Katie said, “You’re the Painter.”

Video

There are certain people in the world who have the knack for inspiring me to be a better person (and I use the term BETTER as it expresses itself in humility, kindness, empathy and plain hard work and creativity) and one of those people, for me, has been Katie Ohe.  I don’t know that she knows that she has that influence with me, but this is how some one who is truly remarkable can be laying down seeds in other people’s hearts.

I’ve written about her a few times.

In 2013, I wrote about the objects that live in Katie and Harry’s home.

In 2017, I wrote about KOAC and the experience of a studio tour, led by my creative friend, Wendy Lees.

And also, in 2013, I looked for a way to process my connection with Katie through a poem.  You see, she had taken some time, in the light of her kitchen window, to leaf through the pages of her sketchbook with me, and to talk about the experience of having ‘painter’s block’.  She spoke with me about painting.  She asked me, with all sincerity, about me.  I felt affirmed.  I felt filled.

A few weeks ago, I knew that the exhibit of Katie’s work at the Esker Foundation, was drawing closer.  As would be the case, I thought that Katie might be surrounded by many people…important people…at the opening. I couldn’t imagine myself getting anywhere near her. When I saw that the Herringer Kiss Gallery was hosting an exhibit of early works by both Katie Ohe and Harry Kiyooka, I thought that I would take the chance to visit her at that opening, so that I might make contact and wish her blessings for the big event.

It turns out that I had a lovely chat with both Katie and Harry in the peace of the gallery.  She looked into my face and her eyes looked that remarkable blue and as she held one of my hands in both of hers, she said, “You are the painter.”

These words were/are transformative words.  I am changed in the way that I think of myself, in the way that I feel and in the way that I am processing the events of my life, even the simple every day events.  I can’t explain it.

Included here, a few of the images from the opening at the Esker Foundation.  I got no where near Katie.  It was such a mighty celebration of her art and her life, I felt it was just marvelous to witness her with friends, former students, well-wishers.  As I was negotiating my way from the bar and past the steps to the nest, at one point, she looked up and literally our gazes met in the big hubbub and we smiled at one another.  That was enough.

(I know…i sound like a blithering goofball here, but, Katie is a hero for me, as she is for so many others.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Canada!

Art is everywhere in Calgary and I enjoy it so much!  The four-gallery exhibit entitled, Oh, Canada! is somewhat overwhelming for its extent and variety. It was nice, at introductory comments at the Glenbow, to meet in some respect, the curator of the project, American Denise Markonish.

Max and I got waylaid by a ton of fresh snow at the pond, so I didn’t get up to the Nickle Galleries or ACAD’s Illingworth Kerr for two of the first stops of the four-gallery art extravaganza.  Sometimes beautiful wonderful magical awesome life gets in the way of the plans we’ve made.  I just so absolutely loved my afternoon that I had to adjust for the wonder and the awe.

??????????For 6:00 p.m. I headed north on the train from Anderson, and landed at the Glenbow in plenty of time to enjoy a bag of chips and wander, in amazement, the fantastic exhibit of a portion of the original artworks on display.  At some point, my daughter Cayley and a friend landed there, so I had opportunity to share a glass of red wine and exchange some art banter as I did my second run at the exhibit.  It was fun to chit chat with and shake hands with such an iconic artist as Eric Cameron.

DSC_2206 DSC_2205I noticed in attendance, as well, artists such as Ron Moppett and John Will.  I feel invigorated about our arts community and loved this portion of the exhibit.

DSC_2204Great surprises…three more paintings by Janet Werner. (really really enjoyed her work at Esker in an earlier exhibit)

DSC_2196 DSC_2195 DSC_2194Wanda Koop’s work…powerful!

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Chris Millar’s work…amazing…involving.

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David R Harper’s work stirred up conversation and intrigue.  The most cell phones were out at this location.

I’m including the first paragraph of his artist statement here because it’s so relevant to the conversations I was overhearing…

“I am drawn to the form and idea of memorials, those markers that formalize links between memory and present experience. My main fascination is for the ways in which people bring facets of these ritual systems and objects into domestic spaces in order to amplify their personal identification with them, or perhaps with the cultures that support them.”

DSC_2214 DSC_2213 I stood in front of this piece, and wept.  All of the work coming out of Cape Dorset was powerful.

DSC_2211 DSC_2209Terrance Houle’s buffalo pretty much shouted off of a wall.

Given my mother’s Acadian side, I really appreciated the paintings of Mario Doucette and stood, captivated in front of the two featured pieces for quite some time.  Shary Boyle’s pieces were equally as mesmerizing and because of their location, it seemed that wee cubby was always very populated in the gallery.  Andrea Mortson’s canvases…romantic…warm and a relief. Of course, everyone who stood before the Douglas Coupland piece had a few things to say about Generation X and that is inevitable.  I enjoyed the art…I enjoyed the conversation.

DSC_2201Standing in line for the Bassbus, I chatted with Janet Werner’s friend from Saskatoon.  What a spectacular evening and live music performed by Chelsey Hazelton waited for me on the bus.  Chelsey’s beautiful vocals sang us quickly to our next stop and one of my favourite places in town, The Esker Foundation.

IMG_20150131_193047Once I had my coat checked, I entered into Esker and was first met by beautiful, Sue Hill…a generous and truly authentic woman, she once opened her place on Lake of the Woods to me and my family…shared chipping of wood…canoeing…crayfish catching…swimming off a dock…sitting in a biffy by candle light…good chats and refinishing furniture.  What a lovely way to make an entrance at the Esker.

The work at Esker was no less fascinating than the Glenbow, but perhaps I kept my camera more in my pocket. Kim Adam’s piece,Optic Nerve, did get a photo moment or two.  I enjoyed her work in the Winnipeg Art Gallery years ago.

 

 

DSC_2234 DSC_2233The Artist Collective, BGL’s La clôture also made the cut. (no pun intended)  The Esker runs programs for the public (please visit their website) and so I know that I will be returning again and again to this collection over the coming month.

DSC_2232 DSC_2231My favourite bit of work was an installation piece…quite complex and yet so simple.  I have a little bit of video from this space and when I get it ALL together, I might post it here.  You must see this work.

DSC_2225So from upended picnic tables…

DSC_2229…to backwoods cabin/pubs…

DSC_2236…you’ll see it all.

Treated to little dixie cups filled with seasoned french fries and on the other end of the gallery space, Nanaimo bars…the evening was a lovely and intoxicating one.  I hopped onto the Bassbus for another run, entertained by the music of Patrick Whitten.

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Back at the Glenbow, I made my way to the train, recharged and happy about my home town and the many beautiful people I have met over the years.

Calgarians, grab your passports and get out to these four venues over the coming month.  You will receive many insights into what is happening in the world of contemporary art and as Canadians, we have much to be excited about.

Oh, Canada Passport

Journeyman: A Ten Year Survey by Bill Rodgers

Bart Habermiller generously led the Love Art in Calgary tour group through the exhibit, Journeyman: A Ten Year Survey by Bill Rodgers, a beautiful complement/continuation of the exhibit that opened last night at the Nickle Arts Museum out at the University of Calgary.

Bill was a huge influence while I studied at ACAD during my year of sabbatical from CCSD #1.  We shared many conversations about my practice and my ideas.  He was a very generous person when it came to authentic communications about my progress.  He saw me through the process of creating these works…

Three Men: Sabbatical at Alberta College of Art

Three Men: Sabbatical at Alberta College of Art

Three Men

Three Men

One of three Library Helpers

One of three Library Helpers

That year I established a new direction for my work and never really looked at the practice of painting for commercial art galleries the same afterwards.  Of course, there were other influences during my study…influences like visiting lecturer, Rene Derouin and the exploration of his work during his Glenbow and CAG exhibits, but Bill Rodgers and artist, William MacDonell were key.  That year of study was a blessing-year.

Because I came from this relationship with Bill Rodgers, the works on display at SQ Commons seemed to reach out and grab me.  It was a truly emotional experience.  I used a pinhole setting on my camera and so my readers will enjoy truer colour if they view the works at this particular link.  I DO, however, enjoy the nostalgic sensibility of this particular lens as it speaks to me personally about the residual experience of Bill’s grander influence on my life.  There is the art and then there is the art of living.

P1140917 P1140918 P1140919 P1140921 P1140923 P1140924 P1140925 P1140926 P1140928Thanks to Bart Habermiller for the generosity and for the interesting vision for gallery spaces as living breathing entities that move beyond ‘place’ and are accessible to everyone.

Studio Visit

Kristen: Grade Nine Self Portrait

Thank you Kristen, for coming by the studio this afternoon!  You are such an amazing young lady and so enthusiastic about what you’re doing at art college.  I’m proud of you and excited for you!  Enjoy creating!  Here’s the self-portrait that you created in grade nine.  I’ll hold onto it for you! ;0)

This Many Years Later!