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McCord Museum exhibit features 7.3-metre-long painting by Kent Monkman

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MONTREAL - In his new exhibition at the McCord Museum, Toronto-based artist Kent Monkman includes just one painting.

If that seems insufficient, consider that the work, "Welcome to the Studio," is 7.3 metres long and almost two metres high.

For inspiration, Monkman, the museum's current artist-in-residence, delved into the museum's archives, which include some 400,000 images taken by the 19th-century Montreal photographer William Notman.

Monkman painted versions of more than 30 of Notman's photographic portraits, and placed those versions in his enormous work in a way that matches the arrangement of figures in a famous large-scale 19th-century oil painting, "The Artist's Studio" by French artist Gustave Courbet.

Some of Notman's photographs are also displayed in the exhibition.

The installation is an "immersive experience," where viewers will be able to view a reflection of their own faces in the painting, says the McCord Museum. The museum is inviting visitors to share these "self-portraits" on social media.

Known for ironical art that merges reality and fantasy — his works are in major collections including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Glenbow Museum — Monkman has focused on the relationship between photography and painting during his residency, said the McCord Museum.

The installation will be on view from Jan. 30 to June 1.

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