Biography

Mary Kavanagh is a visual artist, professor and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. She was awarded a Tier I Board of Governors Research Chair (2020-2025) for her work examining the material evidence of war, weaponized landscapes, and the nuclear era.

Kavanagh's artwork is exhibited across Canada and internationally, and she has contributed to numerous publications including Through Post-Atomic Eyes (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2020) and Occupying Forces (Prefix Photo, 2015).

Artist residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and the Canadian Forces Artists Program, have resulted in sustained investigations that operate at the intersection of artistic and scholarly practice. With projects in Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United States (New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Alaska), Kavanagh's interest in the complex and veiled history of nuclear armament culminated in her travelling exhibition, Daughters of Uranium, which combined found and fabricated objects and images, photographic and moving image installations. A publication of the same name documents the exhibition and features essays by a distinguished group of curators and scholars.

Kavanagh's work has been supported by grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is Principle Investigator of a SSHRC Insight Grant for Atomic Tourist, an interdisciplinary research project focused on the Trinity atomic bomb test site in New Mexico.

Mary Kavanagh holds a BA in Art Studio from the University of Guelph, an MA in Art History from the University of Western Ontario, and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. In 2007 she was Visiting Professor at Hokkai-Gakuen University in Sapporo, Japan, and in 2018 she was appointed Associate Member of the Centre for Documentary Studies, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto. She serves on the advisory board of the Atomic Photographers Guild.

Education

2003 MA, University of Western Ontario, London, ON
1995 MFA, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
1992 BA Honours Fine Art, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Academic Appointments [Selected]

2020-25 Board of Governors Research Chair, Tier I in Fine Arts
University of Lethbridge
2021- Chair
Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge
2018- Professor
Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge
2018- Associate Member
Documentary Media Research Centre, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
2006-12 Chair
Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge
2007 Visiting Professor
Hokkai-Gakuen University, Sapporo, Japan
2005-18 Associate Professor
Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge
2000-05 Assistant Professor
Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge

Solo Exhibitions [Selected]

2020 Trinity ³; curator Crystal Mowry
Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON
2019-20 Daughters of Uranium; curators Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman
Founders' Gallery, University of Calgary, located at The Military Museums, Calgary, AB
2019 Daughters of Uranium; curators Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2012 Atomic Suite; curator Anne Ewan
Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2006 Seeking Georgia; curator Joan Stebbins
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2005 ReCollect; curator Corinna Ghaznavi
A Space Gallery, Toronto, ON
2004 ReCollect; curator Corinna Ghaznavi
Galerie La Centrale Powerhouse, Montreal, QC
2003 polish; curator Joanne Marion
Medicine Hat Art Gallery and Museum, Medicine Hat, AB
2003 polish; curator Heather Smith
Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, SK
2002 Coming to Writing or the Silver Drawings
Harcourt House, Edmonton, AB
2002 polish; curator Jake Moore
ACE Art, Winnipeg, MB
2001 Prelude: Distillation, Separation, Balance
SAW Gallery, Ottawa, ON
2000 Prelude: Distillation, Separation, Balance; curator Dan Ring
The Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK
2000 en transi
Forest City Gallery, London, ON

Group Exhibitions [Selected]

2022 From Remote Stars: Buckminster Fuller, London, and Speculative Futures; (forthcoming)
curators Kirsty Robertson and Sarah Smith
Museum London, London, ON
2021 a wave in other words: works from the permanent collection
curator Crystal Mowry
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON
2020 Trinity: Reflections on the Bomb; (online exhibition)
curator Joseph Traugott
Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2019 Nuclear Visions: Atomic Photographers Guild; curator elen o'Hara slavick
John and June Alcott Gallery, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
2020 Trinity: Reflections on the Bomb; (forthcoming) curator Joseph Traugott
Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
2019 Grow Op; curator LeuWebb Projects
Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON
2017-19 Voices: artists on art | 2017-1967: Contemporary Art 50 Years After Sculpture '67
curators Yvonne Lammerich and Ian Carr-Harris
Zeyed University in Dubai, U.A.E.
Al Fanoun Gallery, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
Harbourfront Centre Gallery, Toronto, ON
2018 Legacies: Canadian Forces Artists Program; curator Joanne Stober
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, ON
2017 After Hiroshima; curator IoDeposito
B#S Gallery, Treviso, Italy
2016 Resident Artists, Terra Vivante Art Studio | Fate Festival
San Potito Art Space, Province of Caserta, Campagnia, Italy
2015-16 Group 6: Canadian Forces Artists Program, 2012-2013; curator Laura Brandon
Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, Carp, ON
2016 The Legacy of the Nuclear Age, The World Social Forum
UQAM / McGill University, Montreal, QC
2015 Atomic Photographers Guild
Hiroshima Bank, Hiroshima, Japan
2015 Nuclear Photographs: Atomic Photographers Guild
International Uranium Film Festival, Quebec City, QC
2015 Future Station: 2015 Biennial of Contemporary Art; curator Kristy Trinier
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
2014-15 senselikeblueplace
Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2013 Ecotone; curators Ryan Doherty and Christian Sowiak
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary, Calgary AB
2011 Mapping a Prairie City: Lethbridge and Its Suburbs; curators Don Gill and Ryan Doherty
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2008 The Talking Project; with Linda Duvall
Red Head Gallery, Toronto, ON
2007-08 Living Utopia and Disaster: 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art;
curators Catherine Crowston and Sylvie Gilbert
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Walter Phillips Art Gallery, Banff, AB
2007 Art in Transit: Public Art Artist Residency Project
Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM
2006-08 The Forest for the Trees; curator Anne O'Callaghan
Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto ON
La Spezia, Galleria Circolo Culturale, Arte Contemporanea, Italy
Art Gallery, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS
2006 Current; curator Allan MacKay
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2000 Memoirs: transcribing loss; curator Lisa Baldissera
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC

Artist Residencies [Selected]

2016 Terra Vivente Art Studio, Guardia Sanframondi, Province of Campania, Italy
2012-13 Canadian Forces Artists Program, Department of Defence, Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON
2012-13 Ecotone, Artist-Rancher Residence Program | Field Notes Collective, Lethbridge, AB
2010-11 Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), Wendover, UT
2005-06 Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM

Research Residencies [Selected]

2015 National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque, NM
2014 National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV
2008 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Havan, CT
2005 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, Santa Fe, NM

Grants | Awards [External]

2021 Project Grant, Visual Arts and New Media, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2017-21 Insight Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
2017 Project Grant, Visual Arts and New Media, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2016 International Residencies Grant, Canada Council for the Arts
2015 Project Grant, Visual Arts and New Media, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2014 Project Grant, Visual Arts and New Media, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2013 Project Grant, Assistance to Visual Artists, Canada Council for the Arts
2012 Project Grant, Visual Arts and New Media, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2011 Project Grant, Assistance to Visual Artists, Canada Council for the Arts
2009 Project Grant, Alberta Creative Development Initiative (ACDI)
Canada Council for the Arts | Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2008-09 Banff Centre for the Arts | Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, Santa Fe Art Institute
2004 Project Grant, Visual Arts Program, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2002 Project Grant, Visual Arts Program, Alberta Foundation for the Arts

Grants | Awards [Internal | University of Lethbridge]

2020-25 Tier I Research Chair, Board of Governors
2017 VPR Strategic Opportunities Award, Office of Research Services
2016 Internal SSHRC Grant, Office of Research Services
2014 Academic Research Enhancement (ARE) Award, Faculty of Fine Arts
2013 Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities (CREDO) Award, Office of Research Services
2013 University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF) Award, Office of Research Services
2012 VP Internal Artistic/Creation Grant, Office of Research Services
2012 Academic Research Enhancement (ARE) Award, Faculty of Fine Arts
2010 Academic Research Enhancement (ARE) Award, Faculty of Fine Arts
2006 University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF) Award, Office of Research Services
2001-19 Travel Award, Office of Research Services (annually granted)
2001 University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF) Award, Office of Research Services

Acquisitions [Public]

2021 Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
2016 Canadian War Museum
2015 Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2010 Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2008 Alberta Foundation for the Arts

Publications [Authored]

2020 "Atomic Tourist: Trinity," (artist project) Through Post-Atomic Eyes, John O'Brian and Claudette Lauzon, eds., McGill-Queens University Press, Fall 2020.
2016 "Annotations," (essay) Glass: Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Santa Fe, NM: Radius Books, 2016.
2015 "Mary Kavanagh," (portfolio) Prefix Photo, Issue 32: Occupying Forces, Fall 2015.
2013 "Atomic Tourist: Trinity Site, New Mexico," (article) On Site Review, Issue 29: Geology, Fall 2013.
2011 "Field Notes Collective | Mapping a Prairie City: Lethbridge and Its Suburbs," (essay), Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB.

Lectures | Conferences [Selected]

2021 "before the before the after," Bombhead Lecture Series, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, BC
2020 "Trinity 3," Women of Influence for Women's Art Lecture Series, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON
2019 "Daughters of Uranium," Nickle at Noon, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2019 "Daughters of Uranium," Articulations Lecture Series, [with co-curators Christina Cuthbertson, Lindsey Sharman] Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2019 "Daughters of Uranium," Art NOW Speaker Series, University of Lethbridge, AB
2018 "Artist Lecture," Documentary Media MFA, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
2017 "Nuclear Anxiety and Activism," Non-fiction Art, Instrumentalism and Social Practice, [panel: Mary Kavanagh, David Miller, Jackson TwoBears; moderator Don Gill] Visible Evidence XXIV, Buenes Aires, Argentina
2017 "Atomic Tourist: Trinity," Nuclear Families: From Trinity to Nagasaki, [panel: Mark Klett, Katy McCormick, Mary Kavanagh; moderator Claude Baillergeon] Society for Photographic Education, Orlando, FL
2016 "Georgia's Bed," Art NOW Speaker Series, University of Lethbridge, AB
2016 "Georgia's Bed," Art, Archive, and the Documentary Impulse, [panel: Mary Kavanagh, Jackson TwoBears; moderator Don Gill] Visible Evidence XXIII, Bozeman, MT
2016 "Atomic Tourist: Trinity," Nuclear Light: Revelation and Apocalypse, [panel: Robert Del Tredici, Katy McCormick, Mary Kavanagh; moderator Blake Fitzpatrick] The Inventions of Light; L'Invention de la Lumiere Symposium, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
2015 "Group 6: Canadian Forces Artists Program," [panel: Thomas Kneubuhler, Leslie Hossack, Mary Kavanagh, Leslie Reid, Rhonda Weppler; moderator Laura Brandon] Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, Carp, ON
2014 "Sensing Rain and Ruin, Speaking up, Falling Out," Articulations Lecture Series, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
2014 "Georgia O'Keeffe, New Mexico and the Bomb," Women's Scholars Speakers Series, University of Lethbridge, AB
2013 “Spatial Memory: A Theory of the Present,” Department of Creative Studies, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC
2012 "Artist Lecture | Atomic Suite," Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2008 “Artist Lecture,” Art for Lunch Lecture Series, University of Regina, Regina, SK
2008 “Artist Lecture,” Nickle at Noon, Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2008 “Artist Lecture,” Artist Speakers Program, School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
2006 “Artist Lecture,” Artist Speaker Series, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM
2006 “Artist Lecture,” Art NOW Speaker Series, University of Lethbridge, AB
2004 “Defining a Practice,” Women’s Scholars Speakers Series, University of Lethbridge, AB
2003 “Artist Lecture,” Medicine Hat Art Gallery and Museum, Medicine Hat, AB

Reviews | Articles | Essays [Selected]

2020 Fitzpatrick, Blake, "Embodied politics | La politique incarnée", [review] Ciel Variable: Art Photo Médias Culture, Montreal, Summer 2020 Issue.
2019 Stewart, Tyler J., "Daughters of Uranium: Mary Kavanagh looks at the atomic age's lingering residue on humanity," [review] Galleries West Magazine, Calgary, AB, Mar 20, 2019.
2019 Faulkner, Courtney, "Daughters of Uranium," The Meliorist: Student Publication of The University of Lethbridge, Volume 52 Issue 08, April 2019.
2018 Rubin-Kunda, Lezli, At Home: Talks with Contemporary Artists about Place and Practice, Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2018.
2017 Conley, Christine, "Material, Trace, Trauma: Notes on some recent acquisions at the Canadian War Museum and the Legacy of WWII," [article] Canadian Military History Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter 2017.
2017 Sharman, Lindsey, "Constituent Parts: Recent Portraiture in Canadian Military Art," [article] Canadian Military History Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter 2017.
2016 MacFarlane, John, "Group 6: The Canadian Forces Artists Program at the Diefenbunker," Argonauta, Vol. XXIII No. 2, Spring 2016.
2015 Brandon, Laura, "Group 6, Canadian Forces Artists Program," Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, Carp, ON, 2015.
2015 Dymond, Anne, "senselikeblueplace," Canadian Art, Spring 2015.
2014 Mouré, Erin, "Forma Vita: senselikeblueplace," [essay] Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge, AB.
2012 O'Brian, John, "Mary Kavanagh: Atomic Suite," [review] BorderCrossings, Winnipeg, MB, Issue No. 124.
2012 Ewan, Anne, "Atomic Suite," [brochure] Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
2011 Legris, Sylvia, "Arsenal: Mary Kavanagh Featured Artist," Grain Magazine, Saskatoon, SK, Winter 2011.
2008 Moray, Gerta, "An Archaeology of Desire," Mary Kavanagh | Seeking Georgia, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB.
2008 Karp, Dianne, "Welcome to O'Keeffe Country," Mary Kavanagh | Seeking Georgia, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB.
2007 Black, Anthea, "2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art: Living Utopia and Disaster," BorderCrossings, Summer 2007.
2007 Bouchard, Gilbert A, "The 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art," Galleries West, Calgary, AB, Fall/Winter 2007.
2007 Tousley, Nancy, "Utopia and Disaster: Unease, anxiety undercurrent of Alberta Biennial," Calgary Herald, Saturday, Aug 11, 2007.
2007 Thompson, Katherine, "Alberta Biennial," Akimblog, Posted Jul 5, 2007.
2006 Dymond, Anne, "Mary Kavanagh: Seeking Georgia," [review] BorderCrossings, Summer 2006.
2006 Carr-Harris, Ian, "Toronto Column," Contemporary Magazine, London, UK, Issue No. 79, Spring 2006.
2005 Ghaznavi, Corinna, "ReCollect," A Space, Toronto, ON, Sep 2005.
2004 Moore, Jake, "ReCollection, Exhibition Gallerie la Centrale," Canadian Art Magazine, Summer 2004.
2004 Warland, Betsy, "Awkwardly Towards One Another," Mary Kavanagh | polish , Medicine Hat Art Gallery and Museum, Medicine Hat, AB, 2004.
2002 Dahle, Sigrid, "Potent Reminder..." Winnipeg Free Press, Mar 21, 2002.
2002 Duvall, Linda, "Home Fires Burning," New West Review, Saskatoon, SK, 27.1, 2002.
2002 Gillmore, Alison, "polish, by Mary Kavanagh," Paper Wait, Ace Art, Winnipeg, MB, 2002.
2002 Matejko, Agneiszka, "Among my souvenirs," VueWeekly, Edmonton, AB, Jun 6-12, 2002.
2000 Baldissera, Lisa, "Memoirs: Transcribing Loss," Art Gallery of Greater Victoria ," Victoria, BC.
2000 Warland, Betsy, "Coming to Light," Ruth Chambers and Mary Kavanagh: Pneuma and Prelude, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK, 2000.

Exhibition Catalogues [Selected]

Mary Kavanagh | Daughters of Uranium [link to publication]
Peter C. van Wyck, essay, "Reading the Remains" [essay]
Jayne Wilkinson, essay, "A Radioactive Domestic" [essay]
Christina Cuthbertson, essay, "The Book Unbound" [essay]
Lindsey Sharman, essay, "| Flu | War | Breath | Cloud |" [essay]
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
Christina Cuthbertson, Lindsey Sharman, curators
Mar 2 - Apr 28, 2019
Founders' Gallery, University of Calgary, The Military Museums, Calgary, AB
Sep 27, 2019 - Jan 18, 2020
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON
Crystal Mowry, curator
Feb 13 - May 10, 2020
Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art
Kristy Trinier, essay, "A Status of Equanimity"
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Kristy Trinier, curator
24 January - 3 May, 2015
Seeking Georgia: Mapping O'Keeffe Country
Diane Karp, foreword, "Welcome to O'Keeffe Country"
Gerta Moray, essay, "An Archaeology of Desire"
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
Edison del Canto, design
Joan Stebbins, curator
21 January - 6 March, 2006
[link to catalogue]
Living Utopia and Disaster: 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art
Donna Brunsdale and Gary Burns, essay, "Charming and Desirable"
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB
Catherine Crowston, curator
23 June - 9 September, 2007
Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, AB
Sylvie Gilbert, curator
26 October, 2007 - 6 January, 2008
polish
Betsy Warland, essay, "Awkwardly Toward One Another: Mary Kavanagh's polish"
Miranda Pearson, poem, "Silver Collection"
Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, AB
Edison del Canto, design
Joanne Marion, curator
23 August - 5 October, 2003
[link to catalogue]