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Dennis Tourbin
The Language of Visual Poetry

A city-wide celebration of the
St. Catharines-born artist’s life and work

Presented by Rodman Hall Art Centre
in collaboration with Niagara Artists Centre
& CRAM International

Rodman Hall Art Centre
109 St. Paul Crescent |
29 September – 30 December 2012

Niagara Artists Centre
354 St. Paul Street |
29 September – 30 December 2012

CRAM International
24 James Street, 2nd Floor |
5 October – 30 October 2012

Opening Reception: Friday 12 October 7-11 pm
Opening Remarks at Rodman Hall at 7:30 pm
Gallery crawl to CRAM International at 8:30 pm
Performance at Niagara Artists Centre at 9:30 pm

A pioneer of interdisciplinary practice in Canada, Dennis Tourbin produced a distinctive body of work integrating the written word with painting, drawing, video and performance. From the early 1970s until his death in 1998, Tourbin’s prescient work engaged with mass media, using mediated text and imagery in an exploration of language and meaning. Part documentarian and part storyteller, Tourbin employed the aesthetics of collage and a serial approach in the drawings and vivid paintings he called ‘visual poems.’ Tracing Tourbin’s practice from his first painting to his final print, this retrospective is the first comprehensive consideration of the artist’s oeuvre.

Anchored by Rodman Hall, the exhibition extends to Niagara Artists Centre and CRAM International in recognition of Tourbin’s contribution to the development of local artist run culture. This multi-venue exhibition has been curated by Marcie Bronson, with special thanks to Shirley Madill for her early support of the project. An illustrated catalogue featuring essays by Diana Nemiroff, Guy Lachapelle, and Judith Parker will be published in 2013.

Rodman Hall Art Centre is grateful for the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council. Niagara Artists Centre acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of St. Catharines, and the Niagara Community Foundation. CRAM International is supported by the CRAM Collective, and Lisa Matheson and Frank Coy.
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Dennis Tourbin (1946-1998) was a self-taught artist and writer. His work has been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada and in Europe, and is held in major Canadian institutions. He published numerous books of poetry and novels including The Port Dalhousie Stories (Coach House Press, 1987), a chronicle of growing up in St. Catharines in the 1960s. A fervent arts activist, Tourbin played a vital role in artist-run culture in Ontario and was a founding member of Niagara Artists’ Cooperative (now Niagara Artists Centre) in St. Catharines.

Image: Dennis Tourbin with painted paddle from The Writing of Painting of Martha, A One Act Play, 1975. © The Estate of Dennis Tourbin, CARCC, 2012.