McIntosh Gallery receives 2023 Elizabeth L. Gordon Grant

McIntosh Gallery is thrilled to announce the recent acquisition of Meryl McMaster's When The Storm Ends I Will Finish My Work (2021) purchased in part through the support of the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program, a program of the Gordon Foundation and administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Originally created during a residency at the McCord Museum in Montreal, When the Storm Ends I will Finish My Work was one of three new works conceived by McMaster in response to a collection of nineteenth century bell jars containing taxidermied birds, held in their collection of material culture. Combining photography, video, and sculpture, McMaster questioned the desire to capture and preserve animal specimens in an attempt to freeze their bodies in time. She drew parallels between this mode of representing animal specimens and the way in which Indigenous people have been portrayed in ethnographic and natural history museums, suggesting that they, like nature, were something that needed to be preserved. In the nineteenth century, numerous Indigenous artifacts were collected and later exhibited in proximity to natural history specimens, further reinforcing the erroneous notion that Indigenous people were not part of contemporary culture. These works also addressed McMaster’s anxiety around the human desire to control nature, rather than to live harmoniously within it. 

This work was previously exhibited in McIntosh Gallery's four-person exhibition, Hunter Gatherer, which ran from September 22 – December 10, 2022. The exhibition examined the complex network of relationships between hunting and collecting, especially in the context of natural history museums, and how these relationships were reflected in a period of colonial expansion and anthropological exploitation of Indigenous peoples.

About the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program:

The Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program aims to foster a broader appreciation of Canadian visual art and artists by assisting public art galleries and museums in Ontario to grow their permanent collections, and support community engagement between a gallery or museum and its local community. In 2023, the program funded $96,350 in acquisition grants. Since the program was renewed in 2014 a total of $551,350 in grants has been made to public galleries and museums across the province.