Exhibition: Colour Wheel – February 03 – March 11, 2017


Showing in the Main Gallery


IMAGE ABOVE: Artist Wally DIon. Custom Made-More Than Visible. Photo courtesy of artist.


Exhibition Title: Colour Wheel

Artist: Wally Dion

Exhibition Dates: February 03 – March 11, 2017

Opening Reception: February 03 at 8pm-11pm

Location: Main Gallery


Artist Statement

In the past, my studio practice has focused on discourses involving marginalized groups, specifically First Nations Peoples and what can be done to improve conditions.  The work has included a social consciousness, or sense of responsibility to the land and use of its resources.  From the large scale painted portraits depicting First Nations workers to the computer circuit board quilts and mosaics, my studio practice has largely remained within the 2D pictorial space of a painter.


Instantly recognizable around the world, computer circuit boards are the hieroglyphics of our time.  People who use and depend upon their continued functioning know next to nothing about their inner language, or code.  For many people, computer circuitry is as enigmatic as the symbols carved into the side of a 3000 year old temple and yet we have enormous faith in their ability to furnish us with our lifestyles.  As precious as they are, circuit boards continue to find themselves discarded at an alarming rate.  Symbols of human ingenuity circuit boards also bear the dualistic role of being technological repositories for a culture that readily discards anything deemed obsolete.  Materials and chemicals, 100% human fabricated, are being concentrated into unsupervised waste zones.  As these technologies accumulate around the world they create landscapes with their own mythologies.  Under the colossal weight of civilization the waste is compressed forming toxic sedimentary beds complete with colourful bands of strata depicting humanities rapid ascension and collapse.  


When thinking about the land and our relationship with it I tend to focus on how much of our research looks backwards in time, digging and analyzing samples in the hope that we can gain understanding.  I am intrigued with scientific methods, drilling ice cores from Antarctica and testing their CO2 levels, or measuring the alternating sizes of tree rings.  Regarding this type of research I like to think about colour coding these rings & layers for visual re-interpretation.



Wally Dion, b.1976 Saskatoon Saskatchewan, is a visual artist living and working in Binghamton, New York. He is a member of Yellow Quill First Nation (Salteaux). Dion holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Throughout much of his career, Dion’s work has contributed to a broad conversation in the art world about identity and power, and can be interpreted as part of a much larger pan-American struggle by indigenous peoples to be recognized: culturally, economically, and politically, by settler societies. Utilizing large-scale portraiture, found object sculpture, site-specific installation & kinetic sculpture Dion has expanded upon this practice to include themes of personal history & spirituality.


Dion has exhibited extensively throughout Canada and has had numerous solo exhibitions including: Wally Dion: Star Blankets (2011) Ottawa Art Gallery; Thunderbird Series (2010), Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon; Red Worker (2008), Grunt Gallery, Vancouver; and Wally Dion (2008), MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. His work has also been included in major group exhibitions including Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes (2013), National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Fiction/Non-Fiction (2013), Esker Foundation, Calgary; Oh, Canada (2012), MASS MoCA, North Adams; Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years (2011), Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; Flatlanders: Saskatchewan Emerging Artists (2009), Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and No Word for Goodbye (2006), Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon.


Dion’s work can be found in numerous prominent collections including: the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada Council Art Bank, Aboriginal Art Centre, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, and many private collections.

The ememo is sent out on a weekly basis every Wednesday. All news submissions must be submitted by email to fineart@umanitoba.ca before Tuesday at 4:30pm to be considered for the following week’s

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