Research on the Collection takes many forms – cataloguing, documentation, the development of exhibitions, and the publishing of brochures and books. We undertake ongoing research that informs and contextualizes our Collection, as do guest-curators, visiting researchers, academics, students, and others. Artworks from the Collection are loaned to other galleries and museums for exhibition and curatorial research. Young visitors are given “researcher status” as they explore the collection in the vault and Conservation Lab and publish the results of their findings. Artists undertake research on the Collection as part of their own artistic practice.

In the development of our Collection, the selection process is also one of ongoing research and debate. This form of discourse and discussion has been aptly described by Calgary artist Mary Scott as a dialogue among the artworks themselves, as they “yammer away amongst other works in your collection when resting in the stacks with kin. Works sure enjoy being in and amongst eh, finding commonalities with neighbors, yelling and screaming over this issue or that, trouncing out of the room when miffed, hucking cream pies for effect and emphasis in a debate of one kind or other”.

An adult looks at a photograph of a group of people through a magnifying glass. The sepia photograph’s glossy surface is creased. Behind the photograph, there is a table with framed paintings resting on green and black quilted fabric.

Dive Deeper into Collection Highlights

In this black-and-white image, a football game takes place on a field that is also a tidal landscape with rock outcroppings and a tidal fence.

Collection Hightlight: Dan Steeves’ crossing a threshold

Looking at an artists desk, a beaded work in progress is surrounded by their tools, including jars of colourful beads, scissors, a pin cushion, and a smudge bowl.

Collection Hightlight: Mel Beaulieu’s Tools of the Maker

Within one large circle of seals, laying on their sides, four smaller semi-circles are filled with colourful, geometric patterns. Between the semi-circles, seen form above, two lines of caribou walk in either direction.

Collection Highlight: Prints by Jerry Evans

Densely embroidered textiles and fabrics are layered over top of one another. A white square with a pink tulip is stitched prominently in the centre. To its left, over a patchwork of red, green, and yellow floral motifs are the heads of a man and woman depicted in black and white comic-style, both peering to the right. Between the two is the word “AAHHHHHHH” and a cartoon figure of Wile E. Coyote playing electric guitar. To the right are embroidered soldiers. Around them is a printed toile folk scene of wine grape harvesting in cream and maroon. Embroidered Hungarian script on white fabric and a band of white lace, extend to the right, partially covered by sheer purple fabric with silver dragonflies.

Collection Hightlight: Anna Torma’s Carpet of Many Hands

An image is split down the middle by a black bar with arrows pointing left and right. On the left a photograph of a large building with beige siding and burgundy trim. Storefronts occupy the ground level, while central portion of the building steps up to a third story with a peaked roof and half-moon window. In the foreground is a bench and a street sign that reads, “Willow Lane”. On the right in the foreground of the painting a milk truck wheels around a corner. A young boy stands on the running board of a truck, balancing himself with one arm through the open passenger-side window, while holding a bottle of milk in his free hand. Buildings, including storefronts line the far side of the street.

Colville In Situ

Consider Alex Colville’s work in the here and now

A painting of a woman being embraced by a man is divided into three sections. One is brightly lit showing cracks in the canvas, the centre is coloured with hues of blue and the left shows naturalistic colours.

In the Conservation Lab: Romeo and Juliet

Nantume Violet stands, smiling next to Buluma Mordecai seated. They are outside, in front of a large tree on a sunny day.

Buluma Ochungo Mordecai (Class of ’62) by Nantume Violet

Online Article

A life-sized, rust-coloured wolf, a pair of steel split urns, and a low-lying bench are installed across the wide front steps leading to the entrance of a classically inspired stone building. Above the door, carved in stone, are the words "Owens Museum of Fine Arts, 1894".

Collection Highlight: John McEwen’s Salt/Marsh

Each section of an eight pointed star is made of red, yellow, orange and blue porcupine quills. Pink and white quills fill the remained of a circle on birchbark, within a woven exterior of sweetgrass.

Collection Highlight: Quillwork by Melissa Peter-Paul

A figure wearing red holds a feather with two foot prints up to the sky. On their sleeve three stylized figures contain the numbers, 2, 1, 5. Below, blue flowers grown from red soil. Footprints in between the roots continue up the figure's long dark hair. Behind the figure a blue circle is surrounded by bands of yellow and purple hues.

Collection Highlight: Prayers for Our Lost Children by Loretta Gould

A portrait of a dark skinned person with short hair poses with their arms crossed. They wear metal rimmed glasses, and a cream collared sweater over a shirt and brown tie.

Collection Highlight: Portrait of Felix Orville Goodman

In the foreground, an old woman sits, resting her head on her cane next to a tree stump with new shoots sprouting from around it. In the distance children dance in a circle in a field at the edge of a town.

Collection Highlight: Temps Passé by William Blair Bruce