The September long weekend was filled to the brim with family, football, food and adventuring. My nieces, Ainslie and Eliane, and I caught a drive down to the gallery on a perfect sky blue day in Ottawa. I was giddy, as I had been anticipating the exhibit of Chris Cran’s work for some time. I am so darned proud! I’ve always assumed that Chris was so much younger than me. We are closer in age than I had imagined.
Back in the late 1980s, Chris opened his studio up to me and my then-spouse and generously shared, in his witty fashion, his bigger-than-life pinhole camera and the work that he was exploring at the time. I’ve never forgotten his generosity that day and it remains evident, in so many ways, that he is an active and contributing community member where all of the arts are concerned in Calgary. Through Chris, I met another awesome dude out of Salmon Arm, Herald Nix, and have become a big fan of his music, as well as his art. For many reasons, I was so excited to have the chance to enjoy the retrospective of Chris Cran’s work, elegantly and historically displayed in one of my favourite art galleries.
This post will contain just a few images, all Chris’s work. I’ll share about other works that I enjoyed in separate posts.
One of the security guards, Thomas, gave us many insights on our tour of Chris Cran’s work. He took in every word of Chris’s tour offered during the exhibit’s opening days. He was so generous to pass short narratives on to us. He could not give permission for us to photograph him while he was wearing his uniform, but I guess I had nabbed this one before that conversation. When I went on the studio visit, Chris was working on the Stripe and Halftone Paintings. I saw something very gestural in this piece and so the girls humoured me by becoming the forms in the piece. Love them so much!
These are a mere smattering of images from the exhibit. I really was swept up in the experience of being in such an aesthetically pleasing space wandering in and out of gallery spaces, in awe. Later, I will post the few Instagram shots I took, as well.
I feel so grateful when magic like this takes flight and lands in my heart. I love you, Eliane and Ainslie, for being with me.
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.
“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.
“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.
Worn 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.
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!
If you have the chance, I encourage you to take in this exhibit. Thanks to MOCA for the hospitality…good music…a festive drink…even the red carpet. OH! And let us NOT forget our local Warhol impersonator who stayed in role for the duration!
“The Weisman Warhol collection is complemented by Great Moments in Pop: a selection of Warhol works which represent many phases of the artist’s career generously loaned from Calgary private collections. The theme is enhanced by the work of respected Calgary artists that reflect upon the multiple themes of sport and art as well as homages, riffs and variations upon signature Warhol themes and styles (including Shelley Oullet, Chris Cran, John Will and Billy McCarroll). The exhibition presents the full suite of 10 Warhol paintings, the Athlete Series featuring portraits of: Muhammed Ali, O.J. Simpson, Pele, Jack Nicklaus, Dorothy Hamill, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chris Evert, Tom Seaver, Willie Shoemaker, and Rod Gilbert.”