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A Victoria-born artist will be highlighted in an upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV).
Opening on September 23 with a free public open house, the AGGV will present Unexpected: The Life and Art of Sophie Pemberton, Canadian Artist.
According to the AGGV, Sophie Pemberton was the middle daughter, her father’s favourite, and a determined personality.
“Despite episodes of debilitating illnesses and family tragedies, she pursued a serious international artistic career with paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy and Paris Salon,” says the gallery.
Pemberton was a portraitist by training, but was also a landscape painter of great talent.
“Through her international connections and friendships forged at art school in England and France with the advantages of birth and position, Pemberton aimed to become a professional artist, a career not readily accomplished by a woman at this time in history.”
The exhibition is guest-curated by Dr. Kathryn Bridge, Curator Emerita, Royal BC Museum, an adjunct faculty member in the History Department at the University of Victoria, author and editor of several books on BC history, art and the role of women in early BC.
“A central theme runs through her story, for it is unexpected occurrences or happenings that both shaped and shifted Pemberton’s decision-making, influenced her career and its trajectory,” said Bridge.
“Unexpected is learning about a significant Canadian artist in our midst whose actions we now see as inspirational, who with a few others, led the way for Canadian women artists overseas, challenging gender barriers within the profession. Unexpected is the opportunity to view many works that have not been publicly seen before, or for almost 50 years.”
The exhibition runs through Jan. 21, 2024 and features 70 paintings from the collection of the AGGV, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Royal BC Museum and BC Archives and the Hamilton Art Gallery, as well as loans from private collections.
Archival materials including photo albums, letters and diaries will also be on display.