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.


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.


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

Love Art In Calgary: Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art

I’ve got to say, leaving cSPACE and entering into Newzones created a huge contrast for me!  It goes to show what a variety of opportunities we have in the Calgary art scene. Director, Tamar Zenith, gave us a quick introduction to the work and an entry point into the current exhibit of Franco DeFrancesca’s works.

The tour group members (quickly becoming friends), wandered independently, reacting to the works, the light and residual thinking around cSPACE.  I liked how the DeFrancesca works reflected the environment and also how the clean surfaces of the space reflected the works.  I think this is what I tried to capture in these few photographs.

P1120898 P1120899 P1120900 P1120903 P1120904 P1120907P1120915Most appealing to me in this space, though, were the works created by artist Sophie Jodoin…an intimate exhibit titled Open Letters.  Lovely, while at the same time, somewhat unnerving the perfectly executed drawings (conte on mylar and in altered proportion), immediately stirred up recollections of correspondence…exchanges of words…nostalgia…mystery…boundaries…human interactions and connection.  I walked away saying, “I still write Christmas cards,” as though the art somehow communicated that that was important.  An interesting bit of writing about Sophie can be found here.

She includes these thoughts on drawing…to begin, in reference to an exhibit in Vancouver titled, Small Dramas & Little Nothings.

“I see them as chambers of our lives. You wander through it and each body of work makes you question how you live your own life and the kinds of struggles you might be going through,” she said.

Jodoin is referring to close your eyes, an exhibition from an artist dedicated to the medium of drawing and known to explore themes rich with emotion. Four years of artwork is included in the show, including a video and three bodies of work comprising mostly drawings and collages: Small Dramas & Little Nothings, a series of 90 small drawings; Charred, five larger works; and Vigils, four large unframed drawings.

For Jodoin, drawing is more of an attitude than a medium.

“I see them all as drawing,” she said in a telephone interview from Montreal. “It’s undefined for me by the medium, or even the fact that it’s monochrome. It’s really the way I do art.”

Jodoin earned her fine arts degree from Concordia University nearly 25 years ago, and since 2003, her drawings have been exclusively in black and white, on paper and mylar, usually completed over the course of one day.

“Drawing—if you don’t do very large scale obsessive drawings—allows you this kind of immediacy,” she said. “I work very quickly, and I usually build bodies of work, series. I relate to them as diaries and notations.”

P1120910 P1120909 P1120908Thank you to Newzones and to Wendy Lees of Love Art In Calgary.

David & John & Oeno’s Outdoor Sculpture Garden

This was just the best place to be on a sunny Ontario day!

I was so caught up by the experience that I could not possibly take photographs…I just entered the dance so-to-speak, delighting in the various forms that were beautifully displayed in the landscape.  I couldn’t help but take pause and record a few that spoke most to me on this particular walk with David and John.

The Man With Child’s Bow and Arrow was created by Nicholas Crombach.

Tangle Wood was created by Shayne Dark.

The Pine Cone was created by Floyd Elzinga.


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