“Room with tarped forms (2013)”“Room with tarped forms (2013),” taken during the construction of the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre, is one of the photographs that will be displayed as part of a retrospective exhibition by Brenda Francis Pelkey opening this weekend at the Art Gallery of Windsor.

Art professor’s retrospective exhibition to open Friday

A reception Friday, October 21, at the Art Gallery of Windsor will celebrate the opening of a retrospective exhibition on the work of creative arts professor Brenda Francis Pelkey.

Over the past three decades, Francis Pelkey’s works have been the subject of many solo and group exhibitions in Canada and northwestern Europe, including the Museum of Photography in Helsinki, London Guildhall University, the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery and Dunlop Art Gallery, and the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham. This will be her first solo exhibition organized by the Art Gallery of Windsor since she moved to the city in 2003.

“The last solo exhibition I had at the AGW was in 1994, but that was one body of work,” Francis Pelkey says. “This has got quite a bit more in it. It’s quite alarming to see it all in one place.”

Her works are held in several major public collections, including several of those listed above as well as: Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts, the University of Saskatchewan, and the National Gallery of Canada.

“As artist-cartographer-photographer, Francis Pelkey opens the multiple possibilities of female subjectivity in public and private spaces to challenge geographies which have been normalized as male spaces,” says curator Catherine Mastin.

“From the particularized front and backyards adorned with elements of personal memory and identity to dark roads at night to expansive coastal ocean scenes to empty hospital beds of the admitted yet waiting and recovering ill — and to strip-dance poles in empty bars, Francis Pelkey exposes the still-gendered yet changing contours of social spaces in contemporary life.

“A career review is a timely undertaking to widen knowledge on her contributions to contemporary photography and to expand awareness of her work.”

The exhibition spans works from 1987 to her current project Site, which explores major commercial construction sites, including the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre.

“These multi-faceted, complex, transitional spaces are in constant change through the duration of their construction,” says Francis Pelkey. “The photographs map this evidence of labour and its resulting narrative.”

Friday’s reception begins at 7 p.m. at the gallery, 401 Riverside Drive West. Brenda Francis Pelkey: A Retrospective will be on exhibit through January 22. From Windsor, this show will tour to galleries in Halifax, Peterborough and Regina.