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Gravure Automatique: Dalla Husband at Atelier 17

Dalla Husband

May 28-June 21, 2015
(Lower Gallery)
Guest Curated by Eva Tweedie, UBC Curatorial Studies MA Candidate
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 28, 7pm

This exhibition features prints by Canadian artist Dalla Husband (1899-1944) made during her time in Paris through the 1920s and 1930s. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1899, Husband grew up in Vernon, British Columbia on her family’s ranch on Lake Kalamalka. Her parents moved to Canada from England around the time of her birth to seek new career opportunities, which eventually brought them to the west coast in 1907. Her father, Major Herbert Husband, was a rancher who also served two mayoral terms in Vernon prior to his premature and tragic death in 1912. Husband had the luxury of travelling while growing up, visiting relatives in Winnipeg at the age of 13 with her father, as well as going to England twice to visit her grandmother. At the time of her grandmother’s death, Husband received an inheritance, which she chose to spend on a courageous move to pursue her career as an artist overseas in Paris. When she first arrived in 1924, she worked with printmaker Joseph Hecht in his studio where she learned the basics of printmaking, however when the British artist Stanley William Hayter moved to Paris in 1926, Husband sought after his advice and expertise. Husband and fellow female artist Alice Carr de Creeft approached Hayter for further lessons in printmaking and attempting to deter them from asking again, he said that he would only work with them if they managed to bring two more students. Accordingly, Husband and de Creeft found two additional students and Hayter moved to his own studio down the street from Hecht’s and began the workshop soon to be known as Atelier 17.

Hayter embraced experimentation and he encouraged his students to work through new techniques at his atelier. The prints that will be featured in this exhibition focus on Husband’s use of the surrealist technique of automatism within her artistic practices. The surrealist influence in Paris during her time in Hayter’s atelier from 1927-1939 was strong, and exercises with surrealist techniques helped Husband to solidify her own artistic style. Husband’s work was included in two portfolios, Solidarité and Fraternité, both of which were published in affiliation with Atelier 17 in 1938 and sold to benefit children who were affected by the Spanish Civil War. These included prints by seven to ten artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, André Masson, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso.

Husband remains the most under-researched artist included in these portfolios as well as the only female. Many details about her life and work are still unknown, so the research for this exhibition focuses on both the methods of her practice as well as her personal life. This exhibition frames Husband’s works within the context of art production in Paris between the two world wars, and more specifically address how being a young, female Canadian artist may have affected her art practices within the Atelier 17 and her exclusion from the existing written history of this moment.

This exhibition is made possible with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University of British Columbia. 

UBC Art History and Visual ArtsUBC Belkin Gallery

Public Programs

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 28, 7pm
Join us for the opening reception at the Burnaby Art Gallery. The evening will feature opening remarks, followed by a reception in our Fireside Room. Beer sponsored by Steamworks Brewery.

Steamworks Brewery

Adventures in Surrealism: Saturdays, May 30-June 20, 1-2:30pm
Explore surrealist techniques such as soufflage, cubomania, collage and photo montage. Stretch your imagination and learn all about the dream-like world of Dalla Husband, Salvador Dali and other surrealist artists in this creative new program. $46.56, 7-12 years. Registration code: 360686

Curatorial Critique: Thursday, June 4, 7-9pm
Join UBC Curatorial Studies MA Candidate, Eva Tweedie in this formal critique.

In the B.A.G. Family Sundays: Sunday, June 14, 1-4pm
Come and make art! Get your minds humming with a visit to the gallery and then the studio for family-friendly art projects. A different project featured each month. This month's theme: contour lines and colour. All ages. Free drop-in.