Here’s the thing. From Thursday on, each and every week, I tend to be out art-walking, usually some time just after Max-walking. But, for some folk, this might be an activity yet to be enjoyed and so I thought I’d jot a quick post about it. Each and every year, the city invites Calgarians out for an event titled Calgary Artwalk. This year, the celebration of our 31st anniversary took place on September 20 and 21.
I think that what this event attempts to do is to knock down a particular kind of boundary that seems to separate art from viewer OR artist from viewer. It is an imagined construct that comes out of some odd sense of mystery or entitlement. Sometimes I think that the public might even imagine that art-walking isn’t even fun. Artwalk is about the accessibility of visual art to the general public.
Because I’m ‘a single’ in the world, art-walking provides the perfect pastime. In fact, I met another single person at the cross walk heading for the opening of VANISHING ICE: ALPINE AND POLAR LANDSCAPES IN ART 1775-2012 at the Glenbow the other night and we shared a pleasant conversation about her living in New York previously and how she has a difficult time taking in all of the possible events that this city offers over time. Art-walking provides for opportunities to meet people you might not have bumped into in any other setting. It also helps artists reconnect with friend-artists who are important mentors and inspirations. This happens regularly for me.
Back to Artwalk…I had booked myself into several different things (some art related-some not) that particular weekend, but since I was flying along 9th Ave at some point, I knew that I wanted to stop into Collectors’ Art Gallery to view my friend Douglas Williamson’s recent work. There was only one person in attendance at the same time and he was in a deep conversation with the owner about the status of ‘real’ art and the gallery scene. Another magical thing about visiting art galleries is that they are generally quiet places where you can be privy to some very interesting dialogues. If you are someone who enjoys a more rowdy visual arts activity, attend a Gorilla or Rumble House event and see those boundaries removed at warp speed. These can be noisy places.
The work featured in the exhibit, FOUR, was varied and elegant, but I was drawn immediately to Doug’s work. He has tremendous ambition while exploring the traditions of very technical painting, through both process and directional lighting of his subject matter. There is always a bit of a back story, so I don’t make assumptions about his work. Usually he is exploring a theme of utmost importance to him at the time and uses his subjects, most often still life objects, to communicate a message. His works are always thought provoking.
Heh…I was in the neighbourhood, so I crossed over to DaDe Art & Design Lab where Greg Fraser and Darcy Lundgren were flopped out on a comfortable sofa while guests gathered at the fancy coffee bar in the other room. Always amicable and welcoming, we shared a laugh and then I went strolling, taking in the whimsical and layered works of Darcy Lundgren. This is a go-to place for art, design, furnishings and general inspiration. Handy to lovely eating spots (my favourite…the Dragon Pearl) and good music (The Blue’s Can and Ironwood), this is a fascinating place for a wander.
I highly recommend the current exhibit in the Glenbow Museum, Made in Calgary: the 2000s, where you will enjoy powerful work by our contemporaries. Still on my list, Contemporary Calgary’s exhibits…Homecoming/Kim Dorland until January 18, 2015 at the Stephen Ave. Mall location and Voted Most Likely curated by Kim Dorland at the City Hall location.
Some art venues provide opportunities for art talks, as well as hand’s on art projects and these are advertised in FFWD as well as through the individual websites. The Esker Foundation provides some of the most intriguing talks/events and I highly recommend you visit their website for registration through Eventbrite. Recently, I heard Dick Averns speak on the topic War Art Then: War Art Now. I enjoyed perusing his collection of family and other artifacts and learned about the Canadian Forces Artists Programs. Fantastic!
On a more local community level, I recently attended, along with my besties, an exhibit of art works at the Fish Creek Library where we enjoyed samplings of wines and cheeses provided by Springbank Cheese Company. Calgary Public Art programs are varied and generous. All you need to do is purchase a library card. A must!
In conclusion, I find myself, this weekend, enjoying a lengthy sojourn on my red sofa, drinking ruby red grapefruit juice and blowing my nose. Having participated in the Martin Sadlon Scholarship Fundraising Concert and Art Battle/Auction on Friday night, the weekend has been a Netflix fling ever since. As a result of my current situation, I have missed the recent opening of Sculpture at Trepanier Baer and the opening at Jarvis Hall Fine Art. Art-walking is something that needs to be done in moderation as it can take you over and can be hazardous to your health! I am sitting here laughing at that. (Pulling a tissue from the box.)