently works as an independent curator and consultant from Summerland, BC and his publication credits include significant works on Toni Onley and Walter J. Phillips, and a companion book, Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific Railway. I’d like to thank the staff of the VPAG for their work associated with this exhibition. Thank you to the BC Arts Council, the Regional District of the North Okanagan, and the Province of BC for their ongoing support of the Vernon Public Art Gallery, enabling us to produce quality exhibitions and publications such as this for our audience. Local support from our board of directors, members, donors and community supporters is also instrumental in our overall success and very much appreciated. Dauna Kennedy Grant Executive Director Vernon Public Art Gallery


Lyndal Osborne in her studio, working on Curtain of Life. Photo: Joseph Hartman

introduction · lyndal Osborne: coevolution

In her long artistic practice and career, Lyndal Osborne’s work has always referenced nature, the environment and ecology through different media. In her earlier studio practice, Osborne worked in two-dimensional media, namely printmaking and drawing, but as her artistic concepts evolved into complex conceptual ideas referencing ecological concerns, Osborne developed a specific format of presentation through sculpture and sculptural installations. This switch from purely two-dimensional representation into threedimensional arrangements allowed Osborne to capitalize on the power of associative qualities of objects which she assembled from a variety of objects, plant and organic matter, abandoned tools of daily activities and various other human-made objects and detritus of human existence. As Osborne describes her artistic path in her rather poetic statement from 2003, one can perceive the depth of her concerns that extend past mere aesthetic considerations. There is an urgency of her message, and despite the gravity of often misguided actions of humans upon the environment, Osborne chooses to be an active participant in the quest to find solutions: “I feel like an archeologist seeking and retrieving discarded fragments of the urban environment and the dried out remains of seasons. All have gone through their prime of life and now remain as relics of past glories. The objects are then recreated by me as a direct response to my encounters in nature in the role of observer and participant. I am expressing in my work images which are about timelessness and regeneration. In one sense it is a form of purification, but it is also a way to understand death and to celebrate life through our need to define and humanize our existence on this planet.”1 Osborne’s two-dimensional work from the early 1990s referenced the natural forms in all their complexity, but the 1996 exhibition Nature of Matter, a mixed-media exhibition, consisted of prints as the main visual forms, but it was complemented by small physical objects: rocks, eggs, kelp, Chestnut twigs, sand, and grass baskets, all incorporated within a steel structure. A definite move towards a full sculptural and conceptual installation was


realized in the 1996 exhibition titled Point of Departure, which contained predominantly natural materials: 338 bird’s nests, papier-mâché, wildflowers, cardboard, barn-wood, wood, glue, dye, shells and paint.2 Although she used print media in some future exhibitions as a backdrop in the threedimensional installation-type of presentation and conceptual design of the exhibitions she created, these two exhibitions signaled a departure in Osborne’s studio practice. The subject matter and implied meaning in Osborne’s creations started to shift from work based on observation and tactile qualities of the natural forms which reference different natural environments and contemplate human existence, into more current concerns about science, environmental stewardship and its impact on ecology. Osborne’s strong critique of science and genetically modified organisms (GMO) is present in her 2006 exhibition Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which is also an implied subject matter of the current exhibition Coevolution, presented at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. The gravity of concern about GMOs is clearly expressed in Osborne’s words: “The fictional laboratory created contains a small selection of heritage seeds (original, unaltered) that are set to one side. They exist as a miniaturized version of our past, something that is not available any more. The glass flasks and plastic tubing represent both an aspect of this genetic modification process and, more importantly, the interconnections we humans have with the plant world.”3 Osborne’s installation works were getting increasingly complex and most of the works referenced nature in its unspoiled beauty and untouched environment. These works served as mementos of what the land has been juxtaposed with the ideas of consequences of bioengineering now and in the future. Several exhibitions produced in collaboration with Edmonton-based artist Sherri Chaba quite explicitly focused on a critique of current environmental stewardship by large companies involved in the extraction of oil and gas in rural Canada. The 2011 exhibition titled The Space Between Cities serves as a cautionary tale about tailing ponds with toxic chemicals and their impact on the ecology and people that traditionally live off the land. Similar narratives were researched and presented in the 2011-2012 exhibition titled H2Oil and 2012 exhibition Collapse.


The 2012 multi-media installation Organisms selected for the current exhibition at the Vernon Public Art Gallery titled Coevolution is also Osborne’s comment on the possible results of unrestrained genetic engineering, but it is lighter in tone and references memories of agricultural abundance of harvests in Osbourne’s childhood in Australia. The second work selected for the exhibition is a multi-media installation titled Curtain of Life. The objects in this work are created almost entirely from all natural materials: dried gourds, seeds, seed pods and shells. Most of the materials for the installation were found and collected in the Okanagan Valley during Osborne’s travels. Just like in the other works, Osborn references seeds and their vital role in the existence and survival of humanity. It is an equally poignant critique of bioengineering and development of GMOs. Both sculptural installations together reiterate humanity’s need for conservation and for maintaining the biodiversity of environments both wild and those influenced by humans. Lubos Culen Curator Vernon Public Art Gallery Endnotes

1 2

3, accessed August 26, 2016 and, accessed August 26, 2016, accessed August 26, 2016


Lyndal Osborne: Amulet, 1990, lithograph, Ed. 14, 53.5 x 59 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Dave Roles 10

Of Origins, Organisms and Coevolution

by Roger Boulet I In 1990, I organized for the Edmonton Art Gallery – now the Art Gallery of Alberta – an exhibition of Lyndal Osborne’s work.1 It was meant to be a survey exhibition of her prints, with some emphasis on her recent lithographs. There were 30 prints by the artist, spanning the development of her work since 1974, and 2 drawings. Her professional career as a print artist, primarily a lithographer, had spanned some 16 years. She and her colleague Walter Jule had been tasked with the creation of the printmaking program at the University of Alberta in 1971. Her career as a printmaking professor at the University of Alberta would continue until 2004, when she retired.2 At the time of that exhibition, titled Songs of the Stone, she had begun works in an entirely different medium, sculptural objects created from various manufactured or natural elements. Three of these enigmatic sculptures were exhibited. These were the beginning of an entirely new direction in her work which would prove to be of longer duration than her career as an internationally-exhibiting print artist. The common thread that binds the two bodies of work is the natural world. Like many artists before her, she was inspired by her lifelong love of nature. Its forms and its transitions, from generation to decay, have provided never-ending subject matter. The life force inherent in nature, so marvellously expressed by Australian aboriginal artists, was the other inspiration. This led to the installations where natural objects themselves became her medium, as her subject matter eventually evolved towards environmental issues, climate change and biodiversity. A number of early 20th century artists had focused on natural forms in a genre referred to as biomorphism, commonly understood as abstract forms inspired by living organisms, such as plants and animals. Jean Arp and Joan Miró are often cited as artists employing biomorphic forms. The British artists Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore were also inspired by natural forms such as rocks and shells. There was also a relationship between biomorphism and a concept expressed by the philosopher Henri Bergson, In 1908 he introduced the concept of élan vital, perhaps best understood as a life force or energy inherent in the principle of natural growth. Even inanimate objects were transformed by their contact with natural forces such as wind and water. The concept of élan vital has been revisited more recently by Gilles Deleuze. 11

Lyndal Osborne: Tableaux of Transformation, 1998, mixed media installation, 244 x 610 x 16 cm. Collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Photo: Mark Freeman.


II I have often thought of biomorphism when considering Lyndal Osborne’s collections of natural objects. One installation, exhibited at the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2002 as part of the exhibition Geographies & Objects of Enticement is entitled Tableaux of Transformation (1998) and presents her collections within a rigid window-like framework. These collections are the raw material for much of her work, natural objects as well as manufactured objects found in natural environments. Her use of these elements as medium, combined with printmaking and other artistic techniques, creates new forms evoking and celebrating nature. Another exhibition occurring in the Okanagan Valley in 2009 was Ornamenta. The exhibition, organized the previous year by the Robert McLaughlan Gallery (Oshawa) was hosted by the Penticton Art Gallery and included two installations, Garden (2005) and Archipelago (2008). She had first visited the valley towards the end of July 1994, at the time of the Garnet Valley fire. The hazy landscsape still held her fascination as well as the semi-arid landscape of sandy soil and sage. Subsequent visits associated with the Okanagan Valley exhibitions would amplify her exploration of natural abundance and regeneration. By the mid-2000s, Lyndal Osborne became preoccupied with industrialized agricultural practices and genetically modified crops which she could view first hand around her home on the southern fringes of Edmonton. Extensive readings on these practices were not an especially happy time. She seems to have addressed these issues for the first time in an installation entitled Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2006). Seed forms greatly magnified, seductive by their robust nature and exuberant colour, presented the viewer with the notion of genetic manipulation. Another work, presented in the Coevolutions exhibition, is entitled Organisms (2012). The artist’s whimsy shines through in the presentation of 100 colourful balls, each of individual manufacture, presented lollipop style on bleacher-like shelving against a more sombre photographic backdrop, perhaps a memory of a courtyard garden, or an oblique reference to the protected hortus conclusus, an enclosed garden offering both protection and a contained or controlled environment. The subject is genetic engineering and its seduction of endless possibilities first suggested in the laboratory experiments of Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Opposite page: Lyndal Osborne: Tableaux of Transformation, 1998, (detail). Photo: Roger Boulet. 15

Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation, 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: John Freeman. 16

Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation, 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman. 17

Mariposa Fruit Stand, Keremeos, BC. Photo: Lyndal Osborne

III The genesis of the current work, Curtain of Life, goes back to a trip to the Okanagan Valley three years ago in 2013. We drove to Keremeos, in the Similkameen Valley, to one of my favourite fruit stands called Mariposa. They always have the best pumpkin and squash display in the fall. They seem to grow every kind of squash one can imagine, as well as gourds of different shapes and sizes. While the emphasis is on food, they always grow a small field of ornamental gourds, curiosities of the vegetable world, that have been repurposed for rattles, eating vessels and musical instruments in various parts of the world. The squash and gourd displays in themselves are something to behold. The endless variety, colour and texture is mesmerizing. Even a single type can yield fascinating variations. The visual seduction is endless. She had used gourds in her work before but now began a more methodical exploration of their possibilities in about 2010 with a small work entitled Polyp. Returning in 2014, she began to negotiate the future acquisition of a number of gourds. These we picked up in the fall of 2015. Her small SUV was packed with boxes of them, especially bottle gourds and swan-neck gourds. She had purchased about 180 gourds of about 20 different varieties with different shapes and sizes. During that same visit, at the Grist Mill in Keremeos, she became fascinated with the giant zucca melon, re-introduced to the area from heritage seed obtained from an Illinois farmer who had been growing zucca for 30 years. The zucca (lagenaria siceraria) had originally been introduced to the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys in the late 1930s, its tasteless rind being used in the making of candied peel and as an extender in jam production. Its cultivation was phased out in the early 1950s.3 After drying the collection of gourds for up to a year in her studio, she began to explore ways in which they could be used and transformed, and these eventually led to the creation of the Curtain of Life. The use of gourds (whose forms remind one of the sculptures of Jean Arp) seem to bring the artist closer to biomoprhism, although for Lyndal Osborne, the natural objects themselves are the medium. In fact, in Curtain of Life, 99% of the materials used are derived from plant material. The remaining 1% consists of seashells. The drying process makes the gourds very light. Using wheat paste, the dried gourds were covered with chine collĂŠ tissue paper. This provided a suitable surface for a coating of acrylic paint mixed with plaster of Paris, producing a fresco-like surface that could take on lightly tinted paints readily. Carefully selected seed pods were then glued to the gourd


A Zukka Melon encrusted with dried peas, 66 x 26 cm diameter Photo: Lyndal Osborne

forms. Pale pastel colours were applied to add a sense of life to the resulting forms. One of the elements in Curtain of Life is a dried zucca melon encrusted with dried peas. She considered a variety of frameworks to present the collection of encrusted gourds before settling on a wide suspended vertical curtain, allowing the gourds to move freely. The curtain consists of about 200 forms occupying a space of approximately 3 metres in height, and about 6 metres long, with depth of about one metre, to be exhibited on one side of the Vernon Public Art Gallery space. The effect is enhanced by the songs of invisible birds. The intent is to suggest a biodiversity of individual forms, encrusted with seeds suggesting continuity, and the potential of renewal or regeneration. Or the expression of a hope that somehow, in spite of pollution and a changing environment, the seeds will survive and adapt to changing conditions, perhaps in mutated forms. The pale colour also suggests a kind of loss of vitality, as happens in the widespread phenomenon of coral bleaching due to changes in water temperature brought on by warm El NiĂąo currents. Her readings on climate change, both cyclical and accelerated by human activity, inform the Curtain of Life. IV Curtains fall, curtains rise. For an encore or for any entirely new performance. In her readings about historical and contemporary agricultural practices she came across the existence of seed banks on various continents to ensure their preservation in case of ecological catastrophes such as flooding and drought.4 As she writes: The world is full of seeds: important both in nature and our culture and fundamental to our survival. Because seeds are commonplace in our lives their fragility is often overlooked and their continued existence taken totally for granted by many in North America. Without the constant regeneration and growth of seeds we cannot exist. The vitality and beauty of fruits and their seeds is my inspiration in a world that is undergoing many threats to seed diversity brought on by climate change. My intention is to present a work that celebrates the possibility for continued seed/fruit biodiversity.5


This regenerative force, inevitably occurring, conquering, is akin to the notion of ĂŠlan vital. Faced with the destructive effects of pollution, along with the non-regenerative nature of many genetically modified seeds, Curtain of Life presents a vision of new life against such odds, and how different species seem to evolve in relationship to others, which is what the idea of Coevolution implies, at least as a possibility, if not as a fact. Organisms develop both individually and as a result of other organisms in their environment. We are reminded of an action of The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia and its efforts to regenerate life in areas previously affected by pollution. In the spring of 2015, the Society sank the obsolete 110 metre destroyer escort HMCS Annapolis to the sea floor in Halkett Bay Provincial Park on Gambier Island near Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver creating an artificial reef where sea life had once thrived. One year later the site boasts “tubeworms, sea stars, anemones, mussels, prawns, rockfish, pollock, schools of perch and more.â€?6 It is this determination to life inherent in nature that is presented for our contemplation, and the gourds, usually full of seeds, bring to mind a memorable quote from the nature writer Hal Borland: Man is wise and constantly in quest of more wisdom; but the ultimate wisdom, which deals with beginnings, remains locked in a seed. There it lies, the simplest fact of the universe and at the same time the one which calls forth faith rather than reason.7 Roger H. Boulet Summerland, BC 1st September 2016

Lyndal Osborne: Curtain of Life, 2016, mixed media installation, 300 x 600 x 100 cm (approximate). Collection of the artist. Photo: Janet Savill


Endnotes 1 2


4 5 6 7

. Boulet, Roger H. Lyndal Osborne – Songs of the Stone. Edmonton: The Edmonton Art Gallery, 1990. . For an excellent analysis of the artist’s prints, see Melinda Pinfold’s essay “Lyndal Osborne: Bowerbird - Life as Art” in a publication of the same title, Alberta Gallery of Art, 2014, documenting a retrospective curated by Catherine Crowston. . Sharon Rempel and Cuyler Page. “Return of the Zucca Melon” (http://www.grassrootsolutions. com/pdf/Pages%2043-36%20from%20Every%20Seed%20090316%20final%20printed%20(1).pdf) (Accessed 8 August 2016) . For a listing of seedbank facilities around the world, and their development, see: (Accessed 1 September 2016. . Notes sent to the author in 2016. . See: (Accessed 27-08-2016) . Hal Borland (1900-1978) - “The Certainty” - April 5, Sundial of the Seasons A Selection of Outdoor /Editorials from the New York Times. New York: J.B. Lipincott Co. (1964).

Roger H. Boulet is a public art gallery and museum professional with more than 40 years of experience, including positions as Director of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Director/ Curator of the Burnaby Art Gallery, Head Curator then Director of the Edmonton Art Gallery, Director/Curator of the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. He has a number of books and publications to his credit, including significant works on Toni Onley and Walter J. Phillips. A recent publication is the companion book, Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific Railway, to the exhibition by the same name organized by Calgary’s Glenbow Museum in 2009. He has also been engaged as Adjunct Curator of Historical Art for the Kamloops Art Gallery and continues to work as an independent curator and consultant from his home in Summerland, BC.


Artist Statements

Curtain of Life

The world is full of seeds: important both in nature and our culture and fundamental to our survival. Because seeds are commonplace in our lives their fragility is often overlooked and their continued existence taken for granted by many in North America. Without the constant regeneration and growth of seeds we cannot exist. The vitality and beauty of fruits and their seeds is our inspiration in a world that is undergoing many threats to seed diversity brought on by climate change. The vitality and beauty of fruits and their seeds is my inspiration and this piece celebrates the possibility for continued plant biodiversity. I have chosen to work primarily in a very pastel colour range. I considered how the lack of intense hues can suggest a kind of fading out or disappearance. White can also reference the beauty of the cold winter months when most plant life is snow-covered. On the ground underneath lies a collection individual forms that have split open to reveal a very constructed inner life of iridescence and mystery. All of forms have been constructed from natural materials exploring the rich variety of specimens using multitudes of dried gourd forms overlaid with seed and seedpods and occasionally shells. Lyndal Osborne, 2016



Organisms is a playful representation of the variety that occurs in nature and the possible results of unrestrained genetic engineering. The diversity of species in birds, seeds, fruit and fish inspired the choices in colour, texture and range of materials. One hundred individual balls are constructed from dried wild flowers from my garden with an assortment of discarded natural and man-made materials. As a child in Australia I always looked forward to the annual agricultural fairs that displayed fruit, vegetables, flowers, pickles and pies. I have long been thinking about a way I could use the bleacher-like shelves in my work. This was the perfect opportunity. Lyndal Osborne, 2012


works in the exhibition


Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, mixed media installation (aerial roots, artificial teeth, banana stalks, Broome stalks, Canola seeds, chicken bones, chopped rubber, copper wire, crab/lobster bands, Cuttle fish, Day Lilly flowers and stalks, discarded plastic, DNA model, Dogwood, dried grass, earth, elastic bands, felt, Eucalypt nuts, Eucalypt seeds, Evening Scented Stocks, felt stoppers, glue, Horsetail, Hosta flower stalks, indoor plant leaves, kelp, kelp floats, Kurrajong seedpods, Larch, leather, lobster antennae, Lotus, Monsterio, moss, mussels, paint, paper mache, pencil crayons, pipettes, plastic stir sticks, pom-poms, Protea leaves, Queen of the Night, Rhubarb seeds, rope, Russian Lilac, sea fan, seaweed, seed pods, Port Jackson shark eggs, shuttle cocks, speaker wire, sponge wands, Spruce, steel pins, steel, telegraph wire, thumb tacks, Tree Fern, Tuckamore twigs, twine, twist ties, Wild Clematis, and Willow). Dimensions: 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman 28


Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation. Dimensions: 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman

Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation. Dimensions: 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman

Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation. Dimensions: 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman

Lyndal Osborne: Organisms, 2012, (detail), mixed media installation. Dimensions: 213.4 x 251.5 x 132 cm Collection of the artist. Photo: Mark Freeman

Lyndal Osborne: Curtain of Life, 2016, mixed media installation (dried gourds, various seed and seedpods, shells, paint, glues and wires, metal, fishing line, programmable lights, and sound track of birdcalls), dimensions: 300 x 600 x 100 cm (approximate) Basic forms: Bottle, Water jug, Chinese bottle, Apache dipper, Mexican bottle, Long, Banana, Zucca and Kyakanari gourds. Attached to the gourd forms: Juniper berries, Coconuts, Larkspur, Hollyhock, Allium, Sumac, Acacia, Patani pods, Baobab, Pumpkin, Cherries, Peach, Apricot, Grapes, Mung beans, Iris, Walnut, Columbine, Rose hips, Peas, Watermelon, many varieties of Eucalyptus, Moth flower, Jacaranda, Water lily, Claw’s Ash, Hakea, Mountain Devil, Day lilies, Alberta poppy, Passion Fruit, Alder, Carrigana, Cycad, Magnolia, Palm nuts, oak nuts, pine cones, ginseng, olive, date, lamb’s ear, corn, pepper stalks, sunflowers, Oriental Poppies, Everlasting flowers, Deer Eye seeds, Black Ash Eucalyptus, Kelp, small shells and Pipi shells. Collection of the artist. Photo: Janet Savill

Lyndal Osborne: Curtain of Life, 2016, (details)mixed media installation (dried gourds, various seed and seedpods, shells, paint, glues and wires, metal, fishing line, programmable lights, and sound track of birdcalls), dimensions: 300 x 600 x 100 cm (approximate) Collection of the artist. Photo: Janet Savill








Artist Acknowledgements

It is my honour to accept the invitation to exhibit in the Vernon Public Art Gallery. I am grateful to Lubos Culen, curator of the Vernon Public Art Gallery, for this opportunity to show two of my works. Early inspiration for The Curtain of Life developed from fall visits to Keremeos, BC, when I began collecting dried gourds as an artist’s material for my ongoing research into fruit and seeds. Roger Boulet, the writer for this publication, Coevolution, deserves special thanks for the breadth of his knowledge, insights and ongoing discussion throughout its preparation. In 1990 Roger Boulet curated another exhibition of mine, Songs of the Stone at the Edmonton Art Gallery when he was serving as director. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to reconnect and discuss one’s work some 26 years later. I also wish to thank my current assistant, Kelly Johner, and the many others who have helped in the collection of materials and the production and installation of these works. My partner, John Freeman, deserves a very special acknowledgement for his help with every aspect of the show but especially the technical aspects of the lighting and sound system. Finally, I wish to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous funding assistance, which has contributed to the preparation of this exhibition. Lyndal Osborne, 2016


LYNDAL OSBORNE curriculum vitae

18610 Ellerslie Rd. SW Edmonton, Alberta T6W 1A5 Canada Phone: (780) 988 8444 Email: Born: 1940 Newcastle, NSW, Australia Education

1971 1961

MFA, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (Printmaking) BA, National Art School and Sydney Teacher’s College, Sydney, Australia


1971- 2004 Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton (Professor Emeritus) 1970 Instructor, University of Houston, Houston, Texas Awards

2016 Atco Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement 2006 Salute to Excellence Award, City of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta 2006 Alberta Centennial Medal, Edmonton, Alberta 2005 Helen Collinson Award, Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund, Edmonton 2004 Performance Award, Salute to Excellence, City of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta 1998 Elected Member, Royal Canadian Academy of Art 1991 J. Gordon Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton 1990 McCalla Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton Real Canadian Superstore Award ’90 (Established Artist Category) Solo Exhibitions

2016 2015

Lyndal Osborne Shoalwan: River through Fire, River of Ice, The Reach, Abbotsford, BC Where Rivers Meet Sea, Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington, Ontario Cabinet of Curiosities, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta


2014 2013 2012 2010 2009 2008 2006 2004 2003 2002 2000 1998 1996 1995 1993 1992


Lyndal Osborne: Looking at Nature Galerie Jean-Claude Bergeron, Ottawa, Ontario Bowerbird: Life as Art, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Rivers, University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba Cabinet of Curiosities, BMO World of Creativity, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Where Rivers Meet Sea, The Rooms: Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s, Nfld. Tracing Tides, Discovery Centre, Gros Morne National Park, Nfld. ab ovo, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan Ornamenta, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Esplanade Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta Ornamenta, Harcourt House Arts Centre, Edmonton; Penticton Art Gallery, Penticton, B.C. Ornamenta, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario; Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario Garden, Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta Shoalwan: River Through Fire, River of Ice, Capital X, Sportex, Edmonton L’oeuvre au naturel ou du naturel a l’oeuve, Musée Regional de Rimouski, Rimouski, Québec Shoalwan: River Through Fire, River of Ice, Whyte Museum of the Rockies, Banff, Alberta Selections from Poetic Structure of the World, Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario Illusions, Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, Alberta Geographies & Objects of Enticement, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, B.C. Poetic Structure of the World, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta Poetic Structure of the World, FAB Gallery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta De Leon White Gallery, Toronto, Ontario SNAP Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta Keyano College Gallery, Fort McMurray, Alberta Natural Survivors, Malaspina Printmakers Gallery, Vancouver, B.C. Objects from Nature & Imagination, Manitoba Printmakers Association Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba Lyndal Osborne: Songs of the Stone, National Library Gallery, Montivedego, Uruguay Lyndal Osborne: Songs of the Stone, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta Estudio Lisenberg, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cordoba, Rosario & Mar del Plata)


1983 Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta 1982 La Troisieme Gallery, (ARG), Québec City, Québec 1976 Lyndal Osborne: Prints and Drawings, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta Selected Duo and Group Exhibitions

2015 Imprints, AFA Travelling Exhibition Program, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Water, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, AB 2014 90 x 90, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Our Own Backyard (with Mary Abma), Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, Ontario Regions of Distinction: Edmonton members of the RCA Enterprise Square Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta 2013 Ecotone, Nickle Art Galleries, Calgary, Alberta ize Matters: Big Prints from around the World, Enterprise Square Gallery, U of A, Edmonton, Alberta Ecotone, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta 2012 Flax Field, collaboration with John Freeman, Concordia University College, Edmonton Animal, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia Imprint: Art from the AGA Collection, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Witness, with Sherri Chaba, Strathcona County Art Gallery @ 501, Sherwood Park, Alberta Animal, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario 2011 4th Biennale International Portneuf, collaboration with John Freeman, Deschambault, Québec 2112: Imagining the Future, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia Animal, Kenderdine Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Museum London, London, Ontario Cereal Gen, with Alex Moon, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta Farm Show: Seeding, Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Red Deer, Alberta Farm Show: Growing, collaboration with Sherri Chaba, Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Red Deer, Alberta 2010 A Renaissance, Organized by Art and Life, Enterprise Square Gallery, Edmonton


2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2001 2000 1999 1998

Timeland: 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton 10th Symposium international d’art in situ, collaboration with John Freeman, Val David, Québec Seeing Through Modernism: Edmonton 1970 -1985, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton Oil, Science & Soil, collaboration with Sherri Chaba, Capital Arts Building Gallery, Edmonton Imagining Science: An Exploration of Science, Society and Social Change, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton Landscape Stories, Moose Jaw Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Kennedy Art Gallery, North Bay, Ontario Landscape Stories, Esplanade Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta Tidal Trace, collaboration with John Freeman, Kerry Woods Gallery, Red Deer, Alberta Landscape Stories, Thames Gallery, Chatham, Ontario Tidal Trace, collaboration with John Freeman, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art 2005, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta human/nature: Contemporary Canadian Installation, Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK; Doland Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong Tidal Trace, collaboration with John Freeman, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton River City, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton Fluttering Ways, (Triennial), Adria Palace Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic Lines of Site: 2000, Old Town Hall Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art 1998, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton 20/20 Vision: Roots, collaboration Brian Webb Dance, L’Uni Theatre, La CitéFrancophone, Edmonton Lines of Site Ideas, Form & Materialities, Gulbenkian Galleries, London, UK; Musashino Art University Galleries, Tokyo, Japan Nature, Culture and Community, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC (un)natural Histories, with Gwen Curry, Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, Alberta Selected Works, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery, Corner Brook, Nfld.



Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art 1998, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta Beauty and the Banal, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton 1997 Hung, Drawn and Quartered, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton Of Mudlarkers & Measurers, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario; Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario (un)natural Histories, with Gwen Curry, Open Space Gallery, Victoria, B.C. 1996 Site Markers, Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta 1994 Collecting Edmonton: A Passion Show, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton 1991 Imprints: New Alberta Art, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta 1988 Edmonton Prints in Brazil, Brazilia, Campinas, Curitibu, San Paulo Surroundings, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta 1984 Contemporary Canadian Printmaking, Queensland College of Art, Queensland, Australia (tour) 1983 Duo Exhibition (with Liz Ingram), World Bank Gallery, Washington, D.C. 1982 Canadian Contemporary Printmakers, Bronx Museum of Fine Art, Bronx, N.Y. (tour in USA) 1980 Canadian Prints, sponsored by the World Print Council, San Francisco, California Not Just Another Print Exhibition, Alberta 75th Anniversary Commission (Alberta tour) 1979 Alberta Art, (Tour in Japan: Sapporo, Obihiro, Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Yokohama), Japan 1977 Realism in Canada: Traditional and New, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba 1976 17 Canadian Artists: A Protean View, Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C. 1975 Alberta Art Foundation Premier International Exhibition, (tour: London, Brussels, Paris) International Invitational and Juried Print Exhibitions 1968-2004 (Over 250 exhibitions)

Argentina: Buenos Aires; Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bathurst, Warrnambool, Freemantle, Maitland, Grafton; Belgium: Brussels; Brazil: Cabo Frio, San Paulo, Curitibu, Brazilia; Bulgaria: Sophia, Varna Canada: Ottawa, Kitchener, Medicine Hat, Toronto, Kelowna, Vancouver, Burnaby, Brantford, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Guelph, QuĂŠbec City, Red Deer, Kelowna, London, Hamilton; Czech Republic: Prague; Egypt: Giza; Finland:


Jyvaskyla; France: Paris; Germany: Berlin, Nurnberg, Frechen; Iceland: Reykjavik; India: Bhopal, Bharat Bhavan; Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Kochi-shi, Hakodate, Sapporo, Kanagawa, Wakayama, Nagoya, Amagasaki; Korea: Seoul; Netherlands: Maastricht; Norway: Fredrikstad; Poland: Torun, Cracow, Katowice, Poznan, Lodz; ROC: Taiwan, Hong Kong; Slovenia: Ljubljana; Spain: Ibza; Sweden: Stockholm; UK: Bradford, London; Uruguay: Montivedego; USA: Auburn, Chicago, San Francisco, Flint, Dickinson, Miami, Silvermine, Lubbock, Worcester, St. Joseph, Boston, New York, Columbus, Houston, Kingston, Los Angeles, New Canaan, Corvallia, Columbus Selected Catalogues

2016 2015 2014

Shoalwan: River Through Fire River of Ice: curator Schnieder, Laura, The Reach, BC Of Water and Tides Curator: Longchamps, Denis Essayist: Talbot, Jacques (Art Gallery of Burlington, Ontario) Our Own Backyard: Mary Abma & Lyndal Osborne. Daniels, Lisa (J & N Alix Art Gallery), Sarnia, Ontario Bowerbird: Life as Art. Curator: Crowston, Catherine, essays: Garneau, David & Pinfold, Melinda (Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta) 2013 The Rooms PAGES (Where Rivers Meet Sea). Pinfold, Melinda. (The Rooms, St. John’s, Nfld.) 2012 Where Rivers Meet Sea: Lyndal Osborne. Pinfold, Melinda. (The Rooms, St. John’s, Nfld.) Witness: Sherri Chaba and Lyndal Osborne. Harris, Steven. (Strathcona County Art Gallery, Sherwood Park, Alberta) 2011 2112: Imagining The Future. (RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia) Animal, Ghaznavi, Corinna. (Museum London, London, Ontario) Lake: A Journal of Arts & Environment, Craig, Briar. (UBC Okanagan, Kamloops, B.C.) 2009 Timeland: 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, Rhodes, Richard. (Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta) 2008 Imagining Science: Art Science and Social Change, eds. Caulfield, Sean and Caulfield, Timothy. (University of Alberta Press, Edmonton). Lyndal Osborne: Ornamenta. Jansma, Linda and Eichorn, Virginia. (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario). 2007 Landscape Stories: Erik Edson, Lyndal Osborne, Rod Strickland (Thames Art Gallery, Chatham, Ontario) essayists: Daniela Sneppova, Diana Sherlock 2004 human/nature: Contemporary Canadian installation, Gogarty, Amy. ( University of Alberta, Dept. of Foreign Affairs &Canadian Consulate) Chinese & English


2003 2000 1999 1997 1995 1991 1990

Shoalwan: River Through Fire, River of Ice. Christensen, Lisa. (Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta) Geographies & Objects of Enticement. Holubizky, Ihor. (Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, B.C.) Lyndal Osborne: The Poetic Structure of the World. Garneau, David. (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta) Lines of Site: Ideas, Forms and Materialities. (Dept Art and Design, University of Alberta, Edmonton) Mudlarkers & Measurers, Dhaliwal, Sarindar. (Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario) (un)natural Histories: Gwen Curry and Lyndal Osborne. Laurence, Robin. (Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, Alberta) Inside/Out: Four Artists from Edmonton. (Krakow International, Kracow, Poland & SNAP, Edmonton) Boulet, Roger essay on Lyndal Lyndal Osborne: Songs of the Stone. Boulet, Roger. (Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta)

Selected Reviews

2015 2014 2013

2012 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007

Gil McElroy “Lyndal Osborne at the Art Gallery of Burlington” Akimbo Blog (Feb 17) Matejko, Agienszka. “Collector’s Delight”. Vue Weekly, Feb13-Feb19 Griwkowsky, Fish. “Transforming Nature’s Gifts”. Edmonton Journal, Feb 1 (E4) Matejko, Agnieszka. “Lyndal Osborne and Sherri Chaba.” Sculpture, Volume 32, #4 (May 2013). Priegert, Portia. “Natural Abundance.” Galleries West (Summer 2013), pp 36-39. Hayward, Karla. “Meet the Collector (Where Rivers Meet Sea).” The Telegram (St Johns, Nfld.), September 21, 2012, p A1, B1-3. Ryan, Janice. “Installations explore effects on oil industry and landscape.” Edmonton Journal (Edmonton) July 28, 2012. Garneau, David. “Lyndal Osborne: ab ovo.” Vie Des Arts, #218 (Spring 2010), p16. Dhaliwal, Sarindar. “Lyndal Osborne: Ornamenta.” Espace, #88 (Summer 2009) pp 42-43. McElroy, Gil. “Lyndal Osborne.“ Sculpture (April 2009). Bouchard, Gilbert. “Art & science collide in a beautiful way.” Edmonton Journal, Nov 15, p D2. Garneau, David. “Saskatoon, human/nature.” Vie des Arts, No. 198, p 92-93.


2004 2003 2002 2001 1997 1996

Laviolette, Mary Beth. “Lyndal Osborne: Whyte Museum of Rockies.” Canadian Art (Spring), p 88. Banff, Alberta, Lyndal Osborne. Donovan, Ruth. Sculpture October Eichorn, Virginia. “Lyndal Osborne: Poetic Structure of World.” Espace (Fall 2003), p 42. Pearson, Gary. “Lyndal Osborne.” Gary Pearson, Sculpture, Volume 21, #8, p 87. Garneau, David. “River City.” Canadian Art (Winter 2001), p 82. Richardson, Joan. “Rigours of Collecting: Rituals of ‘Seeing.” Border Crossings (Winter), pp 61-66. Garneau, David. “Lyndal Osborne: Boxed Set.” Canadian Art (Winter 1996), p 78.

Lyndal Osborne’s work is represented in 75 permanent collections in USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, including universities, corporations, regional and provincial art galleries and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.


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