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Curry, Gwen RCA

Cultural Group :

Gwen Curry was born in Victoria in 1950. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1974 at UVic, and then continued her studies at Arizona State University, completing a Masters in 1978. Curry spent the next 15 years working as an Associate Professor at UVic.

She has exhibited throughout Canada, as well as internationally including the Biennials of Graphic Art in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia; the British International Print Biennial and with the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art.

She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.


Gwen Curry completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria (1974) and a Master of Fine Arts at Arizona State University (1978). She established her reputation as a printmaker in the late 1970s before her practice expanded to include sculpture, installation, and text-based art as well as large-scale, thematically linked
drawings, often displayed in linear sequences or grids.

Curry taught printmaking and drawing at UVic from 1978 until 1994. About her teaching approach, Curry said:

"What sustained me during these years were the students. Watching the deepening awareness of each student as they discovered their own concerns and the means to realize them was more fulfilling than I had expected it to be. I was fortunate that my teaching years coincided with some of the most energetic years of a person’s life … and I was able to maintain both an active art
career and my teaching responsibilities. My style was to put the student first: draw out what was important to them, deal with it no matter how uncomfortable it might be for me, and through a discussion of contemporary art, help facilitate their vision."

In the 1990s, Curry’s work involved the process of listing, enumeration and categorization of different bird and plant species found on the West Coast. As much as these works were grounded in environmental concerns they also explored ways in which society perceives imagery and the objectification of the natural world. Birdlister is the first in this series. Art critic Robin Laurence wrote of this work:

"Her work suggests that to name is to claim; to claim is to colonize; to colonize is to exploit and exterminate. And yet, Curry also conveys, through both image and text, the pleasures of closely observing nature and understanding what we observe… Curry’s use of text and grid, the standard tools of conceptualism, is paradoxically lyrical and moving, introducing affect into the realm of the intellect, feeling into the framework of reason."

Since teaching at UVic, Curry has focused on her art and more recently on writing. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Europe, China, and India and is represented in public, private and corporate collections nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of numerous awards, grants and residencies.