Robert Houle’s Red Is Beautiful

“Muhnedobe uhyahyuk (Where the gods are present)” by Robert Houle. Photo credit: Mika Castro

On March 23, 2023, Museum Queeries members visited the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see the Robert Houle exhibit “Red Is Beautiful.” Read the SnapThoughts below to see what they thought about the exhibit.

For more information about the “Red Is Beautiful,” visit the WAG page.

“I think that Robert Houle’s uses of colour really speak for his artistry. Throughout my self-guided tour, I was finding the big and bright canvases of Houle’s to be overwhelming, devastating, and even at times healing. My favourite were the four paintings in his “Muhnedobe uhyahyuk (Where the gods are present)” series. The paintings remind me of the magical feeling of seeing the flat landscape of Manitoba for the first time during one of my very first roadtrips in the province.” – Mika Castro

“While Robert Houle’s work isn’t explicitly dealing with queer content, I think that it does demonstrate ways in which we might think about queering dominant narratives and making space for queerness in institutional spaces. This idea was bought to mind for me by Houle’s works that focus on Canadian history, such as Kanata and Premises for Self-Rule. Houle directs attention to the impact of particular moments in Canadian history on Indigenous peoples. These works invite the viewer to take a new perspective, to look at those placed in the margins of paintings and history and society, and to closely examine the words in legal documents that govern people and have such a strong influence on their lives. This is a useful lesson when thinking about history more broadly, to think deeply about the marginalized groups who are so often excluded from historical narratives or are only included in ways that may be to their detriment.” – Sabrina Mark