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.


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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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!



Peter von Tiesenhausen Inspires

While fulfilling a contract, teaching grade one students, I still managed to get out to some arts events in town and now, as a matter of playing catch-up, I’ll archive a couple of them.  Last Thursday, I attended the Peter von Tiesenhausen opening, Concentrations, hosted by Jarvis Hall Fine Art and to follow that, attended one of two artist-talks given by Peter on his current Esker Foundation exhibit, Experience of the Precisely Sublime.

At Jarvis Hall Fine Arts, I enjoyed the intimacy of the pieces on exhibit.  There are some very monumental sculptures presently on exhibit at the Esker Foundation and these, along with Peter’s shelf of gestures, are very beautiful.  For those of you looking for biographical information, please refer to the links above and a fabulous write up for the present exhibit at Esker is located here.  The purpose of this post is to share some of the magic that I took with me after my experiences of the art.

First, art openings are awesome for the purpose of bumping into and connecting with treasured friends.  I was happy to chat briefly with Shannon, Michelena and Bruce.  I was really happy to have a short visit with Peter as well and to remind him that his work has impacted me in a special way for several decades now.

P1160467During the artist-talk at the Esker, I picked up on several short vignettes in reference to the pieces on the shelf.  I’m including a photograph here that will be fully credited later as I DID find it on the Esker Foundation website, on their ABOUT page, but the photographer is not credited there (I’m going to assume that it is a photo archive taken by Doug Haslam).  I want to use it as a map for Peter’s talk, as he explored these intimate pieces from right to left and shared brief narratives about each.

Photo Credit: Esker Foundation, About Banner Photo

Photo Credit: Esker Foundation, About Banner Photo

Photo Credit: Close-up Shelf of Tiesenhausen Gestures, Esker Foundation

Photo Credit: Close-up Shelf of Tiesenhausen Gestures, Esker Foundation

The following are a series of points pulled out of my notebook…

The Concentration = whatever you go through, you can manage. In the end, create what you want.

Peter decided that some of his difficulties through a specific period of time were created by his own head and RESISTANCE.

PERSIST….BELIEVE….Follow your bliss (Joseph Campbell) because good stuff happens.

-8′ section of picket fence painted white
-add an 8′ section every year to the west
-24 x 8′ straight line…new on one end and pickets splitting on oldest end, aging and weather-worn-incredible challenge
-conscious of what is lost
-conscious of passage of time
-remember the neighbours from your youth
-why did we not have the faith that transition happens?
EXAMPLE: The clear-cuts that created such a concern for environmentalists decades ago are now very vibrant eco-systems.
-if we are going to do damage, let us make it so that at least it’s over the parameters of our own life limitations
-How can we have the smallest impact?


SMALL OBJECTS ON SHELF = GESTURES  these taught Peter how to explore materials and ideas.

Wooden Face Profile

While attending the sculpture department of York University, Peter decided he was going to use ever machine that was in the department; drills, CNC scanning machines, laser programs.  He enjoyed the sound of the drills, the melodic and hypnotic sounds.


Wooden Duck and Lion

Left on a railing for twenty five years in his studio.


One of 3000 eye symbols that led to the copyrighting of his land.  The eyes of the aspen trees are guarding-watching.



Bronze Pieces

Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering – sunlight used to melt bronze
Use focused sunlight to heat bronze to 5,000 degrees.

Wood with cavity in it – contains a pebble

Karl Blossfeldt – Up Close and Beautiful/Art Forms and Nature

Garlic Plant: Karl Blossfeldt

Garlic Plant: Karl Blossfeldt

Rusted Camshaft – solar bronzed


Home made Axe

-a mention, here, of Tim and Linda, people who lived off the land/$10,000 a year and farmed with horses

Wooden Axe

BEING FREE – I don’t owe anybody anything.



Cardboard Axe

Random Axe of Kindness – Banff

The very next day, having listened with my heart…not just my head, I noticed this beautiful dried strand of perfectly ordered seed pods.  Such a brutal, cold winter, Alberta experienced these last many months and to discover such perfection was surprising and beautiful.

P1160466 P1160464 P1160463I feel inspired to truly notice my surroundings because of the impact of Peter’s exceptional work in two Calgary galleries.  At the Jarvis Hall Fine Art exhibit,  I was most captivated by a glass cabinet filled with drawings tied together in bunches  with cord and then sealed in red wax.  I would like to encourage my readers to attend both exhibits while they are here in Calgary.

Sealed drawings

Poems for e. New work by Carl White

Last evening I attended an opening at Jarvis Hall Fine Art, Poems for e by Carl White. This was an exquisite collection of works, with such subtleties and interesting nuances, I was captivated. The use of line, the variety of surfaces and the elegant incorporation of the written word had me smitten! Get down to this exhibit!

Love Art in Calgary: Jarvis Hall Fine Art

Wowsah!  Next on our tour, Jarvis Hall Fine Art!  I love this space!  I like Jarvis Hall and his vision, philosophy and dedication to both fine art and to the craft of exquisite fine art framing.  Jarvis and Shannon Williamson were both so generous with their time and really welcomed us on a pretty busy day, given that there was an opening that afternoon for Marianne Gerlinger.  It was very exciting to be able to preview Marianne’s work and to enter into some art talk about the images, techniques and to wander about at a leisurely pace.


Background Image by Billy McCarroll. Wendy Lees Introduction of Jarvis Hall


A new sort of gallery ‘speak’…at least I thought so!


Shannon Williamson…artist and art preparator.


This image has been collected directly from the Jarvis Hall website and so credit is given to them for the photograph.  One of my favourites.

Marianne Gerlinger "Smoked", 2013, 42 x 48 in., acrylic, black gesso & oil stick on canvas

Marianne Gerlinger “Smoked”, 2013, 42 x 48 in., acrylic, black gesso & oil stick on canvas

I was really intrigued by the description of techniques used in some fine arts frames and to learn that there are some historical methods that continue to be practiced, but by very few crafts people in the contemporary world.  This is something I’d like to explore more.  New insights into things are so exciting.  While I DID take notes on this process, I think that this site seems to describe it more clearly…with the addition of carving as one of the steps to the completed profile.  I also would like to apologize for the quality of this photograph, but want to include it here as a part of what I will always remember as being so absolutely beautiful.


Steve and Steve standing in front of an amazing Jeffrey Spalding piece.

Steve and Steve standing in front of an amazing Jeffrey Spalding piece.