Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies
May 16 to September 06, 2014
In 1921, Vanity Fair magazine published a group of photographs by photographer Margaret Watkins. Titled Photography Comes into the Kitchen, the two-page spread praised her ability to take ordinary objects--dirty dishes in a kitchen sink for example--and turn them into works of art through her photography. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Margaret Watkins is now regarded as one of Canada’s most important modernist photographers. This exhibition is the first retrospective to examine her career.
Although now almost forgotten, during the 1920s Watkins made a name for herself in the world of advertising photography, where she transformed ordinary, mass-produced objects such as a bar of soap, a pair of gloves or a package of cigarettes into alluring and desirable objects. In 1924, the Hamilton Spectator ran a feature on her work, touting her success as a modernist photographer. Watkins was also elected as the vice-president of the Pictorial Photographers of America, and her photographs were shown in several international group exhibitions.
Drawn mainly from the Watkins Estate, this exhibition is curated by Lori Pauli, Associate Curator, Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada. A NGC catalogue accompanies this exhibition and is available in the Muse gift shop.