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Item Name: Collage
Title: Untitled
Maker: Ann Irwin
Year: 1969
Country: Canadian
Materials: mixed media
Measurements: overall: 41.9 cm x 29.2 cm
ID Number: PC89.10
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: The rich textures of paper and paint in this early mixed-media collage by Ann Irwin form an abstracted figure in a crown and ornamented robe. Like Matisse and Miro, Irwin studied artwork by children and folk artists, and strove for a simplicity of form in her abstract works. She was inspired by the colour palette and symbolic shapes in the quilting and Fraktur art techniques of the Pennsylvania Dutch, a folk tradition in her home state. She also researched collections of “Outsider Art” such as Jean Dubuffet’s La Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. Irwin often used old papers and books, fabric, and found objects as materials for her work in collage. Her compositions seem to follow a dream logic, mixing and transforming skulls, flowers, birds, houses, crosses, and trees into scenes that are both humorous and symbolic. Ann Irwin (nee Sidon) (1942 – 2005) was born in New York, and grew up in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. She studied at the Boston Museum School and earned her BFA (1964) at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Marrying fellow graduate Jed Irwin, they travelled to California and Morocco before moving to Regina in 1969. Jed worked as Curator for Dunlop Art Gallery for a year, before the couple moved to the Vancouver area, and homestead on Denham Island. In 1973, Ann Irwin developed a rare pulmonary disease. It was a watershed year: the Irwin’s divorced, and Ann moved with her children back to Pennsylvania. She apprenticed in tile design with the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a working museum and historic site. Despite chronic health challenges, Irwin also maintained a studio practice and large garden, creating an extensive body of work in collage and quilting. Exhibitions of her work include retrospectives at Kohler Art Centre (1986), and posthumously at Michener Art Museum (2011). Her artwork is held in public private collections, and is the subject of a book, “Ann Irwin: Visionary Work” by Lucas Irwin (2011).