It’s the ‘morning after’ writing this post and as I read it, I think that it might be a particularly challenging post because Saturday night was so FULL to exploding with art and at this single venue, a lot was going on. For those who are not familiar with the physical lay out of the building that was once called the Art Gallery of Calgary, there are four floors, each separated by a very open stairwell. Presently, on three of those floors is an exhibit titled Made in Calgary: The 1990s and on the top floor, an aboriginal women artists’ exhibit titled the Deadly Lady Artist Triumvirate. This post will explore both, although, barely touching on the 1990s portion.
The Art Gallery of Calgary and our MOCA, located by City Hall, along with the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Art have consolidated/E-merged as Contemporary Calgary. So, to begin with, the language that I use to label the evening venue becomes a tad complicated. Here are some of the highlights, as I saw them.
An upbeat evening was had at Contemporary Calgary on Saturday night…friendship (happy birthday, Jen), hugs, laughter, great catered food and fantastic art. In the 1990s, I remember making the acquaintance of several local artists in their studios…places like the Burns Building. I think that the exhibit nicely characterizes the sorts of things that were happening at the time and it was very reminiscent to be in connection with the ‘stuff’ again.
While I won’t be able to feature or write my connection with each piece, I want to showcase a few. For example, a nice little threesome of silver gelatin prints by Lawrence Chrismas were exhibited. I met Lawrence when I attended a powerful exhibit of photographs at the Esker Foundations some time ago. The exhibit was titled Splendid Isolation…and captured the intimacy and narrative aspects of spaces. At one of the art talk events, Lawrence (Larry) had shared, during question period, an encounter with photographer, Orest Semchishen. It was a highlight for me as I was taking in Orest’s historical images of small town Alberta.
I’ve made a visit to the Paintedearth Coal Mine with my friend, Bill Webb and so when I saw the image of these welders, I was so impressed with the fact that faces were ‘put on’ the history of the area. Art sustains our narratives so that we might always make reference. I felt engaged with a small part of the archive that is Alberta mining. Beautiful.
A Wayne Giles piece demanded the viewer’s attention by its monumental presence on the lower level. The first image is the AGC’s documented image and the following one is my attempt to capture its presence at my first encounter.
Contemporary Calgary, (formerly The Art Gallery of Calgary) is pleased to announce its first Artist-in-Residence (AIR) project, supporting local and ntional artists in the research, creation, and presentation of new artwork while building mentorship opportunities between emerging and established artists. Throughout the month of January, the AIR project features three Aboriginal artists; Tanya Harnett, Amy Malbeuf, and Brittney Bear Hat.
It is my hope that my readers will find opportunity to enjoy this exhibit that runs until May 4, 2014. Opening night, the voices of female singers and the sounds of their drums filled the Top Gallery and left me, in a few different moments, silently weeping. The exhibit of works was brilliant and create a composite of deeply felt moments…stories of family, identity and healing.
I had previously written some ponderings about Tanya Harnett while being blown away by an Edward Burtynsky exhibit at the Glenbow. It was wonderful to finally see her very potent and beautiful works exhibited in this way.
I had done some reading about Chief Running Rabbit, just recently, and chose to depict him in one of my paintings at the Gorilla House. It was a quick two hour engagement with the subject and a bit more in research, but to have this encounter with his story during the night’s events, was a highlight for me. I’m disappointed that I didn’t meet Brittney.