Art Gallery Research


Can you name five women artists?

Shelly Niro (b. 1954 -) is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Kanien'kehaka (Mohawk) Nations, Turtle Clan. Niro is a multidisciplinary artist who works in photography, painting, beadwork, sculpture, installation, and film. A celebrated artist, Niro was the recipient of the 2017 Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts and the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Award. Niro's work focuses on themes of identity and challenges stereotypes of indigenous peoples. Her work also focuses on women, typically those who she personally knows, and elevates the moments represented to show a shared human experience. Niro's work was featured in the 2019 exhibition Selections from the Vault at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives. 

Joyce Wieland (1930 - 1998) was a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist. Wieland worked in a wide variety of media, from painting to filmography and was able to translate the sensibilities of one medium into another with great success. Weiland was not afraid to become political in her work dealing with divisive topics like the Vietnam War and nationalist sentiments. During the 1960s and the 1970s, Wieland made the radical decision in the 1970s to begin working in needle crafts (at the time considered women's practice and seen as domestic labour) into her artistic practice seeking to elevate the practice beyond its lowly status. Wieland's Children of the Astral World, (1988) was on display most recently in the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives' 2018 exhibition Art at PAMA: 50 Years of Collecting.

Molly Lamb Bobak (1920-2014) was born in Vancouver to celebrated photographer Harold Mortimer-Lamb which exposed her to the artistic community and encouraged her artistic ambitions from a young age. In 1942, Lamb Bobak joined the Canadian Women's Army Corp and was sent oversees to the UK to work as an artist which made her the first official female war artist for Canada. During this time, she depicted the experience of Canadian women soldiers, a previously unrecorded perspective. Following the Second World War, Lamb Bobak married fellow Canadian war artist Bruno Bobak and settled in New Brunswick where they both continued their artistic careers.  Lamb Bobak's work Dining Room, (n.d.), was presented in the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives' 2017 exhibition, Peel 150: Stories of Canada.

The Singh Twins, Amrit and Rabindrah are British-born identical twin artists of Indian background. The pair, who predominately work collaboratively describe their style as Past Modern. Their work combines the historical style of classical Indian miniature paintings with modern and western references, revitalizing an old style with their own unique twist. Their insistence on collaborative acknowledgement (even of independent work) as well as dressing in identical clothes is deliberate in order to defy attempts to individualize their work. The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives hosted the travelling exhibition The Singh Twins: A Retrospective in 2016 and subsequently acquired a work for its permanent collection which was displayed in 2017 in the exhibition Peel 150: Stories of Canada. 

Meryl McMaster (b. 1988 - ) of Plain Cree and European background, is an Ottawa-based artist who works in photography. Her early forays into art were supported by her father, noted Canadian artist and curator Gerald McMaster. Turning to photography from an early age, it was at the Ontario College of Art and Design Univeristy (OCADU) where, after a sculpture class, she began to bring objects into her photos to tell more personal stories. Using costumes in addition to objects, McMaster uses her photography to speak about historical narratives from her bi-cultural perspective. Selections from McMaster's series As Immense as the Sky are on display on the exterior side of the Peel Art gallery, Museum and Archives building until April 26th, 2020. 

Caroline Helena Wilkinson Armington (1875-1939) her work may look delicate but in life she was a bit of a rebel. Even the very act of becoming an artist was a rebellion as her parents refused to support her or her plans of going off to Europe to study. Instead she supported herself and traveled with her future husband's family to France, where they married. She insisted on signing her given name on artworks, instead of C. H. Armington, as an agent had suggested, despite the era's reduced commercial potential for the works of female artists. While not an instant success Caroline's continued work allowed her to build herself a strong career. Her prints form, of which we have over 400, are at the core of PAMA's works on paper collection. 

PAMA features an Art Resource Library is available to the public to research local artists, art history and techniques. The resource centre features:

  • Extensive selection of catalogues for artists and art exhibitions from across Canada
  • Biographical material for artists represented in the PAMA art collection with a special focus on those connected to Peel Region
  • Large selection of books on Canadian and international artists, art movements and techniques
  • Art magazines from Canada, US and England
  • John and Gisela Sommer Collection of artist correspondence and exhibition materials