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!

 

 

It was good to meet you, Chris Flodberg!

I have admired the work of Chris Flodberg for years.  From the time I used up my father’s leftover pots of oil colour (He was a real fan in the late 50s/early 60s of paint-by-numbers.), I’ve enjoyed the smell of linseed oil.  The memory of the years and years of painting with oils when most artists were using acrylics, makes me smile.  Such a yummy medium!  It is also a rich experience to work with the paint over a longer period of time than what polymers will allow.  It is his sensitive use of this medium, that causes me to really, really enjoy Chris Flodberg’s work

On the day when I believed it to be unfortunate to be a day early for On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City featuring A Matter of Trust, hosted by the Public Library, I ended up being very-much blessed by the Encounters exhibit at the Glenbow Museum.  Second to that, I was exiting the second floor by the stairs,  just as the artist, Chris Flodberg, and a friend were heading up those same stairs.  Initially, we shared observations about the way that his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) was mounted in the stairwell.

It was a surprising and pleasant conversation because Chris then examined the context of the painting, its symbolism and explained how he staged his environment for the work.  It was such an awesome and serendipitous event!  I  recently wrote Chris, asking his permission to post the image of this interior here, so that I might more explicitly share some of those elements, so stay posted.

Uh huh!  Chris has given me his kind permission to post an image of his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) here.  A grander description to follow…but now, on to the off-leash!  Thanks, Chris.

"Love and War in the World of Men" 6'x4.5' 2004 Chris Flodberg

Chris pointed out some of the connections between Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and his own painting, Love and War in the World of Men.   If you look at the details; the orange perched on the window sill and the pair of shoes in the lower third of both compositions.  These elements create whimsy, along with an interesting continuity of what it means to be ‘a guy’ in a very intimate space.  I challenge my readers to find other such similarities in the content.

Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

 

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli

Joane Cardinal -Schubert

I’m competing in team kata at a karate tournament this weekend, but I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Joane Cardinal-Schubert again tonight. She is celebrating 30 years as an artist and there is a beautiful exhibit at the Master’s Art Gallery downtown, featuring some amazing pieces.  So, I organized my time so that I could enjoy the work and nibble on beautiful appetizers before scooting to the south again for my practice.
 
I first met Joane when my first-born was only a small child in 1982.  I was a teacher at a school in the southeast and I was responsible for developing a program that would meet the needs of a whole number of children from various backgrounds…we had Cree, Blackfoot, Metis and Blood…kids who had integrated into a school system that sometimes didn’t work for them fully…and kids who generally had difficulties with english language arts/reading, writing and articulating.
 
I invited Joane to come out to our school as I noticed very quickly that my students had a general sense of the visual world and while very quiet, they seemed to relish time spent working with their hands no matter what the project.  Writing experiences seemed to follow as a natural progression to real-life experiences OR visits to the Glenbow or walks at the bird sanctuary.  I still have a beautiful drawing of Chief Crowfoot that Jordan Bearshirt drew for me in pencil.  It is one of my treasures from that time.
 
Joane shared slides with us in a darkened classroom and I remember how excited the students were during her presentation, but also after.  It was an amazing thing to see her large charcoal sketches of sweat lodges and strong dynamic lines of lodge poles.  It was a true landmark in my experience as an arts educator to have her come that day.
 
Years later, I became an activist in opposition of the building of the Oldman River Dam, having received my degree from the University of Lethbridge.  As a “Friend of the Oldman”, I worked volunteer hours raising funds for the legal battle that ensued.  Somewhere in there, I learned that Joane had done the design for the adopted poster for the huge gathering of people at the Maycroft Crossing.  Many years later, I brought my poster to one of her art openings and she gladly chatted and signed my poster.  She has woven her life in and out of mine and I have followed her art, life and achievements with great regard and happiness.
 
I truly enjoyed visiting with her again tonight and seeing another woman who has influenced me and my figure drawing, Bev Tosh who is busy working on her work…The War Brides for an exhibit at our National War Museum.  I love that my life has been so touched by strong and talented women!