Esker Happenings: The Way Air Hides the Sky

I’m thinking about the early-rise tomorrow morning.  I will drive over to my daughter’s place where we’ll watch the Canda-Sweden game together and share some breakfast.  4:00 comes early, but I wanted to archive a few more events/ideas before I head for bed, so that tomorrow is a fresh beginning to the week.  I feel so blessed for so many reasons.

Tyler Los-Jones presented an artist-talk at Esker this past week.  These sessions are always so rich and a multitude of connections are made.  Tyler’s piece is titled The Way Air Hides the Sky and is located in the Project Space tucked in at the entrance to the Esker building.

Tyler’s talk was both academic (heady) and in so many ways, humourous.  He was very authentic in his approach.  As a result of the talk, it is easier to enjoy the work…or form more of a relationship to it.  Also, I came home to do some more reading about Tyler’s process and intention.  I like the images found here.  The following image and the body of work related to it was most appealing to me.  Photo Credit: Walter Phillips Gallery

Tyler Los-Jones, we saw the reflected inverted image of our own age #6-2013

Tyler Los-Jones, we saw the reflected inverted image of our own age #6-201

I captured some images of The Way Air Hides the Sky, …and more reflecting…as the glass reflects my own image back to me…and I become an inclusion to the myriad of reflective surfaces already present in the piece.  An interesting program.

P1150249 P1150250 P1150251 P1150252 P1150253 P1150254 P1150255 P1150256 P1150257 P1150258On the Esker Foundation website, Shauna Robertson writes

December 16, 2013 – March 16, 2014

Much of Tyler Los-Jones’ practice is concerned with the way in which we frame nature and insist upon a detachment between it and ourselves: the anthropocentric assumption that we are distinct from it and not intrinsically linked to it, neither physically nor temporally. That nature is Othered to us and exists for our use, enjoyment, and consumption has long been inherent in the vernacular of landscape photography, and this type of mediated representation of the natural persists to this day largely unchanged.

The way air hides the sky suggests a meditative proposition for reframing or dismantling these invisible divisions, complicit hallucinations, and the uneasy relationship between humanity and the natural world. The installation borrows the language and materials of industrial and interior design as a vehicle for the natural image—light boxes, room dividers, rolls of wallpaper, and mirrors: tools for image-making—and deploys them within the conceit of a perpetually in-progress storefront. Situated in a space of commerce and high traffic, the sense of something in process—or, noticed eventually over time, in a mode of permanent stasis—gives us pause, for a moment, to become productively stuck.

Our expectation of the fictitious display window, with its conflation of sultry, slick, sexy, high-gloss theatricality and the serpentine infiltration of the provisional and the natural, operates—in the timbre of a whisper—as a permeable barrier that suggests that which we are already aware: the open secret that we exist not outside of, but within, an oscillating space between the real and the imagined, the interior and the exterior, the natural and the constructed, the opaque and the transparent.

Love Art in Calgary: Trepanier Baer

From the Lux Laundromat, our tour group headed a few blocks east, to the Trepanier Baer art gallery.  I’ve had a few beautiful experiences there in the past viewing exhibits by Evan Penny and David Urban, so I was looking forward to revisiting the gallery and seeing the Ron Moppett exhibit, Vincent’s Last Studio.

The one really pleasant face to face conversation I shared with Ron Moppett was enjoyed at the Esker Foundation where we chatted about paint by number paintings at length and with interest.

I was really grateful for the generous tour given by Administrative Assistant, Judy Ciccaglione.  This was an informative and very entertaining review of some of the notions that were key to this exhibit.

P1140765 P1140767 P1140770 P1140772 P1140775 P1140777 P1140780 P1140781 P1140782 P1140783 P1140786 P1140788As an extension, Ron Moppett’s mosaic is a formidable piece of public art available for our perusal.

A Library, Phil, Tim, Good Snacks & Lea Bucknell, Artist in Residence

P1130185I hopped on the train after Esker and Max and stopped at City Hall.  The CPL is right there on the opposite corner and as is always the story about the library, great things were happening last night.  An Artist in Residency program is under way!

Torn directly out of the social media event description…this…

The New Gallery has partnered with the Calgary Public Library to implement a special residency program. Beginning in the fall of 2013, this collaboration encourages social practices and public engagement. Lea Bucknell, the inaugural artist-in-residence, will be building a wooden structure, Graphite Mountain, at the Library’s Central Branch (616 Macleod Trail SE) to act as a place for public gathering and a venue for cartographic and drawing-based workshops.

Both poetic and playful, Graphite Mountain resembles an idealized mountain form and provides a unique and unexpected experience for library-goers. Clad in old wooden fence boards that have been cut and arranged to mimic mountain stratigraphy, the structure’s interior cavity becomes a studio for the artist during her residency. A curiosity in the library, this mountain environment collapses notions of picturesque landscapes and retreat spaces into one stand-alone structure.

I treasured conversation with former student, Tim Belliveau and his Bee-Kingdom buddy and mine, Phillip Bandura.  I also learned some new things from Lea’s talk and look forward to learning more about ‘the follies’ and participating in the various related workshops happening with the library during her residency.

P1130176 P1130186 P1130188 P1130189 P1130192 P1130194 P1130195 P1130196 P1130199 P1130201 P1130202 P1130205

Phantom Wing

Phones were busy at cSPACE last night, snappin’ pictures  of pretty much everything!  I’m feeling as though the internet is already swamped with images of the fantastical Phantom Wing, but who cares…here are a few more!

P1130047I go to these things alone…I know…it’s pathetic…but I’m really the driver of my own ship these days and find that my sails take me into the most magical places.  Sometimes my voice collides with another voice…sometimes not…it’s all fairly wonderful.  I DO thank the two gentlemen who seemed to have some interesting interactions with me about various spaces when we bumped into one another…and thank you for grabbing a photo of me at the wings!

P1130097 P1130098By the way, I’ve recently started a writing residency with the CPL, delivered by Barb Howard (I was intrigued by one of her published titles…Embedded on the Home Front : Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge) and have learned from one of the library books being passed about, on the topic of learning to be a writer, that a writing ‘rule’ is to avoid using adjectives.  My eyes were opened!  I am a freak who uses MANY adjectives.  Try to overlook them.

A few reactions around the various Phantom Wing exhibits…

I thought about education a lot….the ways that we have educated children over time.  Sorry for all of the dot dot dots…I just seem to NOT be able to write sentences right now.  My thoughts are disjointed.  Perhaps it is because I sat in a dentist’s chair for five hours on Monday, just to have my face go numb today…off I go again in an hour to have him ‘take a look’.  Sigh and back to the subject…

P1130072 P1130077 I felt sad for all of the dumb work sheets. (I never used the things…but see them used to this day by some.)

P1130073 P1130074 P1130075I felt sad for the controlling approach to almost everything.  But, let us remember that ALL of those teachers were being controlled at the very same time as you wee chickens were.  (Yes, I am a teacher.)

P1130068 P1130067 P1130065

Teacher's Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck's room

Teacher’s Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck’s room

I thought about how redundant things must seem/be sometimes in schools.

P1130076

Cliques are destructive.  I believe in being a person ‘on the fringe’.

I didn’t ‘belong’ to the girls’ group in school…any school…so, in the second floor bathrooms, where Melinda Topilko and Lindsay Joy had prepared for a Girl Gang Dance Party, re-inventing the all-lady bathroom space as a vehicle for girl talk in all its many forms, I felt very uncomfortable.  I exited as soon as there was talk about writing down your confessions…assuming that you did mean things in school.  Ah, but I remember being ‘the nice girl’.

P1130119 P1130120Because of my preoccupation with feeding and watching birds these days, the Winged Apocalypse piece left the deepest impression with me.  I mean, things have gotten so bad that I’ve actually visited my neighbour and talked to her reasonably about the cat Bylaw because she has a mouse/bird-tossing-cat that she watches each morning while drinking back her coffee and smoking her cigarette. In summary, this particular installation was meaningful.

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

P1130108

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Some of what I saw and experienced just gave me a good feeling…re-purposing materials, the inventiveness and genius of people and their facility to expand upon their initial concepts into creativity. Some of the work was thought-provoking around many different topics…construction, architecture, reuse, resources, friendship, community.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective — with Dana Schloss at PHANTOM WING: a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective: a pre-demolition project at King Edward School.

P1130088 P1130092 P1130095

A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock's "Politergeist" installation

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock’s “Politergeist” installation

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton's scary fairy tales installation.

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton’s scary fairy tales installation.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

The Bells built a bell-installation. Leslie and Chris Bell collected over 50 fire bells over the past few years. The couple  re-purposed the fire bells to create a (relatively) zen, hand-powered sound installation.  The evening at Phantom Wing was spectacular.

Meeting Mikhail Miller-Lajeunesse

Presently, Mikhail has taken up residence in the 809 Space in Kensington, to exhibit new work on March 7.  I met Mikhail at the Gorilla House this past Wednesday and chatted with him for a very few minutes.  He is both a gentleman and an inspired artist.  I was fortunate enough to purchase his piece at auction for an unreasonable and other-worldly price…and this leaves me…annoyed for him, but genuinely thrilled for myself!

As soon as I saw his work, I was blown away…given the sha-BANG about Valentines the very next day.  The piece spoke to me of love, of the other-worldly realm of love, of love gone wrong…of love gone right.  The two figures meld…but, the viewer is left with a question at that connection. The old idea, “he completes me”, comes to mind. My next post will actually deal with the fundamental realities of what Valentines ‘is’ for a person like me…but this does not negate the powerful tug that we all feel when the world tells us we should be eating chocolates and handing out roses.  All this aside, Mikhail’s piece is an important addition to the works displayed in my bedroom.

Ain’t No Shelter

Photo Credit: Mikhail Miller

Photo Credit: Mikhail Miller

Photo Credit: Mikhail Miller through 809 Space

Photo Credit: Mikhail Miller through 809 Space

Just a few tidbits ripped off from Mikhail’s blog and the 809 Space, in the case that you don’t click…but I hope you will.

Artist Biography:

“Mikhail Miller is a visual artist, community organizer and social activist born in Calgary, AB, Canada. Mikhail graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2006, with a Bachelors of Fine Art from the Print Media faculty. From 2008/09 Mikhail served as a work/study intern at the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2010/11 he was curator of the Ministry of Casual Living artist-run project space. Mikhail’s prints, paintings, sculptures and community murals have been enjoyed throughout much of western Canada and internationally. Recently Mikhail spent a four-month period making new work in Oaxaca, Mexico, which resulted in two solo exhibitions at Espacio Zapata in Oaxaca and Galeria Anomalia in Mexico City. Mikhail Miller currently lives and works in Victoria, BC.”

P1090543