Marnie Fleming

From 1986 to 1991 Marnie Fleming was curator of contemporary art at what is today Museum London. She was also curator of contemporary art at Oakville Galleries from 1991 to 2014. In 2016 Marnie Fleming was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Art.

Marnie Fleming was raised in Windsor, Ontario. Following a master’s degree in Art History from the University of British Columbia, her career commenced in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s extension and education departments (1980 to 1986). Welcoming a return to Southwestern Ontario, she took up a position as curator of contemporary art (1986 to 1991) at the London Regional Art Gallery (which became the London Regional Art and Historical Museums in 1989, and is now Museum London) to work alongside chief curator Paddy O’Brien and London’s renowned artists.

Fleming’s London, Ontario tenure coincided with a time when artists were beginning to create immersive approaches, or in situ artworks. For example, she curated exhibitions of installations that responded to the architecture of the barrel-vaulted ceilings of Museum London, such as a wonderful drawing of a life-size tree by London artist David Merritt, a massive painting incorporating all the walls by New York feminist artist Mary Beth Edelson and a chapel-like environment by Montreal/Toronto artist Sylvie Bélanger, among many others. What was exciting was that artists were going against the grain of the commodification of the marketplace and incorporating gestures, text and multi-media. Additionally, the exhibition London Life Young Contemporaries (1987) was an important national touring exhibition assembled by Fleming. It featured a survey of Canada’s young artists from coast to coast, all under the age of thirty. Among the international artists Fleming programmed at the London Regional Art and Historical Museums was the New York-based Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar (1991) whose installation art ran parallel with the political and aesthetic interventions of many London artists.

From 1991 to her retirement in 2014, Fleming took on a new challenge as curator of contemporary art at Oakville Galleries. From the outset, this position allowed her to reimagine the role that a small museum could play not only in the local community but in the promotion of a generation of national and international artists. Landmark commissions and acquisitions during her tenure established an important narrative in Canadian art while also distinguishing Oakville Galleries as one of Canada’s most prolific visual art publishers.

Among Fleming’s numerous exhibition credits are notable solo projects with Stephen Andrews (1989), Alfredo Jaar (1990), Liz Magor (1993), Ken Lum (1994), Colette Whiten (1995), Kimsooja (1997), Robert Fones (1998), David Rokeby (2004), and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (2005). Major group exhibitions include Track Records: Trains and Contemporary Photography (Oakville Galleries and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, 1997); Is there a there there? (The National Gallery of Canada, 2007), and Auto-Motive: World through the Windshield (Oakville Galleries, 2013). Her publication credits include Micah Lexier: Book Sculptures (Oakville Galleries, 1993); Janet Cardiff: A Large Slow River (Oakville Galleries, 2000); Kim Adams (Oakville Galleries and The Power Plant, 2002); Roy Arden: Selected Works 1985-2000 (Oakville Galleries, 2002); and Angela Grauerholz: The Inexhaustible Image (The National Gallery of Canada, 2010), among many others.

In 2016, Marnie Fleming was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Art.

Biography Courtesy of Marnie Fleming



Marnie Fleming, curator and 2016 Canada Council laureate – a film by Daniel McIntyre.

See also: Paddy Gunn O’Brien

CV Courtesy of Marnie Fleming

Biography Profile Photo: Ken Straiton
Courtesy of Marnie Fleming

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