Last night, I attended a session titled Rebellious Alberta Women Artists, hosted by the Esker Foundation. Thank you and gratitude to Esker Foundation for another class act! AGA’s Curator, Lindsey Sharman, did an amazing job of moderating a discussion/conversation with Toyo Kawamura, Teresa Posyniak, Lylian Klimek, Vera Gartley and Katie Ohe, allowing for a beautiful organic flow and powerful conversation about art, feminine presence, space, materials, context and making. Nicely paced and not forced, this platform was beautiful from beginning to end.
Peppered with humour and heart felt grit, I found myself both weeping and laughing tummy laughs. While a hugely-attended program, it seemed as though I was in a living room, hearing the voices of friends.
This morning, as I sit to write this post, however, I wish that I had the notes that were pouring out the tip of my neighbour’s pen and into her notebook. I told myself to just savour the words and to let them surface as they will over the coming days, weeks and months. I feel forever-changed. Some experiences just do that for you.
Toyo Kawamura was such a gracious participant. In terms of her narrative, a few stories were particularly special to me. First, I was caught up by her memory of 15 minute drawing practice every morning while attending school, as a child in Japan. I was impressed by Toyo’s consideration of the ocean currents, the use of sand in her work and recent meaningful shifts in her work. Toyo shared several recollections of teachers, especially, her private art lessons with Mr. Michio Kuwada (a member of Shinseisaku association of artists). Finally, I was delighted to listen to her describe time spent with her grandson, teaching him the art of Ikebana and her consideration of the space/atmosphere around an arrangement, as much as the elements within the arrangement. This reminded me, very much, about my observations of a single bush at a pond and how light/atmosphere and weather impact the appearance of that bush.
Teresa Posyniak and Lylian Klimek then proceeded to amaze me. When it gets to writing about Teresa, I have to say that it gets way too personal. First thing this morning, I made certain that I left her a note via her website. Her words took my breath away. (I know this post seems overly dramatic, but I refuse to understate my experience.) Beginning with her artistic timeline and speaking about Sanctuary to the near present, I could relate with so many of Teresa’s concerns and why she responds through such powerful work. Please, if you have the chance, link up with Teresa’s website. These are two very strong women who have explored large format works throughout their careers and have an amazing connection with the diverse qualities of materials.
I enjoyed Lylian’s description of her childhood wanderings and discoveries. How the structures and experiences of the space and the land in Saskatchewan served as jumping off points for her work and her thinking.
I have to find a way to go north to Edmonton so that I can enjoy the exhibit presently on display.
Finally, Vera Gartley and Katie Ohe took the platform. I can only say that I felt as though I was sitting at a kitchen table delighting in the warmest and most authentic conversation ever between Vera and Katie. Please tell me that someone was recording this. I found myself in tears through this section…quiet weeping, however…I certainly didn’t embarrass myself. At different points I was saying to myself, “This is historical…this will never happen again in quite this way.” It was rich, thoughtful and inspiring to the greatest degree. Thank you, Vera and Katie for your generous contributions to the evening’s event.
You spoke of humour, space, community, choices, dedication and the art. Two inspiring mentors for the women of today!
Thank you to Lindsey who had the sense to let things flow. Thank you, again, to Esker.
Almost soothing, the piece, Kablusiak: Qiniqtuaq located in the project space is best-seen in the night time as it becomes animated by the warm light of the projection and its complexities are more successfully captured.
On Friday evening, Jeffrey Gibson generously moved through a brief history of major bodies of work, beginning with the Punching Bag series and continuing to talk about abstraction, collaboration and garments. It was very kind of Jeffrey to take the time to chat with us beyond question period, given that the garments and drums were being de-installed for the next day’s performance. From Esker, Karen and I drove to cSPACE via a random path selected by Google Maps. (another story) We were able to enjoy the work of artist and friend, Louise Lacey-Rokosh. I met Louise some years ago at Gorilla House and I have enjoyed following her work.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to also enjoy Jeffrey Gibson’s performance piece, To Name Another, a piece that left me in tears three different times. Did I take note of the words that most moved me? No… I think that the complete engagement in the sound/movement experience took all of us to a deeper place. And while this might sound a little strange, that’s okay.
I continue to have a sense of wonder about the work that is on display and am looking forward to learning more about Nep Sidhu’s work and process.
Thanks to my sister-friends, Karen and Linda, for sharing in parts of this immersive journey with me this past weekend. I enjoyed the yummy Ruben sandwich on the Spolumbos patio with you, Karen, on a perfect autumn day. And Linda, I’m so happy that we had a chance to share deep fried dill pickles and a terrific Blues Jam and the Can.
A few images follow…I regret that I am missing the titles of the works below. I will backtrack and complete the information as I collect it. Initially, I have posted photos of some of the titles available that are linked to the subjects or interests of the artists presently on exhibit. I really appreciate how the Esker always provides a reading list.
Some weeks ago, artist, Kelsey Fraser, led a workshop at the Esker Foundation on collaborative art making in both drawing and painting. A key feature of the present exhibit, Earthlings, collaboration creates a wonderful bridge between northern and southern artistic culture.
By happenstance, the week prior to Kelsey’s workshop, I had explored collaboration with a high school learning strategies class. Often saddled with group projects, older students often struggle with their part of a piece of work (poster, presentation, power point, report) when they are assigned to work with a mixed group of individuals. I thought that it might be fun to explore a small non-threatening Exquisite Corpse activity in order to enjoy the experience of individual contributions for a common goal and completed work. To begin with, we looked at the process of collaboration.
I forgot to grab some photos of the resulting drawings. (may post later) I had the students complete the first section on a paper folded into three (a character’s head – fantastical to representational) and then walk to someone in the room that they might not know and to trust them with the second section (the torso) and then, finally, that person would get up and pass it on to a third person for completion (the legs). I enjoyed this exercise with a former student of mine, Tim Belliveau, when he led a session of life drawing at the Glenbow Museum. It is a great activity for warm up and for ice breaking. If you want to loosen up the crowd, this is a great method or if you have a fear of not ‘knowing’ how to draw, this activity removes that responsibility.
These were the three blind contours completed, where I was the subject. It was so good to meet up with Jocelyn again!
Next (and I’ll use this with a class some time or maybe during a pot luck party) we began a telephone game activity…page one write something, pass the booklet on…page two draw something related to page one’s writing….pass the booklet on…page three, write something related to the drawing on page two….pass the booklet on…page four, draw something related to the writing on page three….and so on through ten or so pages.
Finally, the participants visited four different tables, to hook up with pencil nicks left on the edges of previous artist’s compositions and to create their own line drawings in charcoal pencil. Esker, the paper was of beautiful quality….thank you! After drawing on three compositions, without looking at any of the other related drawings, we were asked to return to our original places, lay out the four compositions in sequence and to add paint. Both challenging and thought provoking. At this stage, the main goal would be to add harmony and unity to four somewhat disjointed pieces. The colour added a very exciting dimension.
Thanks to Kelsey Fraser and to Esker Foundation for a wonderful afternoon of exploring line, colour and collaboration!
While I don’t think my contributions made sense sometimes, or that I had anything ‘intelligent’ to say, I also really appreciated the conversation PLACEHOLDER: An Unconventional Book Club Discussion with d.talks. I was low on energy and very distracted and yet I had the true sense that the circle of people attending the event were listening. Watch for future programs/events on the Esker site.
This post…another case of not responding to events in a particularly expedient fashion. Some days ago, I began to respond to two films that I had viewed at the Esker Foundation. A lot has happened since.
I made the decision not to attend the opening of Earthlings, as has become my typical pattern, given the huge and disquieting nature of ‘openings’, in general. I’ve come to accept this in myself. Openings are only disquieting for me in so far as I can not find my way through the many conversations that merely brush over the surface of life and art and being, instead of immersing into the depths of it all. There is hardly an opportunity to wrap it all up in my arms and swing it in circles. And so, I wait for those days when galleries are quiet and the works are entirely ‘exposed’.
Take a look at the Esker programs and take advantage of the easy registration option. On February 9, there were two screenings, the first, Kinngait: Riding Light into the World and the second, Ghost Noise. Both were exceptional. My exposure to Inuit art was limited to a small calendar that I purchased back in the 1970s. I traveled to Lethbridge from Great Falls, Montana in 1973. The first person I met on the steps of the University of Lethbridge was Richard Nerysoo. Quite out of his element, he was being sponsored to come from the far north for his education in Southern Alberta, of all places. I bonded to him immediately, given my loneliness for my own nuclear family that had, once again, moved east.
Lethbridge was a good place for people who wished to learn about Indigenous cultures and the University, itself, was introducing innovative programming based on insights from the elders of the regions that surrounded it. Built on the edge of the Old Man river, I felt as though I was living in a very spiritual and inspiring place, geographically, aesthetically and spiritually. So, it was during the ’70s, that I first became hungry for knowledge about Canada’s indigenous peoples.
Earthlings at the Esker Foundation creates visual bridges between artistic practices of the contemporary north and south, through the innate creative force of individual artists, as well as through collaborative exchange. A powerful exhibit, the art works reach far beyond the notions of tradition and realism, and move into various contexts; collaboration, dreamscape, mythology and personal narrative. Profound and heart-achingly beautiful, one really needs to see these works ‘in the skin’. Produced by Roger Aksadjuak, Shuvinai Shoona, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Jessie Kenalogak, John Kurok and Leo Napayok, the art objects are both challenging and simple; joy filled and painful. Creative, Shary Boyle, is phenomenal in her ability to create ‘bridge art’ and to have manifested such vision in this extraordinary experience of the visual world and the spiritual world.
It is apparent that this exhibit is an opener for me to learn about art and artistic practice and artists of Rankin Inlet, Matchbox Studios, Baker Lake, Cape Dorset and Toronto. I will be responding to various tours and programs connected to the exhibit. Most recently, Shauna Thompson conducted a thorough and enjoyable tour titled Cooked Earth and Ghost Noise, taking the participants through the entire gallery, addressing the various processes involved in the making.
Yesterday, the tour was led by Naomi Potter (Curator for Esker Foundation), Jim Hill (owner of Pason Systems and along with his wife, Sue Hill, an enthusiastic collector and visual arts advocate) and Dr. Shepherd Steiner ( Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba School of Art, who has recently completed a manuscript looking at Modernist painting, sculpture, and criticism from 1945–1968) of a portion of the extensive collection of works on view at Pason Systems. A comprehensive and enthusiastic delivery of historical notes and analysis of paintings was given…very enjoyable and inspiring, at the same time. This was a very special opportunity and arranged through registration via Esker Foundation programming.
The first of the paintings, was a ‘Snap’ painting created by Harold Town, (1924-1990). Most of his life was spent in Toronto. In 1953, he was a founder and member of the “Painters Eleven,” a group of Toronto abstract expressionist painters which included Jack Bush, Oscar Cahen, William Ronald and Jock Macdonald. Painters Eleven took their cues from contemporary post-war American artists such as Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. Harold lived in rather privileged circles including original thinkers such as Marshall McLuhan, Pierre Burton and Stewart McLean. There was a strong connection with Landon McKenzie of Rosedale as well.
In 1957, notable art critic, Clement Greenberg visited Toronto and the Painters Eleven studios. The late 60s weren’t really kind to painters. While Bush formed a bit of an alliance with Greenberg at the time…Town reportedly, benefited the least, most certainly linked to his own resistance to connecting with ‘what was going on in America’ in art.
The Snap paintings were the result of paint on strings being strung tightly from one dowel to another and, loaded with paint, snapped against the surface.
My documentation leaves a little to be desired in terms of true colour…I just wanted to collect a record of most of the things I was able to see on this tour. There was a wealth of background given at each stop. Saskatchewan artist, Forrest’s work, includes clean-edged figures lifted off of the surface. These often times appear to be folded-over-edges, impacted by the pouring on of paint.
I think that Dr. Steiner was speaking about a Chris Cran piece while I was staring at and wondering about a piece by Los Angelas artist, Iva Gueogruieva. The dancing energy of her line and the passionate sense of colour created huge dynamic movement. I could hear Dr. Steiner’s voice referencing Chris’s self portraits and the process of self-exploration. The Cran piece was described as theatrical. I was blessed to peruse the Chris Cran exhibit at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa some months later.
Dr. Steiner described The Lantern as Paul Resika’s first tentative effort to move into abstraction. The Wharf and the fish canning plant, shut down, Resika moved into colour field painting. The processes captured in the following video are magical.
I think that, here in Calgary, we could not speak or write about colour field painting, without also mentioning William Perehoudoff. As a long-time landscape painter, I spent years impacted by the works of his wife, Dorothy Knowles. Both artists had strong associations with the Emma Lake workshops.
This painting includes a set of key figures, thin stained pigment, yellow sun…the piece is really inseparable from the prairies. The pink and red is interesting as is the placing of the shapes on a slight diagonal. The painting seems to pulse. The dynamic forms rest up against the stable aspects of the frame.
In terms of ‘coming to terms’ with abstract colour field paintings, Dr. Steiner recommended ‘letting the elements produce stories within you and let those stories speak to you.’
At this point, Dr. Steiner spoke a little about Amedee Ozenfant and his approach to the elements of abstract works and their dynamic nature.
Steiner was enthusiastic about the jazz like influences in the piece, Diamond Variation by Jack Bush. He addressed the parsing out of post-cubism and the jig saw shapes on the surface of some of Bush’s paintings. There was some reference to the influences of Stuart Davis from the 20s, 30s and 40s, with the impact of orange, yellow and black. Elements may have surfaced out of Bush’s life as a graphic artist. Here, we see a connection of the various parts of his life and the extension of his life stresses. His psychiatrist, J. Allan Walters, at the time, advised Bush to explore ‘freeing up his art’.
I was excited to have participated in an earlier art walk with Dr. Sarah Stanners at the Esker Foundation.
Dr. Steiner wove narratives throughout his analysis of Jack Bush’s painting at this point. “Irony”, he stated, “is at the base of cubism”. He had us look at edges, borders and boundaries and how paint comes up to the frame and that the pencil lines found there were ‘cutting edge’. Again, Jack Bush was criticized for being a colour field painter because it was such an ‘American’ thing. Clement Greenburg, again, influenced thought and thinking about abstract painting in Canada.
I was happy to see Edward Burtynski’s work in this collection. Dr. Steiner pointed out connections to cubism and the fact that the photographs of Burtynski lean on the genealogy of painting. He spoke briefly about the issues of environmentalism and the scale of the work.
Dr. Steiner elaborated upon Dan Christensen’s 1995 piece. He shared with us the galactic sensibility in the piece and an almost cosmic spirituality in the work. Dan’s work is about opticality. He was not locked into a single motif or approach. Very versatile in nature, it is, again, fun to look at the website for the freedom that is found in his explorations.
With the exploration of Donald Judd’s work, there is pressure put on the viewer to look at the object, pan through the circles and to make as much of negative spaces as the positive. I like that Judd made his life in Marfa, when I’ve connected with the poetry and photography of Joshua Edwards, also from Marfa. The connections I personally make with an open and minimalist approach to the landscape began about four years before meeting Josh, again, at the Esker Foundation.
I notice in my little black notebook that I didn’t write any comments on Evan Penny’s work. I enjoy the physical experience of viewing the sculpture, having seen several exhibits in the past, featuring Penny’s work. A pleasant surprise in the Pason Systems collection.
As the tour moved on, I wrote fewer notes and spent more time exploring the art works. I don’t know that I’ve represented the work very well or not…but, at the very least, I have a record of an extraordinary afternoon, jam-packed with information and insight.
Regarding the piece by Jules Olitski, (name at birth…Jevel Demikovsky) Dr. Steiner was very excited. He explored humour in the two green dots, contrasted with the somber colour of the larger form coming from above. Olitski works typically included a sense of irony, comedy and distance. Symbolically, breasts appeared in earlier works. Concentric circles directed the viewer to zoom in on particular colours. Zippering was used to optically precipitate a sense of ‘closing up’. The process of staining was explored and sometimes both sides of the canvases were painted. There was a relationship between Jack Bush and Jules Olitski.
This tour was invaluable to me, in terms of giving me a concrete exploration of abstraction…a very ‘real’ experience of colour, form and light. With gratitude…
One of my favourite places to hang out on wintry days is the Esker Foundation. It is either bopping with gaggles of work-shoppers, panel discussions, tours or other such events or it is simply peaceful, quiet and bathed it beautiful light. Yesterday found me relatively ‘on my own’ in the space and I really appreciated the impact of the exhibits.
Most impact-full, for me, was Larissa Fassler’s work. Given my incessant record-keeping and my daily walking-observation-documentation of my pond study, it makes sense that her work speaks to me. I’ve almost finished my second coffee and Max needs to be speed- walked before a day of teaching. So, I’m not going to go into long explanations here, but yesterday I felt that I had collided with a very like-minded artist. It is wonderful to see concepts mirrored back. And, completely by surprise.
I will, later, post about Cedric and Jim Bomford’s work, The Traveller. Given my University of Lethbridge residence experience…and gazing out at the High Level Bridge for those four years, I was left breathless once confronted by the powerful construction of space in the ‘guts’ of the gallery. I have much to say about the traveller and was intrigued by the process of a father and son installing such a beast as this, within the context of the Esker Space.
I was grateful to be greeted by Parisa. It has been quite a while. The hospitality shown by the Esker staff is consistent, warm and educational.
I never fail to be excited by the programs and resources available to us in Calgary. Some weeks ago, I attended a workshop led by Ashleigh Bartlett at the Esker Foundation. There, we explored the possibilities within abstract painting, with a lovely connection drawn between the works of Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin and process. The process of exploration included elements of collage, painting and play. Thank you to Esker for providing such hospitality and wonderful materials.
Thank you to Ashleigh, for sharing a clear and embracing experience! I’m sad to see this exhibit go. It has been so inspiring.
Ashleigh actually took the time to chat with me about my thoughts on being a self-taught artist versus ‘a real artist’ (one who has attained credentials). Years ago I made a choice to attain a Bachelor of Education degree, with a double major in art and English and never did receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts. As a result, when I applied for a Masters in Studio Art program some years ago, the wind was knocked out of my sails when I learned that my years and years of accumulated portfolio work was not in any way equivalent to ‘THE DEGREE’. So, I registered with ACAD and completed my third year toward a BFA, while on Sabbatical from my school district, but when my friends moved on to their fourth year and graduation, I had to return to teaching. All these years later, the registrars office people seemed less than impressed with my desire to enroll for my fourth year and the two studio courses remaining. They were not encouraging. Ashleigh told me to NOT lose hope based on the hoops that they have created for me to jump through. She encouraged me and for this, I am most grateful.
Since attending a workshop at the Esker Foundation last Saturday, I’ve been reading a little about the practice of Shibori and discovering the many ways that one can, using Indigo, create brilliant patterns on fabrics.
Keep in mind that this was my first experience.
Esker’s workshop presenter was Lyn Pflueger, generously assisted by Jeri, also from Bragg Creek. Borrowed from the 2009 Annual Report for the Immigration Services of Calgary, this beautiful photograph by Fritz Tolentino.
Everything about this workshop reminded me of working side by side with my mother…learning to crochet, knit, sew garments, embroidery and basket weaving. My mother loved these things. One of my biggest regrets is that I never had opportunity to learn the skill of weaving on a loom with Mom. She was an inspiring person for so many reasons. Lyn and Jeri demonstrated the same patience and the Esker programming staff was so wonderful, providing materials and a smooth pacing of the event. Thank you.
While I stitched a running stitch (the first technique described) I thought about Mom and while I evidently did NOT pull my stitches tightly enough (optimally, you achieve a beautiful white to contrast with the deep colour of the indigo), I enjoyed every minute learning the methodology, with intention of pressing forward with such exploration.
I decided to explore a gesture of the bush that I visit and document every day at the pond.I felt a lot of strength in my surroundings. I was emotional, I must admit. The technique at the bottom of the image is called binding, in this case, around soya beans. In the end, I wrapped these tightly enough so that the ink did not manage its way into the cloth. My running stitches, on the other hand, were not so successful.
Photo Credit: Esker Foundation
Photo Credit: Esker Foundation
Break here for a song that came to mind…I had heard the St. Mary’s University choir do a version of it…and I was thinking how I’d like to be with my Mom. She would so enjoy Shibori techniques!
The samples that Jeri and Lyn showed us were so absolutely beautiful. I liked the connection between the exhibit, Colleen Heslin’s work and the process.
The technique used for the samples below is a clamping technique. I have not yet documented my clamped sampler, but was pleased to learn this second technique.
An amazing process of dye baths and oxidation…all timed. It is easy to get absorbed by the interesting process of it all.
I managed to catch the gesture of the bush…very strong sense of the rock with the bound soya beans…a strong border, but the loss of some branches, likely by a pulled thread or two or three, lost and not knotted properly.
We enjoyed the various fabric samplers that demonstrated the limitless possibilities of applying these techniques and more to other types of fabric…felting, organza and others.
Thanks to all, for a beautiful morning at Esker! There was a powerful bonding to fabric artists, both present and those who have left this world…to feel that spirit of connection and creation was awesome!
I can go for weeks, wanting to write about something and never get to it because it was either too beautiful or too overwhelming or too devastating to actually get the words out…at least on a blog post. I’ve got more drafts than I do posts, sitting waiting for publication. Some of these include a huge post about last summer’s Folk Festival and one titled ‘The Gaze’, something about keeping my eyes on the face of Jesus. When I consider posting, I also think that my honesty will not be appreciated, so I hold back. While some days it feels like I have no readers…that I don’t have an audience…I DO think that I have a responsibility to what I write because it is flowing out into the internet world…and I don’t want to post junk.
Back to the point. I’ve visited the recent exhibit at the Esker Foundation six times now and I am so in love with it that I find it hard to write about. This morning, I thought that I’d make an effort.
To begin with, I attended the opening of the ‘Winter Exhibitions’. The openings at the Esker are sometimes unbelievably populated. This one surpassed that description in every regard. Jim Hill greeted us, at the beginning of the line, out on the street and quietly said, “You might want to come over tomorrow when it’s more quiet” and I responded with, I’ll be attending tomorrow also. So I began my slow weave up the stairwell, conversing with friendly people both ahead of me, and behind me. It moved seamlessly and was a real pleasure. Stepping into the space, it was easy to become anonymous in the crowd. While I did share some words with a few of the friends that I bump into at such events, I made the effort to disappear into the art and I did. The works by Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin sing off of the walls! This is a show that impresses, with its colour relationships, its monumental presence and its juxtaposition. I’m so in love with the art!
That night, I had this huge feeling rush over me that Jack Bush was observing the crowd and all of the conversations…that he was a voyeur, of sorts, watching from the seat of his own work. I had a sense that he was entertained by the spectacle of all of it. But, truly, I felt his presence to this opening. (readers roll eyes here)
I met Alex Cameron while on a horse-packing trip up Blue Rock, with 9 other artists. I forget what led to my good fortune, but I think my friend, Laurel Cormack, had to cancel and she called me up to fill her spot on a horse. Bob Blair, a huge supporter of the visual arts in the city, was funding the adventure, with the understanding that we would provide a painting, in the end, for his collection. I remember sharing the journey with some wonderful people, among them Alex Cameron, Brenda Driscoll, David Alexander, Tania Laniel and Ken Christopher. Generously, Virginia Christopher offered up her gallery for our post journey exhibit and meeting with Bob Blair.
It was on this journey, and around a magical campfire, one of many, that we shared stories with one another about art and life. Ken brought out the guitar and we sang songs. We put on skits. We drank Johnny Walker in our tin cups. It was during one of these night time conversations that Alex Cameron told us the stories of working for Jack Bush in his studio. I felt that I was a witness to something pretty special where each artist was concerned. That journey was life changing and as a result, I painted an exhibit of oil paintings titled Kindred Spirits.
It was very emotional to walk up to one of the exhibit walls and to read the words of introduction by Curator, Sarah Stanners, Ph.D. Director, Curatorial & Collections McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
There…in description of Jack Bush: In Studio…were these words.
It was a life-circle moment.
The next day, I was out to Dr. Sara Stanner’s tour of the exhibit, where she shared so much knowledge about the artist, his studio practice and his relationships. We heard about influences and friendships…about Clement Greenberg, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland and also Anthony Caro. It was a very rich session and I made certain to fill my little notebook with details about each piece, things that I am considering and understanding more as I continue to journey through an exploration of ‘Colour Field’ painting.
This past weekend, I attended, first, an artist talk about Understanding Light and Energy, given by Jesse Stilwell.
He has, on exhibit, an installation in the main floor Project Space. I suggest that my readers take opportunity to visit this piece, both in day light and at night, as it has very interesting light interplay and energy. It was delightful to hear Jesse’s honest portrayal of his process and absolutely fascinating to hear, in part, knowledge about eye and brain in perceiving colour. As I left the session, I met friend, Michelena, and gave her a big hug. And through her, met a long time friend, Jocelyn, who as it turned out, would be attending the Saturday workshop with me. Together, the three of us took a little bit of time to peruse Colleen Heslin’s work and talk about it.
The next day, I was able to practice, through specific guidelines, exploration in Simultaneous Contrast and colour interaction. Thanks to both the Esker staff and Jesse Stilwell, for an excellent experience. I treasure and support the idea that programs be included in the experience of gallery spaces. I think that working with concepts is fundamental and crucial to integrating artistic concepts. Esker programming rocks!
Jocelyn and I sat and played the afternoon away and colour began to explode through the space. Solid direction was given and materials were provided. I became a little more intense than I would typically be while painting, but I was definitely journeying into an area where I had little or no experience. When I pulled myself out of my paint fog and Jocelyn and I were able to exchange contact information, I learned that she had been born 12 years before her sister. I shared that I had also been born 12 years before my sister. In the end, it turns out that my sister and Jocelyn’s sister are good friends, and living in Ottawa. The serendipity made perfect sense, given the magic of colour and the sharing of our personal narratives. It was a magical afternoon!
A photograph of Jocelyn, Caterina and me, upon completion of our afternoon workshop. A wonderful afternoon! Thank you, Esker.
This is a beautiful day! I got up early and Max and I headed over to the pond. I made a decision to attend a later Mass again because light will be fading soon and our pond walks will be later in the day…it is time to soak up the beautiful morning light while it’s still possible. It is another golden-blue day as tree branches become more exposed and the leaves move into a warmer shade of yellow.
Mass was inspiring. With my church family, I was able to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t visited with for quite a long time and I felt as though I was able to be really present to her and to the blessed peace of the Mass. I thought a lot about discipleship…and took pause to consider what direction these thoughts might take me in my community.
Once home, I ate a nice lunch and then visited with Dad on Skype. Now, I am sitting in my pyjamas, ready to have an afternoon nap. The sunshine is creating beautiful patterns on the floor near by. This relaxed feeling that pours over me is quite a contrast to the whirlwind of activity that has been filling up my life since Enriquito’s departure and connecting with Dylan last week. A few images as an archive…
Dragon Pearl Dumplings and Hot and Sour Soup…a family favourite and great for an art night.
Esker Foundation autumn opening. The snacks, as per usual, were amazing! And it was such a nice thing to visit with Jim and Sue Hill again. I bumped into people I knew, but it was especially good to share the experience with my daughter, Cayley. I have to say that this exhibit is a challenge for me. I’m looking forward to programs that will supplement the visual exhibit over the coming months. I’m guessing I will learn more about art as communication and installation. The programs began on Saturday, with an artist talk, but one needs to pace ones self. Charlotte Moth: living images and Celia Perrin Sidarous: Interiors, Other Chambers will be on exhibit until December 20.
From this gallery setting, we headed over to Pith Gallery, meeting John Will in the center of 9th Ave, where funny enough, he stopped to talk. Comic Con’t by Ryan Statz, had me in stitches. Honestly, the work made me laugh out loud. A great find! Autobiographical in nature, this work was technically astute and in very good humour.
Lifted from the Pith Comic Con’t public share, I hope that Ryan will not mind me sharing this…sort of gives you the back story.
Ryan Statz – Biography
A native of Montréal Québec, Statz completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2000, and received his Masters of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University in 2008. Currently based in Calgary Alberta, Statz’s work has been exhibited across Canada, The United States, and Europe.
Ryan Statz – Artist Statement
I am an idiot.
Anyone who knows me would likely admit that this is neither a stretch of the truth or the imagination – in fact, if I were a gambling man I’d say it’d be a pretty safe bet. Based on a personal, and experiential reality, my work owns up to this; however, because I also do not lead a life that is altogether interesting or exciting, the subject matter of the work references the mundane.
In the production of my work, I employ strategies from performance, executed with a deadpan fervour that includes elements of humour, wit, and humility – with just a hint of self-deprecation. Any self-flagellation, however, should not be taken as an admission of a lowered self-image; it is used primarily as a comedic device that addresses the notion of hegemonic masculinity.
Art History ubiquitously portrays the male artist as an iconic figure, a genius, and a hero. As I often approach things with a great deal of humility, I present the male artist (myself) as an individual who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, whose social status amongst his peers isn’t the highest, and whose success within the local, Canadian and international art context is virtually non-existent. So for my own purposes, and in the context of the male artist-as-bumbling-idiot, failure is always a viable option.
From Pith Gallery, Cayley and I walked down to the Ironwood Stage and Grill where Steve Coffey and Sheri-D were performing a collaborative piece titled, Tales From the Moonshine Room. Over a glass of wine, a snack of calamari and conversation shared with a writer out of LA, Cayley and I really enjoyed this performance piece. On a few occasions, the spoken poetry brought me to tears.
Nice to see you again, Paul Forestell!
Saturday morning began with an early morning pond walk. Even when life is hectic, having a beautiful border collie (Max-Man) in my circle, causes a connection with nature and required exercise.
From there, I headed up north for an Open Door YYC activity. I had registered to see the warehouse where the City of Calgary stores and cares for the Public Art Collection. It was fabulous! Barb and Quinn did an superb job sharing such a ‘magical’ place with us. Articulate and genuinely passionate, their collaborative presentation was excellent. A staff of two, they manage a beautiful space and collection. I was really glad to have seen this. (No pictures inside…and if you’ve ever attended to such an event, you would understand the logic.)
Had I prior knowledge about the density of population that would attend a Pop Up Etsy event, I would not have committed to the 50 minute line up to get to the 97 vendors inside the Golden Acres venue on Saturday. While I did pick up three Christmas gifts, I find that Market Collective provides a more ‘chill’ experience and as many artisans and creatives. I missed food trucks and live music. The crowds were oppressive. Hmmm…let me see…I’m sure I took a photo of the line up that wove in and out of shelving. Yes, here it is…
Yes, Dad, I DID do this! The best part of the line up was that I met up with one of my fans…just love this girl! Hannah is in one of her dance poses for this photo. :0)
I decided to opt out of the bus tour of the Shepard Land Fill site and headed home to chill out before sharing the evening with my girls, attending Alberta Ballet’s Balletlujah.
From Avenue Magazine: Photo captured of a moment in Jean Grand-Maitre’s choreography for Balletlujah!
Now…it might be that my readers will think that Saturday was over…but, no. What did we do? We stopped at the Blackfoot Diner OF COURSE. We thought we would share a piece of pie. But instead….this.
I have much to be grateful for…I’m offered up so much in the way of opportunity…good food and drink…friendship and family. It was quite a weekend! Late this afternoon, I will drive out to spend time with my dear Ya Yas. But…for now…a snooze!