For You/And Me

 

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I met Ashleigh Bartlett at the Esker Foundation. I was participating in a workshop that was a visual response/reaction to the Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin exhibit, one of the most powerful visual experiences I had had for a very long time.  Ashleigh really impacted me with her approach to the workshop and I saw the evolution of non-objective forms more clearly than I had in the past.  I also became very engaged in process, materials and colour.

Ashleigh is presently working out of Boston and she has become a social media friend.  I enjoy visiting the art exhibits she attends through posted images and sometimes get to see work that I admire, through her eyes.  Most recently…just yesterday…she posted an image of a piece by Kara Walker, an artist I’ve been intrigued by the past several years.  Her paper cut outs related to the topic of slavery are potent and important.  Anyway, point being, social media may have its downfalls, but more often than not, it creates interesting connections.

Ashleigh Bartlett curated the current/soon departing exhibit For You/And Me at the Paul Kuhn Gallery.  I couldn’t let it leave town without seeing it.  After all, yesterday was a snowy and grey day.  One other person was wandering the gallery, but soon, I was alone in the space.  And…my readers know how I feel about that glorious feeling of being alone with work.  I’ve snapped some photographs of my favourite works.  I’d describe this group show as elegant and restful.  While colour on the larger fabric collages is intense, there is a dominant sense of balance and that leads the viewer into an experience of meditation.

In regards to my experience, I was curious about the technical aspects of the work.  There were some very engaging approaches to use of media.  Jim Verburg’s approach in his two layer paintings was lovely…so subtle, that photographs would not do them justice.  Paint on mylar in front of paint on mat.  Nice.  Jessica Groome’s Glimmer, Gazer and Pearl, documented below…my favourites!

 

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This little piece was probably the one I wondered about the most.  Mark Clintberg’s Two Coins was simple, but complex at the same time.  I like the projection of the shadow onto the back mat.  I like the texture of the embossed gold leaf.  I wonder about the connections with Felix Gonzales Torres’ Drawings and Sculptures.  This captures the sensibility of the exhibit in full…elegance.  Congratulations to Ashleigh, the participating artists and Paul Kuhn.

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I’d love to have Erica Mendritzski’s Girls hanging in my home.  This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

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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!

 

 

Sumac and Cedar

I was so excited to see the new gallery that gifts Bridge Street and Belleville.  Friends, Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris, took me under their artistic wings on my last visit in 2013.  Since then, they have opened a spectacular and vital space on Bridge called Artists & Artisans Studio and Gallery!  Whoot!  Love the sensibility and the openness to emerging and practicing artists of every variety.  These two are Makers and Shakers!  I’m so glad to be able to reconnect.

Peter Paylor’s art, both wood carvings and prints, was featured in the recent opening, Sumac and Cedar.  The artist harvests fallen and cast off wood and creates uplifting pieces of sculpture that are exquisite. Lisa’s jewelry and paintings are also exhibited throughout the well-loved space.  At the opening, hospitality was extended to this Calgary chick, by every one I met.

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Exploring the Glenbow on a Quiet Day

Some days, I just really relish the wandering and the peaceful consideration that comes with attending an exhibit on my own.  Exhibit openings are magical for conversation and that sort of electric energy that sparks the air as a result of the dynne, but truly, I am far more engaged by the art when I am alone and visiting at my own speed.

Concurrently, some interesting things have been on view at the Glenbow.  I think I visited last Sunday, but these moments all seem to blend together when you see so much as I do, so don’t hold me to the calendar.  On my exploration…these…

Kaleidoscopic Animalia: An exhibition designed and curated by Paul Hardy

Embracing Canada: Landscapes from Krieghoff to the Group of Seven

The Demise of 17th Avenue, one of the Glenbow’s Recent Acquisitions

One New Work, Walter May: Object Lessons

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I was welcomed by Widow.  The one venue I had missed during the exhibit, Oh, Canada, was the Nickle Galleries.  I was very happy to see this piece, Widow, an eight-foot bear sculpture made of wool and mixed media, donated by artist Janice wright Cheney, to the Glenbow.

The John Hartman painting in the stairwell captured my heart immediately.  I’ve been an admirer of his work for years and to see this monumental piece was just so exciting.  One of my favourite books on my art shelves is Big North: The Paintings of John Hartman.

Bad picture…but…really, I wasn’t in the Glenbow to collect photographs…I really was there to very consciously, take in the works.

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While I have no images to represent the time spent with the section ‘Embracing Canada’, I spent a long time standing in front of the countless images of landscape and in some cases, responding emotionally.  I think that at my core, I am a landscape painter, likely because of my huge connection with the Trans Canada highway and my life as a child of a military father.  I am truly the biggest fan of our nation, for its beauty and its expanse.  This exhibit is a strong representation of Canadian landscape painters and their art.  It was a physical collection of works…meaning, I felt its impact in my body as well as in my heart.  I remember feeling this same way while visiting the McMichael art gallery so many years ago.

Walter May’s work struck me as whimsical, humourous, light-hearted and sparse.  I liked the childlike freedom of the work and the materiality (if that is a word?) of his pieces.  The more dynamic angular pieces were difficult for me and I found his more linear works more appealing from an aesthetic stand point.  I liked his apparent inclusion of functional objects in unusual circumstances.

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I probably spent the most time exploring the works of Robert McInnis, the Demise of 17th Ave, mainly because I was seeking out the representations of the familiar and iconic people related with the arts scene at a point in Calgary.  I went looking for John Snow…Ken Christopher…Doug Maclean … Joane Cardinal-Schubert…and others.  The amazing story of the work is found here.  Given my own interest in history and family history, I feel this work is absolutely archival.  I remember meeting Robert McInnis several different times, hanging at the original CAG here in Calgary and once out at the Leighton Center.  He was living out in Cayley at that time.

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Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Kaleidoscopic Animalia exhibit curated by Paul Hardy.  A disappointment was that the gift shop downstairs had no documentation for purchase about how these potent spaces were curated.  From the time I was a child and watched Chez Helene and her pet mouse, Susie, teaching the french language over Mom and Dad’s black and white television set, I have loved the idea of little mouse houses, assemblages, spaces cluttered with amazing objects.  I am compelled to explore objects of affection and wonder about them…their historical significance…or what they meant in the context of ‘the ordinary’.

This exhibit fulfilled all of my curiosity about such spaces.  Loved this!  I could spend hours on a visual journey through these spaces!

Having recently written a post about my remembrances of the Oldman River, I stopped into the gift shop and ended up finding a single copy of Robert Girvan’s book,  Who Speaks for the River? The Oldman River Dam and the Search for Justice.  Happily, there is a chapter that describes the entire day at Maycroft Crossing, so many years ago.  This is something that I can give to Cayley and Erin who were with me that day on the river.

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It was a beautiful afternoon at the Glenbow Gallery and it was important that I post some of my thoughts about the magic that I experienced there.  If you can, take the time, to find your magic there.

Ode to a Friend: Selfismo

I went Downtown Uptown 7th!

I hope you took a listen to that one…it’s a perky tune for your morning start!

There’s lots of paving going on right now, but I maneuvered my way into the City Parkade and made it to Enriquito’s solo exhibit, just as it was getting rolling.  A nice group of people gathered to celebrate the art of a prolific and inspiring young man, one we have been blessed to come to know as friend in art.

Snacks and drinks were available and good and uplifting conversations filled the wee vintage-gallery space.  I was grateful to get into some conversation with artists, Fernando and An Dong.  An Dong was pretty pumped to see Wendy Lees and the create! folk earlier in the day.  I had made the effort to see the create! exhibit that is presently happening in the main branch of the Calgary Public Library, but Fridays means a 6:00 p.m. close, so, I’ll have to come down another day.

Congratulations, Enriquito, on your beautiful work, but more importantly, for the friendships you have nurtured over these past years in Calgary.  We will always love and support you.

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Journeyman: A Ten Year Survey by Bill Rodgers

Bart Habermiller generously led the Love Art in Calgary tour group through the exhibit, Journeyman: A Ten Year Survey by Bill Rodgers, a beautiful complement/continuation of the exhibit that opened last night at the Nickle Arts Museum out at the University of Calgary.

Bill was a huge influence while I studied at ACAD during my year of sabbatical from CCSD #1.  We shared many conversations about my practice and my ideas.  He was a very generous person when it came to authentic communications about my progress.  He saw me through the process of creating these works…

Three Men: Sabbatical at Alberta College of Art

Three Men: Sabbatical at Alberta College of Art

Three Men

Three Men

One of three Library Helpers

One of three Library Helpers

That year I established a new direction for my work and never really looked at the practice of painting for commercial art galleries the same afterwards.  Of course, there were other influences during my study…influences like visiting lecturer, Rene Derouin and the exploration of his work during his Glenbow and CAG exhibits, but Bill Rodgers and artist, William MacDonell were key.  That year of study was a blessing-year.

Because I came from this relationship with Bill Rodgers, the works on display at SQ Commons seemed to reach out and grab me.  It was a truly emotional experience.  I used a pinhole setting on my camera and so my readers will enjoy truer colour if they view the works at this particular link.  I DO, however, enjoy the nostalgic sensibility of this particular lens as it speaks to me personally about the residual experience of Bill’s grander influence on my life.  There is the art and then there is the art of living.

P1140917 P1140918 P1140919 P1140921 P1140923 P1140924 P1140925 P1140926 P1140928Thanks to Bart Habermiller for the generosity and for the interesting vision for gallery spaces as living breathing entities that move beyond ‘place’ and are accessible to everyone.

Solitude

I’m inspired by the ideas and photographs published here.  And…as I consider solitude, a whole number of thoughts come to mind.  For example,  I disappear into art.  I might be with others, but in an art gallery, I enter into relationship with paintings,  drawings and photographs, sculpture and pieces of art-glass.  Companions, other visitors and dealers circulate within the same spaces, but I am virtually alone.

Kootenay Lake: Remembering Pauline

I love to relax with an awesome piece of literature, but just as much, I enjoy the conversation that happens when I meet someone who has read the same book.  Time with a book is ‘magical’ solitude.  It most often happens by soft light, curled in bed late at night.  It is comfortable.  It is quiet.  It engages my spirit, my feelings and my mind.

I enjoy reading on public transit.  It seems that most everyone else is plugged into electronics, finding their own place of solitude.  I like that I can sometimes near my stop, without realizing it because a book has carried me to a different place.

Solitude is enjoyed while  sitting in the dark, watching a piece of beautiful dance or theater.  With dance, I process my own ‘stories’ and sometimes just enjoy the abstract sense of movement, light and music.  I like the sense of bodies in close proximity…other people engaged in the very same moment, but NOT really engaged with my very same moment.  I enjoy the intimacy of watching beautiful, strong and flexible bodies moving through space for my sake and my pleasure.  The dance speaks to me and again, I experience no judgment, pressure or sense of responsibility to the movement.  It is almost as though it serves me, although I know that unless the viewer brings something to the piece, it is unfinished.

I enjoy watching live theater, especially work that makes me laugh.  I hear myself laughing out loud.  I mean, I REALLY hear myself laugh and then…the play disappears for a moment and I cry in the dark…cry for happiness of hearing myself laugh.  I know that I have many unanswered questions.  I know that I am often-times troubled by various changes that keep happening in my life…but, I cry for happiness and love that comedy causes me to laugh.  There is a huge solitude that I experience in that whole process, alone in the dark.

Writing is a place of solitude and there is very little that feels as satisfying to me.  I feel so calm, watching words fly across a ‘page’.  I try to write something every day.  It is as though writing can take me to a place of solitude that is very honest and so ideas are generated, problems are resolved and feelings are expressed. 

Hiking, even with friends, is a place of solitude.  I like the sound of each step…because on the trails, as I exert myself, each step becomes something that I consider.  Muscles come alive.  I feel sun or rain on my face.  Unlike the hectic life engaged with work and social activities, hiking brings me home to myself.  I see things because I slow enough to notice.  I hear my footsteps.

In Fatal Wanderings: Thoughts on Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”, solitude becomes a tragic circumstance.  And, very honestly, sometimes I feel that I am pulled into a sad place in a circumstance of too much solitude…but, what I’ve tried to write about tonight is the absolute wonder and magic of solitude in just some of its forms.  Solitude can be a very beautiful thing.