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.
I 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.
Great surprises…three more paintings by Janet Werner. (really really enjoyed her work at Esker in an earlier exhibit)
Wanda Koop’s work…powerful!
Chris Millar’s work…amazing…involving.
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.”
I stood in front of this piece, and wept. All of the work coming out of Cape Dorset was powerful.
Terrance 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.
Standing 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.
Once 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.
The 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.
My 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.
So from upended picnic tables…
…to backwoods cabin/pubs…
…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.
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.