Critically acclaimed Rita Letendre is one of the most eminent living abstract artists. Her painting career began in Montreal in the 1950s, when she associated with Quebec's Automatistes and Plasticiens. Often the sole female artist in their group shows, she broke away from their approach to painting. Seeking to express the full energy of life and harness in her powerful gestures an intense spiritual force, Letendre worked with oils, pastels, and acrylics, using her hands, palette knife, brushes and uniquely the airbrush.
Born of Abenaki and Quebecois parents, Letendre lived in Quebec until 1969, when she moved to Toronto. She has received the Order of Canada, completed commissions across Canada and the United States, and participated in national and international exhibitions. Rita Letendre: Fire & Light features thirty large-scale paintings and an essay by Wanda Nanibush, curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art at the AGO.
About the authors
Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator, and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation. She is currently a guest curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and touring her exhibition The Fifth World. Nanibush has a master's degree in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught doctoral courses on Indigenous history and politics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She has published in many places including the books Women in a Globalizing World and This is an Honour Song, as well as catalogue essays on Jeff Thomas, Adrian Stimson, Rebecca Belmore and more. She has organized round-dances, candle light marches, concerts, and teach-ins as part of an Idle No More group in Toronto. She continues to work in defense of women, children, land and water.
Georgiana Uhlyarik is the Frederik S. Eaton curator, Canadian Art, in the department of Indigenous and Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario.