The Charles H. Scott Gallery is pleased to present Telling Details: The Architecture of Clifford Wiens. Curated by Vancouver architectural historian and critic Trevor Boddy and organized by the Mendel Art Gallery, the exhibition is a retrospective of the work of Clifford Wiens, a key figure in developing architecture in dialogue with both landscape and technology—the heart of current design thinking in Western Canada. In Arthur Erickson’s estimation: “Not only is he Saskatchewan’s finest architect ever, but Clifford Wiens’ work is of international importance.”
Now based in Vancouver after a 30 year-long nationally acclaimed design career in Regina, Wiens’ projects range from a handbuilt conical studio for sculptor John Nugent, to the primal Silton Chapel, a powerful and wall-less pavilion set into the banks of the Qu’Appelle Valley. Telling Details includes photographs of ten major Wiens designs, plus sketches, working drawings, and beautifully-detailed architectural models, some make by the 83 year-old architect expressly for this exhibition, showing for the last time here after a national tour. Emphasizing the human side of architecture, the exhibition also includes video footage of the architect in which he returns to view and talk about his buildings, some of which he has not seen for decades. All of these elements within the Telling Details exhibition work together to provide insight into the ideas of Wiens, one of Canada’s leading Modern Architects and close associate of the Regina Five abstract painters.
Clifford Wiens was born to a Mennonite family in Glen Kerr, Saskatchewan in 1926, then took a degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, after brief painting studies with A.Y. Jackson and a year studying agriculture in Saskatoon. Wiens has won the Massey Medal (now Governor-General’s Award) for Architecture three times, and for buildings that demonstrate modest sites and budgets do not necessarily mean modest architecture.
Telling Details: The Architecture of Clifford Wiens was organized and circulated by The Mendel Gallery, Saskatoon Saskatchewan. This project has been made possible in part through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. Funding support from The Canada Council for the Arts, Saskatchewan Arts Board and the City of Saskatoon is also gratefully acknowledged.