Shary Boyle Will Represent Canada at 2013 Venice Biennale

Shary Boyle, “Untitled,” 2004, from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. (Courtesy the artist and Jessica Bradley Art + Projects)

Canada’s announcement that it has selected artist Shary Boyle for its 2013 Venice Pavilion has generated quite a few interesting articles about its controversial selection process, the poor state of its pavilion in Venice and even some questions about the timing of the announcement. All that in a moment; first, let’s describe Ms. Boyle and her work.

Ms. Boyle, 40, is a major figure in Canada but has only appeared in the United States infrequently. Chelsea’s ZieherSmith put her in a group show titled “Important Canadian Art” back in 2004, and she appeared in a group show at the ISE Foundation in New York in 2008. The Glove and Mail says that she is known for “paintings, drawings and small ceramic sculptures that feature kitschy spirits and sprites with a dark, feminist twist.” She is represented by Toronto’s Jessica Bradley Art + Projects.

The Globe and Mail explains some of the difficulties with the Canadian pavilion:

The building, which has neither a washroom nor any storage, is in need of renovation, but it’s not entirely clear who owns it, let alone who might pay for necessary improvements.

The National Gallery of Canada is generally considered the owner of the pavilion, and has been paying for very basic maintenance. Ms. Boyle gamely tells the paper that she loves the space, citing its “cottage-like vibe.” The paper also goes into the complications present in the selection process, which are a bit too messy to go into here.

The Ottawa Citizen, meanwhile, wonders why the announcement was made at such a terrible time, late on a Friday night:

Only two types of news are distributed at 9:48 p.m., and they are urgent, breaking news (e.g., death or disaster) and news that the distributor sincerely hopes will not become news (e.g., a scandal or other embarrassment). I wonder which of the two types the National Gallery considered this news to be?

Finally, Metro had a nice chat with the artist, who had been in Venice scouting the pavilion earlier this month. She was in Kassel, Germany, attending the latest edition of Documenta, when it caught up with her. Ms. Boyle told the paper that she’s excited. “Ideas that might have seemed impossible or out of reach before are completely doable,” she said. “All of a sudden, you can really dream. And that’s exciting.”

Shary Boyle Will Represent Canada at 2013 Venice Biennale