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Item Name: Print
Title: O Canada
Maker: Joyce Wieland
Year: Undated (1969-70)
Country: Canadian
Materials: lithograph, edition 29/60
Measurements: in frame: 73.7 cm x 92 cm; work: 57.2 cm x 76.2 cm
ID Number: ART 113
Legal Status: ART RENTAL


Extended Label Info: The cherry-pink lips in this artwork are sounding out the words to the Canadian national anthem, “O Canada”. This image is a lithograph, an artist-made print. The lithographic process begins with the artist creating an image using a greasy medium—traditionally, drawing with a grease crayon onto a printing stone. The artist would then apply a printing-ink which sticks to the greasy image, place paper onto the image, and then run paper and stone through a printing press to transfer the inky image to the page. What makes this print stand out is that Joyce Wieland used lipstick as her “greasy” drawing medium, kissing the lithography stone to create the mouth shapes. This creative approach is emblematic of both Wieland’s Pop Art aesthetic as well as her use of humour to critique serious social and political issues. Working in the mid-twentieth century, Wieland often used materials and methods that were considered “feminine” or “domestic” at the time, such as lipstick, knitting or quilting to question those who were dismissive of artwork created by women, or through traditional craft processes. This print was part of Wieland’s exhibition “True Patriot Love” (1971), the first solo exhibition by a living female Canadian artist at the National Gallery of Canada. The artworks included quilted and knitted sculptures based on the symbols and familiar icons of Canadian nationhood. It asked viewers to think about their relationship with nationalism at a time when Canada had just celebrated its first 100th anniversary (1967) but was also struggling with internal nationalist acts of terrorism, such as the FLQ crisis in Quebec (1970). Joyce Wieland (1930-1998) was one of Canada’s most influential conceptual artists, known for her paintings, experimental films, and radical textile works. She was born in Toronto, Ontario. Her parents died when she was in primary school, and Wieland and her siblings grew up in poverty. Attending high school at the Central Technical School in Toronto, she was fortunate to be mentored by the artist, Doris McCarthy. As a young artist, Wieland also worked as an animator for a commercial art firm where she met and married fellow artist, Michael Snow. The young couple moved to New York in 1962, where Wieland soon achieved renown as an experimental filmmaker, exhibiting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They returned to Toronto in 1971. In Canada, both Wieland and Snow became prominent figures in Canadian art, and Wieland is remembered for her works that assertively engaged with issues of nationalism, feminism, and ecology.