Splendid Isolation

A friend and I drove down to the Esker Foundation for the opening of the exhibit, Splendid Isolation, a gorgeous and extensive collection of photographs by Olga Chagaoutdinova, Miruna Dragan, Orest Semchishen, and George Webber.  Intrigued by the notion of ‘place’ and ‘environment’, I found the photographs to be intimate and revealing, some about our place in the western landscape and some about the cultural ‘interiors’ of our province.

A very unique gallery space, the Esker Foundation provides Calgary with an alternative space that does not compete for public dollars.  I have been so impressed by the beautiful exhibits curated to this point, and this one also truly inspires.  A generous catalogue was produced and several talks, panel discussions and workshops are offered related to the topics that come up around these pieces.

 Orest Semchishen photograph: Featured In Swerve Magazine, Calgary

Orest Semchishen photograph: Featured In Swerve Magazine, Calgary

There was quite a crowd of people in attendance on opening night.  It always makes me happy to re-connect with friends and make new friends at arts events.  Pat and I enjoyed a visit with Ron Moppett and covered lots of topics including a visit about kitsch and more specifically, paint-by-number paintings.  I am looking forward to returning to Esker for the following events, related to the exhibit, as described on their registrations page.

The Private Lives of Others-Panel Discussion

“The photograph has been used and accepted as a document of reality, but can we always believe what we see? How can the photographer be both a documenter and an author of fiction, and does the ‘real-ness’ of a photograph make it more expressive, more emotionally compelling, and at who’s expense? Join Splendid Isolation artists Olga Chagaoutdinova, Miruna Dragan, George Webber, and exhibition curator Naomi Potter, for a debate about the politics of truth, appropriation, and privacy.”

Reality of Dreams

“The transition from one economic system to another continues to affect both the social and political landscape of Russia and Cuba. Olga Chagaoutdinova’s photographs capture these changes on an extremely intimate level, using the domestic setting as the site where these transitions are most acutely present. For this talk, Chagaoutdinova will discuss these social changes, the impact they have had on her work, and her ongoing research into cultural appropriation.”

Fertile Voids and the Infinite Limits of Language

“Through manipulations of photo, video, drawing, and intervention, Miruna Dragan’s projects poetically interpret particular geographies and mythologies. Her landscapes reveal the archetypal patterns embedded, like geological layers, within them. Dragan will discuss her artistic projects, process and artwork.”

Impressions in Collage-Sessions One and Two

“Join us for an afternoon of collage inspired by the exhibition, Splendid Isolation. Led by artist David Foxcroft, participants will create their own artworks using photographs, magazine images and paper media. Participants are encouraged to bring paper media they would like to incorporate into their artwork, all other materials will be provided. This is an all ages program.”

This exhibit and the concept of Splendid Isolation causes me to think about my own relationship to space and place…again.

Something in particular, comes to mind as I type.  “Eating single”  I realize that because I am on my own, my choices for meals are completely selfish and driven by my own needs and wants.  Today, I came home from Mass and prepared myself liver and onions…nothing else…just liver and onions and I can’t be more happy as I celebrate my own splendid isolation!  Now, off to the pond!


1 thought on “Splendid Isolation

  1. Photography as art, as opposed to record keeping or snapshot, has often puzzled me – I would have liked to have been there for discussions. Did you participate in the collage workshop?

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