Visual arts instructor gets a place in Canada’s National Gallery

By Costa Maragos Posted: November 6, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Zachari Logan, a visual arts instructor, at work on the piece that is now a part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada.
Zachari Logan, a visual arts instructor, at work on the piece that is now a part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo courtesy of Michelle Berg

What a hectic and memorable year it has been so far for Zachari Logan, a visual arts instructor at the U of R.  

One of Logan’s art pieces has been selected as part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The piece selected is titled Eunuch Tapestry 5, a chalk pastel on black paper, measuring 84x288 inches.

Logan, who is teaching three classes in the Visual Arts Department this semester, is in great demand these days.

His spring and summer projects have taken him to Paris, France; Vienna, Austria; both Verona and Lago Revine, Italy; and in late June, Logan was artist-in-residence in Tom Thomson’s shack on the site of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, commissioned by the McMichael to create a work of art to commemorate the centenary of Thomson’s death in 1917.

Logan recently returned from Halifax where he completed a stint as a visiting artist at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. In the spring, one of his pieces was chosen as the backdrop to a Lincoln Centre Theatre Production in New York, a story we featured on these pages.

Currently, Logan’s work is exhibited at the Slate Art Gallery in Regina until November 25. We spoke with Zachari about the thrill of finding a spot on the walls of the National Gallery of Canada and being a part of the U of R campus community.

I’d like to know a little more about the National Gallery of Canada part of your story. How did this come about?

Logan Gallery of Canada
Here it is. Eunuch Tapestry 5 is now a part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada. This chalk pastel on black paper measures 84x288 inches (metric conversion?) was first viewed at the Leslie Lohman Museum (New York – 2015). Photo by Zachari Logan

I have been in conversation with one of the curator’s at the National Gallery of Canada who has a special interest in contemporary drawing for some time about my practice. Several years back she visited my Saskatoon studio at a time when another drawing from the same series that the National Gallery recently purchased was being created. She expressed an interest in the works and began to discuss them her colleagues at the NGC.

How was ‘Eunuch Tapestry 5’ chosen?

This drawing was initially created for an invitational site-specific project in the Wooster Street Window Gallery of the Leslie-Lohman Museum in SoHo NYC. As the drawings in the Eunuch Tapestry Series take direct reference from the Unicorn Tapestries, a grouping of medieval textiles permanently installed at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan, I decided to take advantage of my proximity to the Cloisters collection and create a pastel for the vitrine project. The pastel drawing panels ended up filling each window to scale, becoming my largest drawing to date, spanning just over 24 feet long and 7 feet high. The drawing was on display there from February of 2015 through July of the same year. After this project, the drawing showed in Regina at the Art Gallery of Regina and next in Moose Jaw at the museum there, and finally my Toronto gallerist Paul Petro decided to present it in a solo-booth at Art Toronto, where it was seen by the entire National Gallery curatorial staff, who were impressed with the work and began a conversation about its acquisition.

What went through your mind when you were told your piece would be on display at the National Gallery of Canada?

To have one’s work show at the National Gallery of Canada is incredible, but to have works permanently in the collection; taken care of and displayed in conjunction with important historical and contemporary artists from Canada and abroad is just so affirming of my practice, it's such a beautiful and humbling thing.

Logan Wildflower
Wildflower No. 11 (Plantain)', blue pencil on mylar, 2017. Currently in A Strange Cultivation at Slate Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Zachari Logan

What does or can this mean for a Canadian artist?

It’s a huge deal. Again it’s an affirmation that what I am working at is being seriously considered through the critical lens of public collecting, and it’s being contextualized within a broader conversation of Canadian Art in a very significant way.

That brings us to Regina, where you have a show at the Slate Fine Art Gallery until November 25. What can gallery visitors expect to see of your work there?

The show is titled ‘A Strange Cultivation.’ This exhibition features a large suite of mostly new works that reflect on the body metaphorically and literally in relation to the landscape here on the prairies; specifically, the motif of the prairie ditch.

You are also hitting the road again to Toronto and elsewhere. What’s happening there?

This month I have a 2-person exhibition with renowned NY-based painter Ross Bleckner titled Nocturne, opening at Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto. My work will also be featured in A Wail and A Clang, a contemporary drawing exhibition opening at the University of Las Vegas’s Donna Beam Gallery in late November.
Next year in February I will be included in a group show titled Neo-Victorians at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York and in March I will participate in another 2-person exhibition at the Museo Studio Francesco Messina in Milan for which I am currently working on a 33-foot drawing.

In the meantime, you have kept very busy teaching fall classes at the U of R. How do you feel about teaching at the U of R?

When my husband and I moved to Regina, I was welcomed very quickly into the department as an artist in residence, and soon after was teaching as a sessional instructor, an opportunity I didn’t have while in Saskatoon since finishing my MFA. I really like working here in the MAP department; it’s a wonderful community with really amazing facilities. I have great students and colleagues, and my studio is currently just around the corner from my classes, so what more could one ask for?

Zachari Logan earned his BFA and MFA with distinction at the University of Saskatchewan. He’s currently teaching three classes at the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance - Art 240: Introduction to Painting; Art 230: Introduction to Drawing and Art 400: Professional Practices.