Brenda Draney

Drink from the River

Brenda Draney

July 25, 2024 - January 5, 2025

Brenda Draney’s Drink from the river features works that delve into the complex questions around the notion of intimacy. Sifting through images culled from her own personal archive, her memory, and the Internet, Draney refers to figures and moments that have shaped her lived experiences. In her paintings, however, Draney leaves space for viewers to reflect upon the content presented as well as the subject matter at hand. Brenda Draney’s artworks explore the relationship between memory-making and knowledge production by way of storytelling. Examining the ways in which narratives are not only formed and shaped by personal or shared events but also influenced by socially accepted constructs, her works invite us to constantly reconsider what we think we know.

Throughout the exhibition, Drink from the River invites deep rumination and contemplation on the vulnerabilities that are kept hidden or at bay. It suggests that what is truly intimate can also be truly horrific; that what is buried away can be agonizing. Oftentimes, the body, as if haunted, unconsciously responds to these pains even when only slightly exposed. Yet like a punctum, these sufferings can lead to a private understanding of oneself, independent of any cultural code. But to begin, we must be willing to drink from the river. 









Brenda Draney (b. 1976, Edmonton) is Cree from Sawridge First Nation, Treaty 8, with a strong connection to Slave Lake. Draney’s work is collected and shown across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Embassy of Canada Art Gallery, Washington, DC; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Sobey Collection, Nova Scotia; and Shorefast Foundation, Newfoundland. She was awarded the 2009 RBC Painting Competition and the 2014 Eldon and Anne Foote Visual Arts Prize (both in Edmonton), and she was short-listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award at the National Gallery of Canada. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

Draney’s recent notable exhibitions include The Arts Club of Chicago (2023); The Power Plant, Toronto (2022); McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Vaughn, ON (2020); NS-Dokumentationszentrum, Munich (2019); Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff (2019); Fogo Island Arts, NL (2019); Oakville Galleries, ON (2018); Kitchener-Waterloo Gallery, ON (2017); Audain Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2017); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2016); The Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2015); and Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (2013). She received her Master’s of Applied Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver (2010) and her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta, Edmonton (2006). Draney was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2016, the recipient of the Eldon and Anne Foote Visual Arts Prize, Edmonton, in 2014, and the winner of the RBC Painting Competition in 2009.



Jacqueline Kok is the 2021–23 Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau Curatorial Fellow at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and the curator of Brenda Draney’s solo exhibition. Kok’s curatorial research pursues the political and social potentials of space through a deep exploration of the dialectical relationship among the bodies within it. Prior to joining The Power Plant, she held prominent roles including Curator at MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain under the direction of Nicolas Bourriaud. She has also worked in the curatorial department at MoCA Taipei and ArtinGeneral as well as in the public programs department at e-flux. She has self-produced Art and Other Stories, a podcast under her curatorial collective, Triptych Arts, and Spaces of Exchange, a Zoom program uniting international Chinese artists in collaboration with the International Chinese Fine Arts Council.


Brenda Draney: Drink from the River is initiated, organized, and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, in collaboration with The Arts Club of Chicago; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; and Art Gallery of Grande Prairie.

Exhibition Generously Supported by Christine and Murray Quinn


Featured Artwork:Brenda Draney, Toast, 2022, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in. (153 x 122 cm)

Opening Reception

July 25, 2024 at 6 pm


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