Graeme Patterson: Strange Birds

Curated by Matthew Hills, Grenfell Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Video still, Strange Birds, 2023, Courtesy of the Artist

Graeme Patterson: Strange Birds multi-media and VR exhibition premieres at Grenfell Art Gallery

May 26 – August 4, 2023
Grenfell Art Gallery, Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland)
Grenfell Campus, School of Fine Arts, Memorial University of Newfoundland

The Grenfell Art Gallery is please to open an exhibition by award winning artist, animator and filmmaker, Graeme Patterson, curated by Matthew Hills. Entitled Strange Birds, the exhibition imagines a post-apocalyptic landscape in eastern Canada almost entirely flooded and populated by two anthropomorphized dancing bird like figures, resembling a heron and a starling. This world emerges from a 1:10 scale replica of Patterson’s home that welcomes the viewer into the gallery while a score and film from the artist are projected into the space.

Combining installation, sculpture, robotics, models and animation to create a uniquely immersive experience, the exhibition offers a virtual reality populated by the sculptures and figures included in the exhibition and accompanying film, permitting viewers to experience Patterson’s dream-like worlds with remarkable realism. Condensing virtual space with physical and imagined realities Patterson’s new body of work invites play and revelry while mining climate and pandemic anxiety.

Exhibition Documentation Main Gallery, Grenfell Art Gallery, Courtesy of the Artist

About the Artist

Graeme Patterson’s work plunges us into a world that is as moving as it is playful. The product of a slow and meticulous creative process, his work entices us into an emotionally-charged parallel universe inhabited by dreams, games, memory, and nostalgia.

A finalist for the 2014 Sobey Art Award, Graeme Patterson is a native of Saskatoon and currently lives in Sackville, New Brunswick.

He was nominated for a Juno award in 2011 and received the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton award for media arts from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2012.

He has exhibited his work at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, NB), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, SK), the Rodman Hall Art Centre (St. Catharines, ON), the Art Gallery of Hamilton (ON), the Trépanier Baer Gallery (Calgary, AB), the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Centre Des Arts d’Enghien-Les-Bains (Enghien-les-Bains, France), MASS MoCA (Massachusetts, USA), the Galerie de l’UQAM (Montreal), the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge, AB), and the Surrey Art Gallery (Surrey, BC).

Exhibition Documentation Main Gallery, Grenfell Art Gallery, Courtesy of Scott Grant, Ronin Photography

About the Grenfell Art Gallery

Grenfell Art Gallery is a public art gallery located on the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University in the city of Corner Brook on the picturesque coast of Western Newfoundland. As the only gallery and art museum in Newfoundland and Labrador focused solely on the visual arts, Grenfell Art Gallery cultivates a generative engagement with contemporary art and art history through a year-round program of exhibitions and outreach activities that are accessible, relevant, and experimental. We serve the public as an educational resource for the School of Fine Arts, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland’s gallery, and the public gallery for Corner Brook and the Western Newfoundland region. The Gallery engages in collaborative partnerships with like-minded local, regional, national and international artists, organizations, and institutions.

We acknowledge with gratitude that the land on which we gather and labour is in traditional Mi’kmaw territory, and we acknowledge with respect the diverse histories and cultures of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit of our province.

Grenfell Art Gallery | Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, NL A2H 5G4 | t 709.637.6209

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Admission is free and visitors are always welcome, tours and programs can be requested by contacting

Grenfell Art Gallery is fully accessible, including a level entrance, an accessible washroom, wide and unobstructed pathways within the interior, and an elevator to access multiple levels, as well as automatic doors at the entrance and accessible parking nearby.

This exhibition and all Grenfell Art Gallery programming are made possible by the generous support of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Image descriptions:
1. An animated anthropomorphic heron figure is silhouetted against a sunny too perfect Bay of Fundy horizon.
2. Exhibition documentation picturing interior of Grenfell Art Gallery exhibition, with robotic 1:10 scale of artists house, armour tractor trailer with projection in interior, and abondonded billboard sculpture, with large film projection at back of gallery.
3. Exhibition documentation depicting life size Heron and Starling costume worn by artist to create animations and film.