Barb Hunt antipersonnel, 1998 and ongoing, approximately 50 knitted sculptures, Collection of the artist ©2001 Barb Hunt
Present Tense 20: Barb Hunt
Twentieth in the Present Tense series at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Barb Hunt’s installation, antipersonnel, uses knitting to create replicas of anti-personnel land mines. In various shades of pink wool, Hunt combines irony with ritual, using a traditionally feminine textile skill as a way of coping with grief and loss. The repetitive nature of her work serves as a metaphor for protection and healing.
Her reproductions are innocent and even seductive, contemptuously mimicking an ominously lethal weapon capable of maiming and, often, killing. After visiting a demonstration in Paris in 1998, Hunt was alarmed by the immense prevalence of land mines and was moved by precarious attempts to eradicate mines from the world. Inspired, she began knitting replicas, cataloguing the astounding variety and proliferation of land mines around the globe.
Barbara Hunt is from Winnipeg and currently lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. She studied at the University of Manitoba and the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver before receiving her Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal in 1994. Her work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions across Canada, and was most recently acclaimed in museopathy this past summer in Kingston, Ont., at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.
"Present Tense was established at the AGO to create an arena for responses to new ideas in the art world," says Matthew Teitelbaum, director of the AGO. "We have included Canadian and international artists of various generations, in the spirit of celebration and recognition that audiences look to the AGO to link to the changing tempo of their times."
The Present Tense series at the AGO features intimate focused exhibitions of new work by Canadian and international contemporary artists. As a continuous series of projects, Present Tense attempts to share with the viewer the range and complexity of artistic production today. The Present Tense series is sponsored by The Contemporary Circle, which was formed in the fall of 1996 as a way for its founders to support new art initiatives at the AGO.
The AGO is proud to celebrate its centennial year, beginning September, 2001. The Art Gallery of Ontario''s collection comprises more than 25,000 works representing 1,000 years of extraordinary European, Canadian, modern, Inuit and contemporary art. This important collection, along with the Gallery''s preeminence in art education programs, makes the AGO one of Canada''s most significant public resources for the advancement of the visual arts in Canada.