Joyce Wieland is legendary for her contribution to the development of contemporary visual art in Canada. She began her career in Toronto as a painter in the 1950’s but her practice expanded to incorporate a range of media. In 1962 she moved to New York City and she rose to prominence as an experimental filmmaker. Soon renowned institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York were showing her films.
The 1960s and 1970s were productive years for Wieland as she explored various materials and media and her art became assertively political, engaging with nationalism, feminism, and ecology. She is known for pushing the boundaries of modernist painting. Her playful use of symbolism drawn from folk art and pop culture challenged the traditionalist idea that art should be removed from daily life and politics. Wieland had her first solo exhibition in 1960 at the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto, making her the only woman that the gallery represented.
In 1971, Wieland’s True Patriot Love exhibition was the first solo exhibition by a living Canadian female artist at the National Gallery of Canada. In 1982, Wieland received the honour of the Order of Canada, and in 1987, she was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Visual Arts Award. She was also a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.