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ART 210 (Contemporary Art in Canada) Course Guide: Find Books & eBooks

A course guide intended to help students start their research for Art 210

Finding books & ebooks

Subject Searching

To find additional books on various movements and time periods, try searching the library using the following subjects: 

Canadian Photography

Scissors, Paper, Stone: Expressions of Memory in Contemporary Photographic Art​

Faking Death:  Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination

Various Canadian Artists

Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991-2018

Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991-2018 brings together texts by Canadian artist Ken Lum. They include a letter to an editor, diary entries, articles, catalogue essays, curatorial statements, and more. Along the way, the reader learns about late modern, postmodern, and contemporary art practices, as well as debates around issues like race, class, and monumentality.

Don Proch: Masking and Mapping

Since 1970, Manitoba artist Don Proch has built an astonishing body of work evoking a semi-mythical Prairie past and an unsettled and unresolved modernity. In his complex sculptures and life-size masks, Proch combines intricate draftsmanship with natural and found materials in surprising and transformative ways.

Michael Snow: Lives and Works

Michael Snow is rightly recognized as the greatest living Canadian artist, and he is also acknowledged as one of the most significant figures in Canadian art history. In a productive, lengthy career, he has, in a wide variety of genres, asked (and often answered) some of the most vexing and important issues in the history of art.

E.J. Hughes Paints British Columbia

A retrospective on one of BC's most famous artists that features beautifully reproduced landscape paintings from all over mainland BC, and unveils new photographs, sketches, and ephemera from the artist's estate.

Out of the Woods: Woodworkers Along the Salish Sea

Out of the Woods profiles twenty-six dynamic artists who use wood to create an amazing range of work. Although they have diverse backgrounds and practices, these woodworkers place importance on sustainability, preservation of wild places, and respect for natural materials.

Embracing Canada: Landscapes from Krieghoff to the Group of Seven

Presents a comprehensive survey of Canadian landscapes made between the mid-eighteenth and mid- nineteenth centuries.

Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada

Correcting a glaring omission of writing about contemporary feminist work by Canadian artists, Desire Change considers the resurgence of feminist art, thought, and practice in the past decade by examining artworks that respond to themes of diversity and desire.

Vera Frenkel

The first extensive survey of the most important works by Czech-born Canadian artist Vera Frenkel.

Guido Molinari

Guido Molinari (1933-2004) was one of the greatest Canadian artists of the 20th century. A largely self-taught painter who went on to exhibit to critical acclaim for over 50 years, he maintained a fierce independence in the face of the many schools and movements that marked the early years of abstract art.

Alex Colville: The Observer Observed

In this illustrated biography of painter Alex Colville, Mark A. Cheetham charts the prodigious life and career of one of Canada's best-known artists. Both artist and public figure, Colville engages many worlds at once: painting and politics, creativity and business.

The Mystery of the Real: Letters of the Canadian Artist Alex Colville and Biographer Jeffrey Meyers

The work of Alex Colville, O.C. (1920-2013), one of the great modern realist painters, combines the Flemish detail of Andrew Wyeth, the eerie foreboding of George Tooker and the anguished confrontations of Lucian Freud.

Pegi by Herself: The Life of Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Canadian artist

Pegi Nicol MacLeod was a charismatic bohemian whose expressive images of the contemporary world were an essential component of Canadian modernism. She was commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada to paint the wartime women's services and her work stands out for its innovative human focus and energetic depictions of people, cities, and landscapes. 

A. Y. Jackson: The Life of a Landscape Painter

Jackson spent nearly seventy years travelling throughout Canada, rendering his impressions of its diverse character on canvas and promoting a vibrant, uniquely Canadian style of painting.

Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

Beginning in 1912, Defiant Spirits traces the artistic development of Tom Thomson and the future members of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley, over a dozen years in Canadian history.

Vancouver Anthology

Includes essays on the emergence of artist-run centres, experimental performance and video, feminist activity, collaboration, sculpture, painting, art criticism, conceptual art and landscape, and reflections on perceptions of aboriginal cultures.

Stealing the Show: Seven Women Artists in Canadian Public Art

Stealing the Show pays tribute to a new "Group of Seven" in the art world. Focusing on art commissioned for display in public places, it highlights the artistic achievements of seven prominent Canadian women artists: Marcelle Ferron, Anne Kahane, Rita Letendre, Gathie Falk, Joyce Wieland, Jerry Grey, and Colette Whiten.

Canadian Folk Art To 1950

The authors examine everyday Canadian material heritage and distinctively Canadian objects, and analyze Canadian folk art based on their findings. 

Beyond Wilderness: The Group of Seven, Canadian Identity and Contemporary Art

The legacy of the Group of Seven and the reinvention of Canadian landscape art since the 1960s.


Emily Carr: the Incredible Life and Adventures of a West Coast Artist

Both a prolific painter and an accomplished writer, Carr was more comfortable in the raw wilderness than in the tea rooms of London, and more at home with her unique pets than with the people around her. Despite numerous setbacks and disappointments, she persevered to become the West Coast’s most celebrated artist—and a Canadian icon. Her story is a testament to individuality and an inspiration to all.

The Logic of Ecstasy: Canadian Mystical Painting, 1920-1940

This book examines the ways in which Bertram Brooker, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Jock Macdonald, and Fred Varley, five of the most dynamic and innovative Canadian painters of the period 1920-1940, used mystical form rather than aesthetically initiated form in their painting.

Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything​

Published in conjunction with 'Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything', an exhibition organised by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Diana Augatis.

Remembering Postmodernism: Trends in Canadian art, 1970-1990

The author argues that memory - both personal and collective - is the essential and recurring theme in Canadian postmodern art by examining the works of the country's leading artists, including Carl Beam, Bruce Barber, Melvin Charney, General Idea, Angela Grauerholz, Janice Gurney, Barbara Steinman, and Joanne Tod. 

First Nations Art

The Way Home

Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art, Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture and become an accomplished Kwakwaka’wakw artist. His memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

The Land We Are : Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation

The result of a four-year collaboration between artists and scholars engaged in resurgence and decolonization, The Land We Are is a moving dialogue that blurs the boundaries between activism, research, and the arts.

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists explores the artistic achievements of Native women and establishes their rightful place in the art world.

Making History: The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Written by scholars actively producing Native art resources, this book guides readers-students, educators, collectors, and the public-in how to learn about Indigenous cultures as visualized in our creative endeavors. These essays present a best-practices approach to understanding Indigenous art from a Native-centric point of view. 

Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit

Beau Dick presents eighty of the artist's finest masks and contextualizes his work within the Kwakwaka'wakw tradition, while also showing how Dick incorporated contemporary Western influences.


Susan Point: Works on Paper

This is the first book devoted exclusively to Susan Point's works on paper.

Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast

Through their own words and artwork, Ian Thom examines the careers, working methods, and philosophy of forty active Native American artists, all of whom he has interviewed. Featured here are their works, often combining new materials and old traditions, as well as extensive passages from conversations with these established and up-and-coming artists from the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Alex Janvier

Alex Janvier is one the most significant aboriginal artists in Canada. This book celebrates Alex Janvier's work, includes images from a recent exhibition and essays by scholars. 

Seekers and Travellers: Contemporary Art of the Pacific Northwest Coast

A celebration of contemporary northwest coast art, showcasing the works of thirty-six acclaimed artists of Canada and the U.S.

Dana Claxton: Fringing the Cube

Known for her expansive multidisciplinary approach to art making Vancouver-based Dana Claxton, who is Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux), has investigated notions of Indigenous identity, beauty, gender and the body, as well as broader social and political issues through a practice which encompasses photography, film, video and performance.

Tales of Ghosts: First Nations Art in British Columbia, 1922-61

Argues that this was a critical period during which the art played an important role in public discourses on the status of First Nations people in Canadian society.

Norval Morrisseau: Travels to the House of Invention 

This book celebrates the art and life of Norval Morrisseau. He explains the importance of vibrant colors, which he believes have the power to heal the body and the mind. And he descries the efforts to reassemble the pieces of Ojibwa culture, to keep that world alive for future generations. 


Mythic Beings: Spirit Art of the Northwest Coast

Mythic Beings presents an outstanding collection of 75 works - all in vivid colour - by 34 of the best First Nations artists working on the Northwest Coast today. The power of their art comes from its deep roots in an ancient culture that is rich in ceremonial and aesthetic traditions.

Faces in the Forest: First Nations Art Created on Living Trees

 Blackstock details this rare art form through oral histories related by the Elders, blending spiritual and academic perspectives on Native art, cultural geography, and traditional ecological knowledge.

Susan Point: Spindle Whorl

Surveys Point's entire career through more than a hundred artworks that take the spindle whorl as their starting point.

Carrying on Irregardless: Humour in Contemporary Northwest Coast Art

Collected here are artworks that act as political weapons, bold challenges to stereotypes, and nods to the Trickster. They satirize, ridicule and play. And, above all, they make us laugh, and think, and laugh again.

Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast

In Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast, Hilary Stewart introduces the elements of style; interprets the myths and legends which shape the motifs; and defines and illustrates the stylistic differences between the major cultural groupings.

The Trickster Shift: Humour and Irony in Contemporary Native Art

The Trickster Shift not only presents some of the most stunningly original examples of contemporary Native art but also allows the artists to offer their own insights into the creative process and the nature of Native humour.

Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures: The Art of Jane Ash Poitras

Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures situates Poitras's work in the national context of Canadian First Nations art during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the period when she began to receive wide recognition. 

George Littlechild: The Spirit Giggles Within

Littlechild has never shied away from political or social themes. His paintings blaze with strong emotions ranging from anger to compassion, humour to spiritualism. Fully embracing his Plains Cree heritage, he combines traditional Cree elements like horses and transformative or iconic creatures with his own family and personal symbols in a unique approach.

Brian Jungen

In 372 full-colour images, this book is the first to chronicle the oeuvre of one of North America's most compelling young artists. To complement the art there are essays from five internationally respected curators plus an interview with the artist himself.

Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry: the Art, the Artists, the History

Indigenous hand-engraved jewelry from the Pacific Northwest Coast is among the most distinctive, innovative, and highly sought-after art being produced in North America today. But these artworks are more than just stunning--every bracelet, ring, and pendant is also the product of a fascinating backstory, a specialized set of techniques, and a talented artist.

Inuit Art

Ningiukulu Teevee: Drawings and Prints from Cape Dorest

Contains an essay about Inuit artist Ningiukulu Teevee and more than 70 color reproductions of Teevee's drawings and prints.

Irene Avaalaaqiaq: Myth and Reality

Inuit artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq is best known for her remarkable wall hangings, which reveal a rich tradition of spirit and shamanistic imagery. Irene Avaalaaqiaq: Myth and Reality discusses her life and art as well as her commitment to preserving her Inuit heritage and making it accessible to an international audience.

Nuvisavik : the Place Where We Weave

An exploration of Inuit tapestries and the stories woven into them. The tapestries, meticulously woven by women trained by their mothers as seamstresses, portray images wistfully remembered by elders in the community and captured by local artists.

Annie Pootoogook

Annie Pootoogook: Cutting Ice accompanies an exhibition organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the gallery of record for works on paper from Annie Pootoogook's Inuit community of Kinngait (Cape Dorset).

Isuma: Inuit video art

In-depth interviews with the people of Isuma and a thoughtful analysis of their films reveal how the producers combine their vision of Inuit wisdom and honour with the demands of modern filmmaking to create compelling and visually stunning films that share Inuit culture with an international audience.

Creation and Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art​

Creation and Transformation describes the genesis and evolution of contemporary Inuit art from 1949 to the present day, from carvers in the 1950s to today's graphic artists.

Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life

Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life is an illustrated oral biography created from recorded interviews by Dorothy Harley Eber in 1970. In these interviews, and through her drawings and prints, Pitseolak makes what Inuit call "the old way" come alive, reflecting on life on the land, its pleasure and trials.

Images of Justice: a legal history of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as traced through the Yellowknife Courthouse collection of Inuit sculpture

At a time when alternative legal systems for Native peoples are being debated, Images of Justice provides a lively, accessible account of the northern courts, their evolution, and their future a changing northern society.

SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut

The book features over 80 reproductions of work by 45 different Inuit artists, profiles of the featured artists, and a major essay on the art of Nunatsiavut.