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.

create! in the East Village

Wendy Lees invited me to explore painting as one of the offerings at the Golden Age Club this week, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Director of a recent initiative to use ‘creation’ as a way to connect a community, create!, Wendy has designed community drop-in art and craft workshops in the East Village.  For an excellent overview on the physical re-invigoration of the area, please see the Take A Tour section at the bottom of the link here.  Click on the wee orange icons.

Present location and with gratitude, a sunny art space on the 2nd floor of the Golden Age Club in East Village awaits you with coffee and cookies too! — at East Village Calgary.

Photo Credit: Michelena Bamford

Photo Credit: Michelena Bamford

I have written a few times about Wendy’s Love Art in Calgary tours and am a huge fan of her passion and her projects, both.  We have become well-bonded through her designs and this is one of those friendships and experiences that I am truly enjoying as one aspect of the gift of retirement.  From one of Wendy’s communications, this…

“My main focus right now (well one of them) is to secure funding for the ongoing work which I am doing with create! I am doing this through soliciting for private donations (large donors) and with a couple of grants through the Canadian Red Cross and the Calgary Foundation. I have a lot of support for this project from Druh Farrell’s office, from the East Village Neighbourhood Association, from the Golden Age Club and from many other organizations and people.”  I also know that Wendy has enjoyed huge support from Nina’s Hear’s My Soul Cafe, #107 535 – 8th Ave SE.

While I need to tighten up the facilitation of materials and the clarity as I speak about the technical aspects of colour, I think that the experience of working with such a diverse and interested group was wonderful.  Parts of the activity were specific and controlled and others may have been too open-ended.  I’m reflecting on all of it.  The truth is, it’s important  that each person pick up something new to mull over…and it’s also so important for me to learn something so that I might grow.  What Wendy is doing is such a blessing for all of us.

P1140705 P1140706 P1140707 P1140708 P1140709 P1140710 P1140712 P1140713 P1140714Thanks to friend,Michelena of Wolf Willow Studio (workshop leader and inventor of wonderful things) for bringing a youthful gaggle along with her and buying us a ‘mother load’ of fries to celebrate afterwards at Gina’s in the Golden Age Club.


“When you start getting people’s creative juices going, then they start making creative solutions to other problems.”


Something Fishy

Gentrification in any fast-growing urban center is a notion to be reckoned with.  Some of my readers will have noticed that there have not been any recent Gorilla House LIVE ART posts.  I have to tell you, on the wheelings-and-dealings behind the decisions/negotiations/done deals, I have no insights.  I only know the outcome and how the outcome impacts many.  I especially know how this ‘move’ impacts me.

The short-of-it is that Gorilla House, the building AND the community, was over run by development and its central and convenient location is being transformed into a sushi restaurant.  Yes, indeedy, another Calgary restaurant!

From what I can tell, the inaugural battle was held on July 17, 2012.  Its archive can be viewed on YouTube and its impact will be felt for years to come, at least in the sense that the Gorilla House experience was transformative for individuals, whether they were/are artists or observers.  It was just a really nice shift.  The experience was NOT pure-perfection, but it was inspiring.

I remember well before July 17, Gorilla House founder, Rich Theroux was bandying back and forth with me in various message boxes about his vision for live art battles.  I would have to say that I didn’t initially understand his concept, but I WAS supportive and excited for him in regards to his vision.  His enthusiasm was incredible and he was completely accepting of my wait-and-see attitude and I hope that he knew always that I had his back.  I consider it an honour that he respected my thoughts and feedback as he moved through this process.

Let me introduce you to Rich.  He is an artist, teacher and friend.  He had a vision and it was the Gorilla House.  Like a mat, it was pulled out from under him.  Now there are ‘rumblings’ of a shift.  In the meantime, a network of new artists and friends are also shifting.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Rich TherouxI considered introducing my readers to the personalities that came into play during the experience that was Gorilla House LIVE ART…but then there were too many to write about and I wouldn’t want to leave a single person out.  We grew to love one another by sharing this really unique experience.  Art bound us, but oh, it was so much more.  I would never have met such a caring bunch of people had I not spent time creating two-hour paintings for such a sustained period of time.  I often wondered how I would have met these people had it not been for ‘the house’.  There were people from every ‘walk’ of life, each a treasure, each a teacher, each a creative and each a friend.

I’m going to especially miss this lady, Jennifer Stinson.  She is pretty much the kindest person you could ever run into.  If I could, I parked my easel up against her lawn chair.  Of the lawn chair and this photograph, she writes.

“This was the very first night that I came to Gorilla House, Aug 22, 2012. I can’t believe there was a photo of it. Yes Kath, it started out in a GH Red Dot album!

After this I began bringing a camp chair to sit on. Eventually, Rich offered my chair a home in the vault so I wasn’t hauling it back and forth weekly. Eventually this chair disintegrated from use… so this week Rich sent me home with three replacements. Gorilla House was like that. Anything good you brought, you took back threefold.”

I wish Jenn many blessings and can never truly tell her what her friendship has meant to me.

Jennifer Stinson: Photo Credit Red Dot Photography

Jennifer Stinson: Photo Credit Red Dot Photography

People came and went, some for a very short blip of time and others for the long haul.  It didn’t matter which.  Each individual was a part of what made it gel and caused me to return again and again.  There are people who will remain forever-friends and I am grateful for each of you.

Because of Wednesday painting, I created all of these paintings and more.  Over a year, I found the ‘gorilla’ in myself.

Photo Credit: Red Dot Photography

Photo Credit: Red Dot Photography

The original video was filmed By: Vincent Varga and Andy Szarka

Edited By: Vincent Varga

Finding a Poem For Katie Ohe

I’ve tried to write about Katie three times.  Each time, I got to a point and had to stop.  Today, I begin to write again.

As I reflect back on things that Katie said and then the unspoken power of her sculpture, I am left somehow overwhelmed.  It seems to me that she is some version of a fireball.  She is compacted energy that has been burning deeply for a lifetime and in connection with that light, I was left in awe.  So, once in awe, I had to go looking for a poem.

No luck. I found no poem for Katie Ohe.  That, in itself, is unbelievable. However, the act of looking for a poem caused me to sit for most of that particular afternoon, reading poetry, and that can’t be all bad.

After some days…more than a week…I found this.  It describes something of Katie Ohe.

A short version, my version, of one of Katie’s stories (and really, you need Katie to tell YOU her story…nothing compares).

Katie’s Dad gave Katie and her brother each a potato to peel.  Katie created a long spiral of peel…I think she said that she tried to peel the entire potato in a single peel.  (Her brother doesn’t even remember this, but Katie does.)  Her father then attached the end of her peel to a pin or a needle, suspended it by a string and then set the peel to spinning.  This image has stuck with her all of these years. (The metaphor…the image of the twirling potato peel offered up in this narrative, illuminated some very basic principles of Katie’s work…at least I think so!)

Katie spoke of Weeping Bees and Typhoon…and so much more and shared her studio space with us.  I was in awe the entire time.  I was left speechless.

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Katie Ohe IS a poem.

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.


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)


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.

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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.

Love Art in Calgary: Axis Contemporary Art and The Kite Unfurls!

Director, Rob Mabee, is warm, good humoured and smart!  Stepping into the intimate world of Axis Contemporary Art Gallery is like stepping into a place of discovery.  Welcome to explore and ask questions, a person can always learn things from Rob.  As Art Central winds down in its vibrant life and its unique vision, Axis continues to open its doors and educate the public.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to share in another unique opportunity for the sake of loving art!  Thanks, Rob.

On this visit, there were a couple of things I really noticed and enjoyed.  Norah Borden’s piece, The Kite Unfurls was beautiful!  I captured a quick photo of my friend, Lauraine, in front of the piece…for me both the art and the person describe the very same thing.  Tell me if I’m wrong.

P1120952The thing is…on a Love Art in Calgary Tour, we stop midway through the tour and enjoy a lovely lunch together and given that friend, Jennifer, was not there to enjoy a La Fleur, Lauraine stepped in and shared in a celebratory martini with me at Murrieta’s this time around.  Wendy Lees strategically plans the order of our day so that we can walk to the next location.  And this weekend in Calgary, the weather was extraordinary!

P1120916Back to the art…

I enjoyed learning about Lisa Brawn’s work…her technique and subject matter.  As Rob talked about her prolific practice and the pleasure she has in carving, I felt I understood and appreciated the act of making art, through her experience.  I encourage my readers to spend some time exploring her website and reading Lisa’s blog!  Some very ‘yummy’ projects and inspirations are archived there.

P1120924Of course, I am always drawn to one painting in particular when I check out the ‘stuff’ at Axis…that being a painting by Audrey Mabee.  Conversation with Diva  is both full of fun and vibrant with colour.  I like both!

P1120922We were blessed with this time together…rich…full of conversation…and saturated with wonderful art!

P1120937The Kite Unfurls!  A tremendous celebration of art and human interest!


Ok…so I’ve been asked, “What is Wreck City?”

An answer…

This, directly from the brochure that seems to be circulating around and a comprehensive website that’s been an ongoing site for updates, from the concept’s inception.

P1100652 P1100653 P1100654 P1100655Wreck City: An Epilogue for 809 is a community-based art experiment transforming 9 houses, 3 garages and a greenhouse scheduled for demolition into temporary art, installation and performance spaces.  The biggest project of its type in the history of Calgary (perhaps even all of Canada), eight artist-curators have invited 100 plus artists, musicians and performers to participate.  Artist participants will be free to radically alter the architecture of entire houses, re-shaping the homes using materials from the houses themselves, without need for repair at the end of the project.  This newly formed community of artists intends to produce a neighbourhood of magical and critically-engaging spaces, made possible only by the freedom of working inside houses soon to be destroyed.

Instigated as an epilogue for 809 Gallery, one of Calgary’s influential garage galleries (scheduled for demolition with the rest of the homes), Wreck City is a swan song for the history of the neighbourhood, a playful comment on Calgary’s demolition addiction and an opportunity to cultivate a new community of artists amidst the rubble of an entire block of houses.  Wreck City will be open to the public from April 19, 27, 2012.  It is located between 621 and 823 5th Ave. NW.

Excellent publicity has been coming out about the project…a well written piece by Julia Williams appeared in Avenue Magazine.

Gorilla House LIVE ART

This morning I wrote a quick post about an event I attended at the John Snow House.  Some other remarkable stuff is happening in ‘our town’!  Art is coming to life!  That’s right!  LIVE ART!

Rich Theroux, along with some like-minded artist-friends have seen a vision come into being this summer,  the Gorilla House!  I think that ‘what it is’ seems to be evolving and based on this recent video of last week’s event, people are lovin’ it!  The concept is that ‘the process’ of making art is honoured as much as the ‘art’…a notion that any artist will speak about, if you happen to back one into a corner and chat for a short while.

Art battles are waged based on themes selected from wee boxes at the beginning of the evening.  People mingle…observers become participants in the process and at the conclusion, a relaxed and informal auction is held.  Great things are happening in our arts community!  Congratulations, Rich!  Thank you for bringing something ‘magical’ to Calgary!

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them. Jeff Jarvis