The Art Openings I Miss

There are many!  My family teases me about how often I go out to openings and then, how often I write about them?  WHY?  I’ve been pondering that.  I chronically document.  I know it is a problem.  I could be so constructive otherwise, right?  Who knows?  I think that writing is just something that gives me pleasure.  Seeing beautiful and interesting art, likewise.  And I think that life needs to be fully lived.  I consider it a gift to attend art spaces and find interesting visual experiences.

I’ve not written for quite some time, but, really DO want to play catch-up on some things I’ve been thinking about and experiences I have been having.  I’m not saying that I will be sitting down to the computer for hours on end.  I really don’t like the keyboard as much as I enjoy writing things out on paper.  Of late, I’ve been writing letters and very much enjoying that process, looking out on the back yard, the warm colours of autumn and sipping from my favourite coffee cup.

On the subject of art OPENINGS, they cause me a lot of stress.  I find that the introvert that lies under my loud public self, comes to a head.  I don’t like to get caught speaking with just one person.  I lose confidence and imagine that I have nothing interesting to say.  I head for a glass of wine.  I imagine that wine puts me at ease…but, it doesn’t, not really.

So, my favourite thing to do is to attend art events after the party is over and the artist is back in his/her studio, painting.  I miss congratulating the artist, face-to-face, but, I carry the impact of their images with me and that’s what I am so grateful for.  Last Saturday, I had three gallery spaces to myself.  Quiet…and expansive…I was able to stand back and relish every moment, and I didn’t have to say much at all.

First, CKG!

Every time I see Carl White‘s work, something in me shakes to the core.  How is it possible that images that seem to either surface out of paint, or, disappear into it, leave me feeling so soul-filled or emotional or transformed?  Like the paint, the marks and the collective mythologies, Carl’s paintings leave me feeling understood.  It takes two pugs and two nice ladies, to pull me back into the physical world.  When I see Carl White’s work, it is as though my nose is in a book filled with words and mystery and divine essence, and I can not close it…I can not put it down.  Not meaning to sound like a hero-worshiper, I am just trying to clearly state what it is that I experience when I am NOT at an opening of Carl’s work.  I strongly suggest that my readers see these paintings, Digging For Fire.

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I’m very much intrigued by the other show at CKG, but I’m not familiar with the gent’s work or his artistic journey.  Mike Binzer’s exhibit, Between Ecstasy and Agony, needs to be viewed close up because of the subtle textures and imagery, not easily read in photographs.  I like Mike’s connection with dance and could observe elements of movement within the works.  I likely would have had an interesting discussion with Mike, had I attended the opening.

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From the CKG, I went to Jarvis Hall Fine Art.  I had missed Herald Nix: I’ll Go Find It earlier in the summer and was so excited to see a number of his panels exhibited at the front of the gallery.  A big part of the Jarvis Hall ‘experience’ is the friendly welcome and apparent knowledge of the peeps.  Shannon Norberg is always so helpful and generous.  I appreciate the hospitality and the genuine warmth.  It means the world when someone remembers your name.

Herald…well, I just remember him showing me the mixing of pigments in his studio in Salmon Arm.  When I looked at this collection of landscape panels, I felt so impacted by the rich palette of colours.  A beautiful blend of both non-objective sensibility and the land/waterscapes, makes this group of paintings, stunning!  Love the published document that has its source in the August exhibit.

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Art-Sharing

Art-Sharing

Song-Sharing

Song-Sharing

Around the corner, I was blown away by the Gatherer by Marigold Santos.  See this!  Such technical expertise demonstrated in the handling of ink on this delicious warm paper.  The clay body of works, set out meticulously in the center of the room, mimicked that warmth perfectly and the drawing on the clay bodies, equally executed to perfection.  I was intrigued by the imagery, symbolism and the evident narration.  Again, I made my own meaning.  I love it when I can celebrate the feminine in art.  These had a powerful feminine sensibility to them.  Marigold Santos has created a fascinating exhibit in Gatherer and they may be perused until October 29.

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Finally, and running short on time, I booted it down to see Chris Flodberg’s Paintings at the Master’s art gallery.  A tad more formal in its atmosphere, I felt less able to document the works, but, was also at the point where I just wanted to take the exhibit in and give myself the time to spend with the works.  I ‘used to’ paint in oils and so my heart thumps wildly when I see this young man’s use of paint/colour.  I believe that Chris is an exceptional painter and have actually caught myself salivating in front of his paintings.  This is something that likely only other artists understand.  I had tears in front of one of his large landscapes that afternoon.  I dunno.  Maybe I was tired.  Maybe I just wonder sometimes why I’m not painting more.  Maybe it was just the simple beauty of some ultramarine that appeared in a pond reflection.  I enjoyed ending the day, purchasing a beautiful book and taking my mind into the green.  A bit of bad light reflecting off of some of the paint…so, I’ll just post a couple of photos here.  I’m really hoping my readers will attend to this show…works from the past…and some really innovative and lovely explorations of portraiture.  You will see what you love.  I promise.

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It was time to go home.  I didn’t have a chance to get to The Edge Gallery, down in Inglewood.  I would have enjoyed seeing Craig Richard’s photography.

If you have viewed art intensely, you will understand and recognize when your brain is on imagery overload.  I had reached saturation point.  Once I left the Masters, I went for a bit of an autumn walk down town and just took in the colour and nature, resetting my visual sensibilities.

Calgary is a rich and wonderful place for art viewing.  I am so grateful that at any given time there is so much to see.  I’m sorry to have missed you at your openings, but, I am seeing the art when all is quiet and I so treasure it!

 

 

Art Walking in Calgary

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.

Art Walk

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.

Circle the Wagons by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

Circle the Wagons by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

The Answer

The Answer by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

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.

DSC_0635 DSC_0634 DSC_0633 DSC_0632 DSC_0631 DSC_0630 DSC_0629I 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 exhibitsHomecoming/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.)

Art Auction Martin Sadlong

 

 

 

More Made in Calgary: the 1990s!

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

It was a bitterly cold night, but I decided that I really wanted to take in the events at the Glenbow, after leaving Contemporary Calgary (formerly AGC).  The walk was nice and there was a definite hum as I was going over the delights of the evening in my head.

I didn’t take photographs in the Glenbow, but am pleased to notice that there is good coverage about the present exhibits on line and in the news..  The air was charged with conversation and excellent music when I arrived.  I guess you could say that ‘the place was rockin’.  Extensions of one another, the art happening at the Glenbow complemented the Contemporary Calgary experience.

First, the Graceland Arcade offering by Bart Habermiller and purchase of two post cards.  The background for Grace’s land Calgary and the arcade piece is articulated in the following note of appreciation left on the event’s Facebook write up.  It is evident that there were wondrous experiences shared out on ‘the land’.  “Grace’s Land, formally Calgary Demolition was 7 acres of land, out buildings, scrap materials, energy & fire on the edge of Calgary, Canada from 1986 -1997.”  I selected two cards from the vending machine, the one at bottom Music Student 1 by Carmina Trsic 2014.

P1150114“Thank you to the many friends who came out to celebrate the 90’s show that Bart Habermiller was curated into as a result of his impressive 11 year collaboration with the Calgary Art Scene called Graceland. Way back then, Grace Coulter provided bart with an opportunity to make art on her land and in true Bart fashion he did not hoard the opportunity but shared it with anyone who wanted to make something interesting happen. Art rodeos, performance art, and massive sculpture and installations were a regular occurrence, devoid of funding agents, institution protocol or collect-ability. It wasn’t about how to make money with art it was about how to make friends, art and good ideas. It was raw and it was real. Graceland was an important part of the shaping of what Calgary’s art scene is today and I am tremendously proud of all that Bart has done to try and make things happen for artists. Oh and the proceeds of his art piece, the vending machines (for which once again he shared his opportunity with other artists) that are in the lobby of the Glenbow will be donated to the elephant Artist Relief fund, a not for profit that helps artists financially during the serious stages of illness.” (sic)

CKUA featured a bit of description of Bart’s search for a community of artists who built an important ‘happening’ on Grace Coulter’s land, on January 26 on ArtBeat.  Go to 5:11.

Chris Cran’s monumental work welcomed me on the feature wall to the right, as I made the walk up the stairs into the main gallery where I enjoyed the Made in Calgary: the 1990s, curated by Nancy Tousley.

Directly from the Glenbow exhibit…

“Featuring over 100 works by 55 artists – Rita McKeough, Chris Cran, John Will, Faye Heavyshield, and Allan Dunning, among many others – Made in Calgary: The 1990s reflects this exciting time which saw local artists continuing to redefine both their own art and the city’s place in the global art scene.

Made in Calgary is a multi-season exhibition series explores the character of Calgary’s artistic community from 1960 to 2010. Each exhibition reflects the contributions of individual artists in the context of the social and cultural factors that influenced their worked”(sic)

I enjoyed artist, David Garneau’s piece How the West, created in 1998...a piece that nicely transitioned this exhibit into the fun experience of Worn to be Wild!  Nancy Tousley describes the piece as a rewritten history of the west.  “He was making it look like an advertisement or look like an illustration from a child’s historical account.”  This, found in The Calgary Herald, February 6, 2014…an article written by Jon Roe of Swerve.  From Glenbow’s own collection, the piece is visually demanding and magically engaging. The image, here, is a detail of the work from Glenbow’s own site.

garneau_ecardWorn to be Wild clearly demonstrates the history of the black leather jacket.  It is beautifully displayed and is potent in its content and its colour.  I want to get out and buy myself a black leather jacket after viewing this one…and certainly, given the crowds of opening night, I am going to return and take this exhibit in again.  A list of the artifacts on display can be viewed here.

The following photographs were borrowed from the official collection of Harley-Davidson and the photographer is not credited there.

Execution Style

Execution Style

Rocker

Rocker

As I stepped out of the Glenbow and into the cold night air, I met up with two bikers, both wearing their black leather.  I asked them if they had been upstairs to the show and told them that they were dressed perfectly for the exhibit.  The female laughed and said, “We are the REAL DEAL, sweetie!  We haven’t had these jackets off for 30 years.”  We stood and visited for a while…a very fun exchange!

Taking the train south that night, I felt that I had reached the saturation point on my art experience for a while…time to take up some of the labor and get out to the studio.  My apologies that this review is coming out five days later, but it’s taken some time to do the research.  There is much to take in in Calgary…get out there, Calgarians!  Our city is rocking the art!

 

 

Contemporary Calgary Serves Up Made in Calgary: The 1990s and Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate

Made in Calgary The 1990s and the Deadly Ladies Art Triumvirate

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.

P1150108I’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.

P1150104A 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.

Wayne Giles Mondrian's Cat 1992

Wayne Giles Mondrian’s Cat 1992

P1150106Then I headed for the Top Floor gallery space…and THIS!

From artrubicon. Visual Arts Magazine, this...

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.

P1150102It 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.

Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate February 8 2014

Miriam Meir, Tanya Harnett, Chantal Stormsong Chagnon and Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes

Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate February 8 2014 2 Next, musician, Olivia Tailfeathers performed with a young lady and gentleman…exquisite!  Powerful!

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Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

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Sculpture in Mixed Media by Artist, Tanya Harnett

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.

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Artist: Tanya Harnett

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Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

Artist: Brittney Bear Hat

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.

Finding Art in Belleville

I had several magical encounters with art and artists while in Belleville, Ontario and I’m grateful, especially, for meeting artists Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris. Totally immersed in their artistic community, both are creating wonderful ‘happenings’ at The Core Arts and Culture Centre and beyond.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and it is evident that the arts are alive and well in Quinte!

The Core Arts and Culture Centre

The Core Arts and Culture Centre

I met Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris, along with Kathy Jo Paylor manning tables at the Belleville Market down on Front Street. At the time, Lisa was displaying her art jewelry, reclaiming materials, and Peter was selling hand carved sumac walking and talking sticks.

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

The market, in itself, was a magical place because of all of the fresh produce, the homemade soaps…the local honey products and much more.  But for me, a real gift was meeting up with artists and seeing the sorts of projects and initiatives that they were working hard to build in the Bay of Quinte region.  The meeting also made me aware of an art opening one evening at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

As well as exhibiting Stitch Happens, by the Kingston Fiber Artists, there was a collection of local art based on local photographers’ works titled Bay of Quinte Interpreted 2.  19 local artists interpreted 12 winning photographs from the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan Photo Contest with a Twist 2.  Please follow this link to see a collection of these interpretations.

P1140110 P1140111 P1110790 P1110791 P1110795 P1110796 P1110798 P1110799 P1110803 P1110806 P1110807 P1110809 P1110812Before leaving Belleville, I made certain that I said my good-byes at the market and purchased a piece by Peter titled Under Sail and several pieces of jewelry for my girls from Lisa.  Thanks to the two of you for being so welcoming and passing on so much information!

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