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Above: a detail from a work by Agatha Doerksen.

P R A I R I E...AGATHA DOERKSEN, ANNE DUNLOP, CORLISS VAN CAESEELE

[First published as a text for a one-page publication for an exhibition curated by Eyland 6-25 January 2003 at the Adelaide McDermot Gallery in Winnipeg.]

Agatha

Above: a detail from a work by Anne Dunlop.

"Prairie" is a group exhibition that includes installation works by Agatha Doerksen and Corliss Van Caeseele, and a painting by Anne Dunlop.

Doerksen, Van Caeseele, and Dunlop are recent graduates of the University of Manitoba School of Art. They entered and graduated from art school as "mature students," that is, as artists whose art careers, like those of many women, had been interrupted. This is not to say that their engagement with art is recent, but that before going back to school they made art largely on their own.

Agatha

Above: a detail from a work by Corliss Van Caeseele.

Mature students tend to question and even reject what they see as the conventional art world. Their questions are hard and often skeptical about the ethos, techniques and languages of contemporary art. They come to art school with a deeper experience of the world than most undergraduates and sometimes leave in a funk, as if the so-called "art world" is further and further away.

Doerksen, Van Caeseele, and Dunlop, however, have emerged from the other side of art school without bitterness, but with energy and, most importantly, with the willingness to find their place in the world as they reconcile new knowledge of art with long experience of other worlds.

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