Walter Phillips Gallery celebrates 40th anniversary

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

No Visible Horizon
40 Years of Walter Phillips Gallery
October 7, 2016–January 22, 2017
Maggie Groat and Jimmy Limit, Julia Crabtree and William Evans, Liz Magor, Lisa Myers, Amy Malbeuf

Walter Phillips Gallery (107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff, Alberta, Canada) | @walterphillipsgallery |

BANFF, AB, September 22, 2016 – Walter Phillips Gallery at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is proud to celebrate 40 years by dedicating its upcoming exhibition to the commission and display of new and existing works by a group of contemporary artists, most of whom are alumni of past exhibitions or residency programs at Banff Centre. No Visible Horizon is free and open to all from October 7, 2016–January 22, 2017, with a public opening reception on Friday, October 7 from 6–9 p.m. 

“What started as a small and dynamic gallery has become a leading centre for contemporary arts in Canada , championing  curatorial innovation and the work of emerging artists from  across the country and around the  world," says Carolyn Warren, Vice-President, Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. “For our 40th year, we celebrate our beginnings and the artists who have played a part in our 40-year history, starting with Walter J. Phillips, who played such a significant role in the development of visual arts programs at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.”

As an open-ended starting point, each artist was invited to respond directly or thematically to the namesake of the gallery Walter J. Phillips’s (1884–1963) unusual Flying Island (1923) print. The floating untethered landmass he depicted in the small woodblock print hovers above a body of water with no visible horizon, conjuring divergent connotations. 

New works include: a new riso-edition entitled Perpetual Calendar 19162116 by Maggie Groat and Jimmy Limit (ON); a large scale installative environment on ideas of ‘groundlessness’ by UK-based artists, Julia Crabtree and William Evans; a series of blueberry ink prints by Lisa Myers (ON); an existing trompe-l'œil-like sculpture by Liz Magor (BC); and, a new immersive drawing piece by Amy Malbeuf (AB). 

An accompanying anthology includes newly commissioned texts by alumni and is edited by Walter Phillips Gallery Curator, Peta Rake. The logic of the anthology takes up both the subjective and objective towards multiple intersecting ‘horizons’, with each individual reconstituting, or dismantling typical renderings of this subject from their own worldview. 

Of the six invited contributors, three writers — cheyanne turions, Amelia Groom, and Andrew Berardini — have framed their essays through the pre-existing texts of other writers and artists. Richard William Hill, Katherine Ylitalo, and Lisa Myers all addressed works from the Walter Phillips Gallery’s Permanent Collection. Richard William Hill writes on Rebecca Belmore’s work, Ayum ee aawach Oomama mowan: Speaking to Their Mother (1991); Lisa Myers writes on her own series of works entitled Blueprints (2015–16); and, Katherine Ylitalo pens a letter to artist Mike MacDonald about his work, Butterfly Garden (1999). These intersecting texts all speak to the concept of horizon in divergent ways, positing these artworks as sites of inquiry, tension, reckoning, and reciprocity. 

“The horizon has also stood as metaphor for a site just out of reach, an unknown point of imagination and a place beyond the limits of likelihood,” says Rake. “With an element of transgression and hope, No Visible Horizon expands upon the institution’s historical grounding to reflect upon our site and future position.” 

Alongside the exhibition will be a partial rehang of Walter J. Phillips’s works from the Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 1976, which marked the official opening of the Gallery and Glyde Hall, home of Visual and Digital Arts residency programs. This selection of works will be on view in the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Building. There will also be a number of public events and talks. 

Walter Phillips Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:30 until 5 p.m. Group tours of exhibitions may be arranged. Please call Walter Phillips Gallery at +1.403.762.6281 for additional information or to arrange an appointment.

For information about current exhibitions, public events, and talks at Walter Phillips Gallery, visit

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus — artists, leaders, and thinkers — to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.

About Walter Phillips Gallery: Walter Phillips Gallery is exclusively committed to the production, presentation, collection and analysis of contemporary art and curatorial practice. For contemporary artists, particularly those engaged in alternative forms of practice, Walter Phillips Gallery remains an essential and principle site where art is presented to an audience for critical reception.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans, "Studio view", 2015. Courtesy of the artists and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Julia Crabtree and William Evans, "Studio view", 2015. Courtesy of the artists and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity