How the human body has been represented in art over the last 200 years, and what those representations tell us about art and society, will be the topic of a keynote address by acclaimed painter and sculptor Eric Fischl at this year’s Guelph Lecture: On Being.

Co-presented by the University of Guelph, the Guelph Lecture takes place Friday, Jan. 24 as the centrepiece of the 2020 ArtsEverywhere Festival.

Fischl will share the River Run Centre stage with spoken word poet Taqralik Partridge, as well as pianist and composer Marianne Trudel, who will debut a new work with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, the Gryphon Singers and the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble.

The ArtsEverywhere Festival runs Jan. 22-26 and is co-sponsored by U of G, the Eramosa Institute and Musagetes in Guelph. It features art exhibitions, music, literary readings and discussions about issues and ideas important to local, national and international audiences.

Fischl, an internationally renowned neo-expressionist painter and sculptor, will be the keynote speaker in conversation with writer and critic Robert Enright, professor of art theory and criticism in U of G’s School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM).

His talk, “The Body: Its Uses and Abuses,” will examine the way the body has been represented in art from the 19th century to the present. Fischl, who is considered one of the most important figurative painters in the world today, will show images of his own painting, drawing and sculpture during the discussion.

Partridge, a textile artist, writer and spoken word poet originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, will read from her debut poetry collection, which includes works that reflect sensory imagery while wrestling with colonization and racial violence.

Trudel will premiere a new musical work for the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, entitled Au coeur du silence: la lumière. The piece for orchestra, choir and piano trio is co-presented by the U of G-based International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

Trudel will be joined on stage by guest accompanists Philip Mayer and Ben Finley, conductor Judith Yan and the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, and SOFAM Prof. Marta McCarthy conducting the Gryphon Singers and Symphonic Choir.

“This is an inaugural appearance of the Gryphon Singers and Symphonic Choir at both the ArtsEverywhere Festival and the Guelph Lecture,” McCarthy said.

“Their participation in this landmark collaboration seems especially fitting as a potential nexus between Fischl’s focus on the body and Partridge’s spoken word, given that singing offers a corporeal home for poetry.”

Tickets are available now through the River Run Centre box office or online.