Euphemia McNaught, Jim Stokes, Ruth Syme and artist unknown (McNaught / McBryan)
December 7, 2023 - June 30, 2024
“When I have arranged a bouquet in order to paint it, I go around to the other side that I have not looked at.” 
Henri Matisse recounting a conversation with Pierre-Auguste Renoir
When artwork is presented in a gallery, choices about how to view the work are made. Decisions such as framing, lighting and the many ways in which artwork can be displayed deeply affect how it is interpreted and what it means. When it comes to paintings and works on paper, one dimension of the work is chosen to present, but that is not the whole story.
In this Double-Sided exhibition, we challenge conventions by looking at works from our permanent collection in the round. This simple gesture reveals multitudes. By studying both sides, clues are revealed. We are confronted with the creative process, navigating decisions of success and failure on the front and the back of the paper. Euphemia McNaught’s spray / mixed media pieces have been historically shown as flat, framed works, however, upon closer inspection, they are greeting cards, with not only a front and a back, but also an intimate interior with a personal message.
A number of works in this exhibition are notebook pages by an unknown artist, most likely Euphima McNaught or Evy McBryan. These unsigned, unprecious works on paper are a collection of sketches, plans, ideas and notes from everyday life, including a recipe for making lotion. These pages reveal a lack of hierarchy in collecting and documenting, shedding light on another aspect of the double-sided works: conservation and recycling of materials. This practical aspect could be due to scarcity and financial restrictions. During the time McNaught (1902-2002) and McBryan (1911-1985) were working in the rural country of the Peace Region, availability and affordability of materials would have been a constant consideration.
Allowing ourselves to navigate this artwork in a less familiar way, we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding and learn something new, and perhaps unexpected, about the works in our permanent collection.
Curated by Jessica Groome, Curator, Exhibitions & Collections
 Matisse, Henri, Jack Cowart, Jack D. Flam, and Dominique Fourcade. “Jazz.” Henri Matisse: Paper Cut-outs. New-York: Harry N. Abrams, 1978. p.44. Print.
Featured image: Euphemia McNaught, Untitled, Pencil on paper (front & back), 10 1/8” X 8”