Talking about art takes on a whole new meaning with the opening of Creating [Con] text, the latest exhibit at the Legacy Gallery.

"Biomorphic" by Jack Shadbolt (1988)

“Biomorphic” by Jack Shadbolt (1988)

Creating [Con] text activates works of art in in UVic’s Michael Williams Bequest Collection through the oral history research of Dr. Carolyn Butler Palmer and her graduate students. Over the course of a number of years, Butler Palmer—an assistant professor in Modern and Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest for the History in Art department—and her students have gathered an extensive array of interviews with people associated with the late downtown businessman and art supporter Michael Collard Williams and the artists he collected.

"Untitled; Four Figures" by Angela Grossman (1984)

“Untitled; Four Figures” by Angela Grossman (1984)

Featuring paintings by Angela Grossman, Jack Shadbolt and Emily Carr—all eminent British Columbia painters whose careers span more than a century into the present day—Creating [Con] text allows the stories of artists, dealers, collectors, and viewers to infuse the works of art with more deeply understood meaning.

“Oral histories provide dynamic primary source materials that describe a history not found in textbooks,” says Butler Palmer, UVic’s Williams Legacy Chair. “These interviews give us new ways of interpreting the past and shed light for viewers on the relationships and influences that a single scholarly interpretation may not provide.”

Drawing upon recorded excerpts from the Oral History project, the exhibition commemorates the life of Michael Williams and his passion for art. It also illuminates the connections between the BC artists in the exhibition—artists who share many links despite the generation gaps between them. Finally it provides meaningful access to the stories around the art, preserving them for future generations.

Creating [Con] text runs from March 13 to June 15, 2013, at The Legacy Gallery, 630 Yates (corner of Broad and Yates). Free and open to the public Wednesday–Saturday, 10 am-4 pm.