Gurney was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received a B.F.A. (honours) from the University of Manitoba in 1973 and a M.V.S. from the University of Toronto in 2007. Featured in solo and group exhibitions in venues across Canada and several abroad, Gurney’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Museum London (Ontario). Her work was represented by the Wynick/Tuck Gallery from 1986 – 2012. Gurney received a Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture at the University of Western Ontario, London. She lives and works in Toronto.
Following is a quote from Canadian Art Magazine online, posted December 4, 2008, re: Gurney’s 2008 exhibition at WTG, Silent Reading & Thick Description;
“Despite decades of psychological, philosophical and historical study, the issue of what happens to us when we look at art can still be quite opaque. Even if one is inwardly moved by a film, a book or another piece of art, there can be little sign of this externally. And the words we use to communicate internal experience—should we choose to do so—can often fall short.
Artist Janice Gurney probes these fissures between experience and description of art in two works on view at Wynick/Tuck Gallery. In one video, Silent Reading, Gurney depicts seven professional writers, including Catherine Bush, Guy Gavriel Kay and Andre Alexis, reading silently from books of their choice. In a different video, Thick Description, Gurney documents six people, including artist Robert Fones, art historian Mark Cheetham and gallerist Lynne Wynick, reacting out loud to the Greg Curnoe text painting Nice Day Bad News.
In both cases Gurney creates a mood of reflection and searching meditation on art, its meanings and its ever-shifting impacts. In many ways it’s as if Gurney has created a little haven for informal aesthetic study, a temporary library of the mind.”
Exhibitions from 2002-2012: on the archived WTG site.