I was absolutely delighted when I found out the Winnipeg Art Gallery would be displaying Wanda Koop’s portscapes again. Never heard of a portscape? That’s the name a lively ten year old boy created last week to describe Wanda’s intriguing series of landscapes skillfully drawn inside faces. I was giving a tour at the Winnipeg Art Gallery to grade five and six students. We had been in the Group of Seven gallery looking at landscapes. We talked about what a landscape is. Then I took the students into another gallery where we examined portraits and tried to figure out what we could learn about the people in the portraits by looking carefully at how the artist drew them. Finally we visited Wanda Koop’s View From Here exhibit. “Are these portraits or landscapes?” I asked the kids. One boy piped up enthusiastically. “They are portraits AND landscapes. We should call them portscapes.”
“That’s perfect,” I said excitedly. “Can I tell other people who come to the art gallery about your new word?”
“Sure,” he said grinning broadly. We went on to examine each of Wanda’s portscapes figuring out how she had used things in her landscapes to create facial features for each portrait.
Then I had the students create some portscapes of their own. They did a great job.
One reason I love giving tours to children at the art gallery is because every single time I learn something new from them. This week I learned about portscapes. What are portscapes? Come to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see Wanda Koop’s View From Here and find out!
Portraits or Landscapes?
Haunted by Ghosts
Through the Eyes of A Child
Every spring the Winnipeg Art Gallery celebrates the talents of the young students in its studio programs by displaying their work in an exhibit called Through the Eyes of A Child. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Through the Eyes of A Child and the exhibit includes a timeline of art instruction history at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as well as video footage of some of the studio’s former students talking about their experiences in art classes. The most famous of these is Wanda Koop a Canadian artist of international renown. Her work Helicopter is included in this year’s display. My favorite piece in the Through the Eyes of the Child exhibit was this one about cats. Check out the cat shaped back drop, the cat lady in her chair surrounded by cats, all the framed portraits of cats on the wall, cats on the curtains, the cat headboard on the bed and the little litter box down in front. Delightful. Another display that caught my eye was one of famous structures around the world as envisioned by kids.
Elvira Finnegan’s Wedgwood Teacup
This year’s exhibit also features work by some of the talented instructors who have been part of the studio program. I was drawn to Jordan Sewell’s piece Ashley because it reminded of the buildings in the Exchange District where I live.
Through the Eyes of A Child runs till May 8.
Through the Eyes of A Child
What Talent! Olympus Inspired Art
Stopping By Woods Kids’ Style
Are they portraits or landscapes? Wanda Koop’s exhibit The View From Here now on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery blends portraits and landscapes in a way that is intriguing. I’ve taken a half-dozen or so tours through the exhibit and kids love it. Wanda has created landscapes within a facial outline. Some are city landscapes like this one featuring the Manitoba Legislative building while others are clearly country landscapes.
One little girl told me the trees in this portrait/landscape looked like cuts that had been stitched up almost as if the person had been hurt and her injuries had left scars. Wanda places the ‘eyes’ in each work on the horizon line and other elements in the landscape act as the nose and mouth. The kids on my tours have great fun finding the various facial features. One boy told me the sun was the left eye in this portrait, the cloud to the right was the other eye winking, and the log was the mouth. I make sure the children know that Wanda is from Winnipeg and I tell them how her artwork has been seen all around the world in England, Holland, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Japan, India, China and the United States. I also tell them about Art City, the program Wanda started that brings artists and inner city Winnipeg kids together to be creative. After we’ve looked at Wanda’s eight huge paintings I give the kids a paper with a facial outline like Wanda’s and ask them to create a portrait/landscape of their own. The artwork Wanda inspires the kids to make is just marvelous. I’ve had children do portrait/landscapes for autumn, in outer space, at the beach, on a starry night and in the jungle. I need to bring my camera on some of my upcoming tours to take photos of the children’s innovative pieces in Wanda Koop style.
Landscapes for the End of Time
Portraits by Western Canadian Female Artists
Thanks to the Winnipeg Art Gallery I’m in the Newsletter of the Pre-Raphaelite Art Society
Filed under Art, Winnipeg