28 March 2017

PHOTO FESTIVAL CAPTURES VANCOUVER

Luke Potter, "Art Classroom," 2016, composite photograph. Potter's project, "Silence in Schools," is showing at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art in North Vancouver until April 12.

COVER STORY

Photo Festival Captures Vancouver

Vancouver’s annual Capture Photography Festival, a citywide celebration of lens-based art that involves over 70 galleries, institutions and public places, kicks off April 1. Now in its fourth year, the 2017 edition marks a month of firsts and expansion. Fresh this year is a non-juried open program that shows new and upcoming artists. It complements the juried program, which received 50 submissions from regional galleries and their artists. Thirty were selected. “It was really about the photos, the concept, the statement and the artist’s practice,” festival director Meredith Preuss says about the juried program. “We looked at something that had a strong voice and a sense of purpose. The open program is an opportunity for people who maybe don’t have representation or don’t have an opportunity to show in those kinds of spaces. A lot will choose to show in less conventional spaces, whether that’s a coffee shop or a studio or some kind of flex space. That’s the kind of venues we’re starting to see come out of the open program.” While video continues to be important, today’s artists are embracing all kinds of media, says Preuss. “There’s a really exciting emerging scene that is taking a more cross-disciplinary approach to photography,” she says. “Rather than thinking about themselves as strictly photographers, today’s artists encompass photography, but also writing, painting, sculpture or installation. Capture showcases the lens-based aspect of their practice, but in a larger context of what they’re doing.”  More ►
– John Thomson

Corri-Lynn Tetz, "Tip," 2016, oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

FIVE THINGS

Nature, Nudes and Spirituality

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Corri-Lynn Tetz offers art made  in three countries in Diviners, a Calgary exhibition that brings together nature, nudes and spiritual communion in washed-out oil paintings that suggest both ethereal mysticism and embodied reality. Tetz completed the works on display at the Jarvis Hall Gallery until April 13 during two recent residencies – one on the Swedish island of Gotland and the other in Vermont – as well as at home in Montreal, where she has lived for the last 12 years. The naked body – both male and female – features prominently in much of her recent work. Although executed in a sketchy style, her nudes have a gestural surety that traces back to her interest in realism as a young art student in Red Deer, Alta. She ventured through abstraction, then back to the figure as she started to explore spirituality as a theme in her artwork during graduate school at Concordia University, where she earned a Master’s degree in 2015. Tetz, raised in an evangelical Christian tradition she ultimately rejected, says she is fascinated by people who seek religious experience not through concepts of God but via their own bodily experiences. Much in her recent paintings suggests nature worship, even naturism, with young naked people wading or perched on rocky outcrops, as in her 2016 painting, Tip, which she completed in Vermont. Nudity gives the images a timeless quality, she says. “It’s not about sexuality, but about vulnerability.” Tetz, who will be part of a two-person show with Rosalind Breen in June at Winnipeg’s Lisa Kehler Art + Projects, is vague about her process, saying she no longer plots out each move and has adopted a more intuitive approach. The excitement comes, she says, when she relinquishes control. “I’ll look at a painting, sometimes, that I’ve done, and I’ll be like: ‘How did I do that?’” More Images ►
– Portia Priegert

Ward Schell, "Forest Bridge," 2017, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 60"

FIVE THINGS

Fallen Logs and Failing Limbs

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For as long as he’s been an artist, Ward Schell has painted outdoor scenes. He looks down to the ground, ignoring the prairie landscape tradition of big skies and distant horizons, often immersing himself in the tangled undergrowth, rotting stumps and mossy rocks of the forest floor. Over some three decades, with uncommon dedication to this singular approach, he has painted with decisive representation. It’s not quite photorealism: his images are precise, certainly, with a careful rendering of texture and light, yet they eschew the sharp-edged exactitude of the camera lens. Among the paintings in his show, Overgrowth, on view at the Slate Fine Art Gallery in Regina until April 22, is Forest Bridge, which juxtaposes the base of a massive tree and a smaller fallen log, both mottled with lichens. Does the painting show a dead stump or a tree that still holds life? The image is ambiguous on that point, even as leafy sprigs catch the light in the mossy foreground, another reminder of the cycle of life. Schell painted this work at his Moose Jaw home based on sketches and photographs he took in the woods north of Prince Albert on Emma Lake’s Fairy Island, a place where one of his favourite painters, the late Ernest Lindner, lived and worked. Lindner’s studio, a simple spruce-log cabin, is now a provincial heritage site. Forest Bridge pays homage to Lindner, an artist who also found inspiration in the woods. Like all of Schell’s forest paintings, it has what he calls “an edge of darkness.” He talks of the fear, or perhaps it’s the respect, a prairie boy feels in the confined space of a forest – a sentiment that becomes even more poignant when he mentions that he has lost much of the strength and sensation in his left arm – the one he uses to paint – due to multiple sclerosis. More ►
– Portia Priegert

Jude Griebel, "Floater," 2016, resin, wood and oil paint, 21" x 30" x 19.5"

FIVE THINGS

Jude Griebel: Crafting Ruin

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There aren’t many shows you can take children to, but Crafting Ruin, at dc3 Art Projects in Edmonton, is one of them. Kids love a gallery populated with creepy, google-eyed cartoonish characters that seemingly writhe and wriggle on skinny legs. There’s plenty of storybook narrative here too. For instance, in Billow, a puffy figure emerges in the form of smoke. It swells and rises from the chimney of a miniature building with a bright red roof and elfin doors and windows. Yet, this playful show by Jude Griebel, a 2014 MFA graduate from Montreal’s Concordia University who is quickly garnering national and international exposure, is deceptive. The show, which runs to April 15, carries dark poetic metaphors that only adults can appreciate. Griebel, who splits his time between New York and the small Alberta town of Sundre, arranges it as a formal sculpture garden complete with an ornate fountain that spews brown water into a filthy pool filled with pop cans. Sculptures on plinths built from concrete blocks surround this satirical scene; far from being traditional seductive nudes, they are oily black or sickly green humanoid figures that seem to squirm as a bulldozer or excavator rips into their bodies. More ►
– Agnieszka Matjeko

Paul Chui, "North Series #4," 2013, ink and pigment on paper. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery.

FIVE THINGS

Hong Kong Artists in Vancouver

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A wave of immigrants arrived in Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s as Hong Kong’s sovereignty reverted from Britain back to China. These newcomers included well-known artists with practices that, at times, mingled Eastern and Western influences or developed new tropes altogether. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s exhibition, Pacific Crossings: Hong Kong Artists in Vancouver, on view until May 28, examines the work of four of these artists: David Lam, Paul Chui, Carrie Koo and Josh Hon. Although famous in Hong Kong, they remain relatively unknown in Canadian art circles. The exhibition is loosely divided into two time periods – art in Hong Kong during the 1960s and 1970s, under the heading East or West, and during the 1980s, under Neither East nor West. Chui and Koo fall into the earlier period, when Hong Kong’s arts community was less developed. Much of the art produced then reflected the mingling of Eastern and Western influences. Chui studied traditional Chinese ink painting in primary school. After his first solo show in 1958, he joined the Circle Group, an early avant-garde art collective in Hong Kong, and began experimenting with Western ideas about modernist sculpture and mixed-media work. This Western influence can be seen in Stain #6, a 1977 painting with a central hole from which a streak of glistening paint streams down. It looks much like the tarnished mark a water leak leaves on the side of a building or even a stylized waterfall cascading through a mountain’s hanging wall. After the 1980s, Chui’s work became more traditional, as evidenced in his 2013 piece, North Series #4More ►
– Beverly Cramp

Yvonne Mullock with the Chinook Guild of Fibre Arts, Calgary, "Hit & Miss," 2014, recycled wool, cotton and burlap, hooked, 31” x 116”

FIVE THINGS

Hooked on Rugs

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Rug hooking has a long history in Canada. Home Economics: 150 Years of Canadian Hooked Rugs, on view at the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary until April 8, unravels the craft’s story from its humble origins in pioneer homesteads. Rug making offered women a creative outlet with designs that typically incorporated animals, flowers, landscapes and geometric patterns, while also serving a practical need by covering the floorboards in an era before central heating. Rugs were also sold, helping to sustain rural families. Initially made on linen with homespun wool, they became more widespread with the introduction of burlap in the 1850s. Women used a metal hook to pull strips of cloth through the loosely woven burlap, which was stretched across a wood hoop or frame. Even someone as notable as Emily Carr helped make ends meet by hooking rugs, often incorporating First Nations’ motifs. Rug hooking saw a resurgence in the last half of the 20th century as feminism renewed interest in traditional craft. Contemporary artists like Calgary’s Yvonne Mullock, who created Hit and Miss in 2014 with the Chinook Guild of Fibre Arts, treat rug hooking as a community-based social practice. Shauna McCabe, executive director of the Textile Museum of Canada, which organized the show, says older rugs, which were often passed down through families as valued heirlooms, illustrate social history, craft innovations and social enterprise. “Connecting past to present, these impulses continue to inform and inspire today’s artists and craftspeople whose endeavours are as tied to current local and global influences as they are to the tradition of rug hooking itself.” More Images ►

 

Adad Hannah, "The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) 7," 2016, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist

NEWS ROUNDUP

Shipwreck Helps Mark Canada 150

Adad Hannah went to Senegal last year to remake the famous Romantic painting, The Raft of the Medusa, by French artist Théodore Géricault, as a living tableau. Hannah spent five weeks in Saint-Louis, in northwest Senegal, working with a cast of 50 people on a set made from dismantled pirogues, the region’s colourfully painted wooden fishing boats. The piece is now showing as the first instalment of a new three-part series, Artefacts: Contemporary Moving Images, at the Glenbow in Calgary, to help mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. Gericault’s painting, done in 1818-1819, depicts a real-life 1816 shipwreck off the coast of present-day Mauritania, and now hangs at the Louvre. Hannah’s piece will be shown until May 22.

In other news:

  • Students over 18 and anyone under 18 can visit the Art Gallery of Alberta for free, starting today. The change to the Edmonton gallery’s admissions policy is part of its five-year strategic plan.
  • Artists Jessie Buchanan, Evin Collis and Becky Thiessen will travel across Canada in mobile studios housed in metal shipping containers as part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s 150th anniversary project. Buchanan is Anishinabe from Guelph, Ont., while Collis and Thiessen are from Winnipeg.
  • The Alberta Foundation for the Arts received an additional $5 million in the March 16 Alberta budget. The increase gives the foundation a total of $31.6 million for its next fiscal year. There’s no word yet on how the  money will be allocated.
  • The Winnipeg Art Gallery has appointed Julie Nagam and Heather Igloliorte as co-chairs of its new indigenous advisory circle. The circle will advise on exhibitions, education and community outreach at the gallery and its Inuit Art Centre, which is to start construction this year.
  • Liz Wylie has resigned as the curator of the Kelowna Art Gallery effective April 30. She has worked at the gallery since 2007.
  • Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi honoured artists at the fifth annual Lunch for Arts Champions. Awards for cultural leadership were given to Teresa Coulter, Stephane Nouz, Benjamin Ross Hayden and Kris Demeanor.
  • A new award for critical writing and commentary in British Columbia marks the achievements of Max Wyman, one of Canada’s leading cultural commentators.
  •  The Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary has released its catalogue for In the making, a  show about the intersection of craft and emerging digital media that was curated by Diana Sherlock, an instructor at the institution.

MASTHEAD

28 March 2017

Volume 2 Number 7
Copyright 2017

 

Galleries West Digital is an online magazine published every second Tuesday to promote and advance the visual arts. Launched in 2016, it replaces the print version of Galleries West magazine, which covered art and artists in Western Canada for 15 years. Our award-winning website, gallerieswest.ca, the repository for all content, is an open archive of information about the arts in communities large and small throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columba as well as Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

 

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