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Item Name: Painting
Title: Food, Live as Birds series
Maker: Grant McConnell
Year: 1991
Country: Canadian
Materials: acrylic on wood
Measurements: work: 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm
ID Number: ART 040
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: Emblazoned over a shimmering painting of a forest fire, a phrase in cursive script asks, “food or fire first”? In the foreground, baby birds poke their heads up to be fed, as if their nest were on the edge of the painting. A difficult choice: eat or get to safety? This painting is part of a series, “Live as Birds”, a set of smaller works included in an exhibition with large-scale narrative paintings which toured nationally in 1992-93. Entitled ironically as “Tales of Dominion”, the exhibition took a critical look at how Canadian identity has been constructed through retelling historical events. The word “Dominion” here references the process of colonization, and alludes to an old name for our country, “The Dominion of Canada” which signified our status as a territory under the control of the British government. McConnell is also deeply inspired by art history, and though these works are densely painted on rough plywood, his compositions and colour choices often refer to earlier historical works, and book illustrations, such as Aesop’s fables. Grant McConnell (1958 - ) was born in Ontario, and studied at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB (1978-1980) before moving to Saskatoon, for his BFA (1983) and MFA (1994) from the University of Saskatchewan. In addition to painting and curation, McDonnell is a strong leader in the local arts community. His work has been exhibited internationally, and is held in numerous private and public collections, including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Mendel Art Gallery, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina Public Library, and SaskTel.