Thursday, July 30, 2015

Permanent Collection Feature: Work in Progress....

Permanent Collection Feature:

Work in Progress, 1986
Frederick Hagan

Frederick Hagan, Work in Progress, 1986

Today’s featured artwork from the GPAG’s vast permanent collection is a lithograph by Canadian artist Frederick Hagan (b. Toronto, 1918) titled Work in Progress (c. 1986). Between 1986 and 1989, Canada Post commissioned Hagan to create a series of stamps based on the exploration of Canada. Hagan developed 55 pieces in total for the series, out of which 16 were chosen for reproduction. Work in Progress is part of the Exploration series, but was not chosen as a stamp.

At the forefront of this scene is a surreal depiction of the printmaking process: a nude woman is straddling the printing press while peeling a freshly printed piece of paper away from the lithographic stone. To the right are a man and a woman who appear to be printmakers as well, indicated by the rolling pin held in the man’s hand, a staple tool in the lithographic print process. They are busy at work, and there isn’t much time for organization in this print shop as eyeglasses, envelopes, frames and papers are astray.

A closer look at the print inside this artwork reveals that our nude protagonist may possibly be the model central to the piece she is creating. Behind the nude figure in the small print are a choir of children and an older person gazing up at the nudist. Her twofold placement in the print and the echoing of the lithographic print process as both a subject in the piece and the medium used by Hagan to create this artwork entice the viewer to enjoy a world of interconnectedness, thus, making Work in Progress a meta-print.

Nedda Baba
Curatorial Assistant,
Grimsby Public Art Gallery

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