• At Full Tilt: Celebrating an inspiring way of living

    Friday, February 8, 2019
    News Releases

    An exhibition at The Rooms curated by Grenfell Art Gallery director Matthew Hills will celebrate the life and work of Colette Urban.


    Titled “At Full Tilt: Colette Urban in Western Newfoundland,” the exhibition opens Feb. 8 and continues until April 28.


    “Colette was an internationally recognized performance artist who, following a short contract teaching at Grenfell, was so compelled by western Newfoundland that she eventually left a tenure-track position at the University of Western Ontario to live full time on the north shore of the Bay of Islands,” said Mr. Hills.


    Ms. Urban owned a home in Meadows and initiated an artist centre, residence and organic farm in McIvers. Sadly she passed away in 2013, but her influence on the province’s visual arts community was profound and in many ways endures.


    The Rooms abstract states that exhibition “celebrates the legacy of Colette Urban (1952-2013), exploring her distinct way of living and becoming through her art. Known for performance art, sculpture and installation, Urban approached the politics of her time in a disarming and humorous manner that challenged the boundaries between artist and audience. 

    Through the Full Tilt Creative Centre, Urban became a beloved and influential part of the development of performance art in this province.

    Born in Denver, Colorado, Ms. Urban was among a generation of young Americans who came of age during the Vietnam War and made Canada their home. She received her BA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, NS) and her MFA from the University of Victoria (BC). Her performances and installations have been exhibited in Italy, Great Britain, The Netherlands, United States, and across Canada.

    As Professor Emerita, Ms. Urban traveled extensively as a guest speaker giving lectures about her work and her adventures as an entrepreneur. She was the subject of the documentary film “Pretend Not to See Me,” directed and produced by Katherine Knight and Site Media Inc. 


    Mr. Hills received his MA in critical and curatorial studies from the University of British Columbia. Prior to being the director and curator of the Grenfell Art Gallery, he worked in a curatorial capacity at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University, and the University of Alberta. He is the past program chair for Nuit Blanche Edmonton and a founding board member of the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. His writing has been published in Border Crossings, Muse, BlackFlash, Galleries West, and Syphon. His research focus is contemporary art, public art, twentieth-century art history, curatorial and museum studies, with a recent focus on avant-garde and radical museology. He is a member of the curatorial team for the 2019 Bonavista Biennale.

    Photo credit: The Rooms

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