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Surreal Transformations: The Art Gallery of Algoma Is A Buzz With Activity This Summer!

Story by: Katie Alton Marketing and Office Coordinator and Elena Lewis Visitor Services and Public Engagement Coordinator
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Surreal Transformations: The Art Gallery of Algoma Is A Buzz With Activity This Summer!

The Art Gallery of Algoma is pleased to present the work of Aganetha Dyck & Richard Dyck in its summer exhibition Surreal Transformations. Aganetha Dyck is a Canadian artist whose sculptural body of work is made from familiar items such as cigarettes, wool sweaters, crocheted toques and buttons which can be read as a ‘domestic critique and a material history of post-war feminism’.1

Since the early 1990’s Dyck, aided by partner and apiary assistant Peter, has created hundreds of sculptures with honeybees by placing into commercial beehives found and handmade objects. The bees, having adjusted to the presence of the inserted item, continue their everyday routines by collecting and making honey and building their hive around the newly placed object. The result is the production of stunning, uncanny objects that have been altered by the bees. Some of the bee-altered items include hockey equipment, hand-made dresses, women’s shoes and porcelain figurines in 18th century dress that have been surrealistically transformed making items that are common place refreshingly new and exciting. Aganetha openly confesses that “the bees do most of the work” and that she is a happy collaborator.

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Through her work Dyck turns our attention to the life of the honeybee. The artist emphasizes the importance of bees to our human existence as givers of honey and pollinators of our food systems. She states, “I am interested in the small, in the really tiny of the world. We’re going so fast, because we have so many people to feed and house and so we just bulldoze ahead. It’s the simple things that already exist that work so hard for us, that I think we’re kind of ignoring…”2

Aganetha Dyck’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across North America and in England, France and the Netherlands. Her artwork can be found in the collections of such prestigious museums as the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Britain.

She is the recipient of many awards such as the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction 2006, the Canada Council's Governor General's Award for visual and media arts 2007 and the Spotlight on 40 years: Artworks from the Canada Council Art Bank 2012, Art City Star Award, Winnipeg 2013.

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In the last few years Aganetha has collaborated with her son Richard Dyck, an artist himself. The work that the two developed together is titled 'Hive Scans' which are images of the honeybees working within the darkness of their hives. Aganetha placed the scanner into the hives while Richard performed the scanning. According to Aganetha the bees "enjoyed the scanner and began adding their honeycomb onto it immediately."



1 The Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts 2007, Canada Council for the Arts, 2007, p. 22.

2 The Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts 2007, Canada Council for the Arts, 2007, p. 21.

To learn more about Aganetha Dyck, please visit

The Art Gallery of Algoma is excited to offer several unique programming activities related to the exhibition Surreal Transformations.

On July 12th, 2014 10am-5pm the AGA will be offering an Eco-Art Adventure Tour that starts at the Gallery with a tour of exhibitions. Following this, visitors are invited to learn more about bees at local bee keeper, Mary Eaton’s bee yard. Before heading home, guests will get the opportunity to do a studio visit at Errol and Helene Caldwell’s Turning Point Studio in Echo Bay. The ticket includes lunch, transportation and guided tours. To book a ticket, please visit http://www.artgalleryofalgoma.com/contact.html


On June 13th, 2014 11am-5pm the AGA will be holding a mini-symposium and panel discussion entitled Intersections: Connect Food, Art and Environment. Aganetha Dyck will be the guest speaker at the event. The purpose of the symposium is to bring professionals in different disciplines from art to environmental sciences to politics into one room and discuss how we can work together to raise awareness about environmental issues that impact our everyday lives.   To find out more or to book a ticket visit http://www.artgalleryofalgoma.com/events.html

On June 14th, 2014 1pm-4pm The AGA will be busy as bees at a Family Day event. Aganetha Dyck’s exhibition will use all of your senses to look at art and appreciate the productive lives of bees. You and your family will be inspired to participate in our family day activities. We’re going to honour this tiny creature for all of the golden things it does and all that it symbolizes!

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Photo Credits:

Aganetha Dyck
Masked Ball Series – Chess
Beework & Honeycomb on Figurine, 2008
Image courtesy of the Michael Gibson Gallery
Aganetha Dyck
Sports Night in Canada Football Helmet
Beework & Honeycomb on Football Helmet, 1995-2000
Photo credit: Peter Dyck
Aganetha Dyck & Richard Dyck
Hive Scan 13
Chromira Photograph, 2001-2003
Photo credit: Richard Dyck

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