SASKATOON, Sask. - Joni Mitchell is known the world over for her songwriting and singing. Now, another aspect of her creativity, her visual art, is about to go on public display for the first time in Canada.
Voices: The Work of Joni Mitchell opens Friday evening at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Mitchell's home town. The exhibition shows the links between her music, writing and visual art.
The Mendel Art Gallery is showing more than 80 drawings, photographs and paintings produced by Mitchell over the past 35 years. This is the first retrospective of her work in Canada.
Gilles Hebert, the director of the gallery, developed the exhibition. He says he discovered that Mitchell doesn't separate her music from her writing or her painting, they're all linked:
"She'll talk about how she became interested in jazz and ...[how] she began to act on it in the '70s and the resulting change in her visual art production at the same time. And that it's all linked, not consciously, but organically. If we've done the job right, our visitors will make links between her three areas of work."
Wayne Baerwaldt of Winnipeg's Plug In Gallery helped develop the book that accompanies the exhibition at the Mendel.
He says Mitchell's star power will help get people in the door and take an interest in her paintings. Baerwaldt thinks people should read her paintings as part of a larger process of creativity:
"What goes into the paintings? How do the paintings relate to the album covers? How do the paintings relate to lyrics of songs? I'm interested in that process and following it in order to assess her work as visual artist."
The exhibition in Saskatoon will combine Mitchell's visual art with some of her poetry and lyrics as well as a selection of her music.
The opening of the exhibition is Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Mendel Art Gallery. You won't need a ticket, but be prepared to wait in line. People from across Canada, the United States and other countries are going to Saskatoon to see the work of Joni Mitchell.