Untitled (New Visions): Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot at AKA Gallery

The last installment of my Three Gallery Shows You Need to See in YXE is Untitled (New Visions) by Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot, curated by Tarin Hughes.
(* if you want to see it in person you need to act fast, it’s last day is Feb 28th!)

I really like this show but it’s kind of hard to talk about. A mystique. Groat’s and Hobot’s work weave together throughout the gallery in a quiet dialogue with each other. While observing this show I get the feeling of a quiet mysticism. The mood in the gallery feels stark, peaceful and profound. The silence is heavy. The gallery is made up of a collection of objects and artworks that all contain feeling / memory or imagination / association. Quite an interesting thing to let your mind loosen a bit and let these objects (in some cases artifacts) speak to you as they are speaking to each other. Maggie Groat functions like an artist shaman as she collects and organizes objects and collages that carry spiritual weight and memory while pulling to the references to natural and supernatural world. Barbara Hobot creates beautiful objects that appear like found oddities from the natural world. Lots of her work looks likes tree bark, but peculiarly curved, plastic and hand painted. By mixing Groat’s found objects and Hobot’s made objects the exhibition as a whole shifts between real and imaginary as the viewer grasps faint traces of distant memories and associations.

Curator Tarin Hughes explains that the show was inspired by Elaine Scarry’s Imaginary Flowers: Perceptual Mimesis (Particularly Delphinium) where she states that the presence of a flower triggers dreams, ghosts of recognition, and memories. Tarin delivered with this show as the presence of the objects carry meaning and associations in reality, memory and your imagination. Engaging with this show is almost like chasing the curious feeling of deja vu.

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There’s a closing talk by curator Tarin Hughes Saturday at 2pm. Try and check this show out if you have the chance!

IN THE MAKING at College Art Galleries, U of S Campus

In this next segment of 3 Gallery Shows You Need to See in YXE we are looking at In the Making at the College Art Galleries.

In my opinion, the College Art Galleries (located in the ground floor and 1st floor of the Admin Building on the U of S campus) have repeatedly and secretly been the best gallery shows in Saskatoon. Strangely, the College Galleries are often overlooked by the general public. If you appreciate art, In the Making needs to be seen.

Organized by Alberta College of Art + Design as an alumni show, the curator Diana Sherlock took a different approach. Rather than a broad survey of ACAD alumni, Sherlock looked at artists that have practices where their craft is merging with digital media/ technology. As an artist, I think about this all the time: is what I’m doing completely outdated? Should I be using technology to assist my process and/or be tied to the product? Does using technology (over completely handmade/ analogue) affect the worth of art? All of this is completely relevant and pretty interesting. Despite these art philosophy questions I ask myself, there are some really beautiful and intriguing work to check out.

Upon entering the lower gallery you are greeted with Dean Drever’s “Pass the Hat” which is a stack of laser cut papers to resemble a totem. To my recollection of Diana Sherlock’s curator talk, Dean Drever first made the totem out of wood, 3D photographed it and entered that data into the program that laser cut thousands of individual pieces of paper that were stacked to create this piece.

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Along the wall on a shelf you’ll see a 10 piece china set Handle Series by Jenna Stanton. These were created by a 3D printed cast with the lips / edging hand finished. These porcelain vessels look perfectly made by a combination of machine and human hand.

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Perhaps the most visually captivating sculpture is Brendan McGillicuddy’s Overtone. McGillicuddy designed this work using computer modelling software with the intent of using CNC machinery to mechanically produce it, but found that the machine couldn’t make it to his finishing standards. So he hand milled it, which is pretty amazing (I also like the custom made base that it rests on)

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There’s a small room in the back of the gallery with a blue lit globe of liquid, Here in this room is a bit of fun. The dark room with the blue light gives a cool ambient mood and you’ll soon discover that the globe reacts to sound. Every sound made in the room is echoed in the globe by bubbles in the liquid. While I was viewing it, there were small children having a blast clapping, talking fast and yodelling to the globe. One creative boy laid under the globe and stared straight into it explaining that he felt like he was being abducted by aliens! Make sure you break typical gallery conduct and have some fun interactions with this piece.

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I was captivated with a picture that appeared to look like a modern minimalist painting on a super glossy finish. The edges of the white lines in the work were intriguing to me. No wonder, it wasn’t a painting but photo.

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^Ward Bastian was a glass blower that used photography to document his work. He fell for the images he made and began to create special glass works for the purpose of his photography practice. What you see here is Highlights 02 which is light reflecting off of black glass in a black room. Pretty cool stuff.

Many of the works in this show beg you to ask, “is the process more important than the product?”
For most of these works the products are amazing and by learning about the process they gain additional worth. There are some in this exhibition that are process driven.

For instance, the work of Hyang Cho. Hyang Cho listened to audio English translated version of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. And what a trial! While listening to the audio-book she attempted to transcribe it word for word on a giant scroll of Stonehenge paper until she ran out of room (over 6 times!). Hyang Cho tested herself in a performance aspect to become machine-like herself. Though maddening to think about attempting a task like this, there’s something interesting looking at her work compared to the original German version of the book. Does this serve as a document of her recollection of the book and how much is lost from the original version through translating, listening, transcribing.

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It’s difficult to see this from the picture, but the writing is interesting. She kept straight and neat but lots of it is illegible and a form of shorthand. It’s also super long.

I’ve only gone through a few of my favorites. There are still 2/3 of the exhibition worth discovering for yourself.
Up until April 11th, In the Making is a show that you can’t miss!

3 Gallery Shows you Need to See in YXE -Wanuskewin

There’s been a lot of talk these last few weeks from people in Saskatoon, including our city council, expressing concern about Saskatoon not having an art gallery during the period of the Mendel closure and the Remai opening.
(The Mendel is closing its doors June 7th and the Remai is expected to open Summer/Fall 2016 http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/Move+Remai+Modern+more+than+year+away/10757291/story.html)

Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely going to miss the Mendel Art Gallery and I am extremely excited about the Remai Modern Art Gallery; but Saskatoon has other art galleries…and they are awesome. There are currently some great exhibitions at AKA Artists Run Center, U of S College Galleries, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park that you shouldn’t miss.

Today Wanuskewin

Did you know that Wanuskewin has not only one, but two art galleries?

Wally Dion’s show “Polygon” is up in the smaller gallery. You might be familiar with Wally’s previous work “Star Blankets” where he fused technology with tradition by creating star blankets out of computer circuit boards. His new work in “Polygons” is exciting. Polygon can be separated into two areas of study both are sculptural paintings that explore colour and pattern. In one series he cuts and layers colored paper to create work that is fascinating to inspect. They remind me of Frank Stella’s early work but with a twist – loud colours and relief make them optically engaging to view.

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His other work in Polygons are geometric wall sculptures that are a beautiful mix of raw and polished. The frames are raw plywood with a super glossy vibrant painted interior. The sculptures feel modern and fresh while still feeling like they carry references to tradition, Neo Tribal maybe.

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The larger gallery at Wanuskewin is “Eco Indian”  with art by Michael Belmore, Amy Malbeuf, Mary Longman, Tanya Harnett and David Garneau. Stepping into the great hall I was floored, with beautifully tall ceilings and excellent lighting the great hall is the nicest gallery room in Saskatoon. Eco-Indian is a contemporary exhibit challenging Aboriginal stereotypes examining Aboriginal worldviews and environmental relationship in a modern context.

I was captivated immediately by Amy Malbeuf’s huge sculpture. Using a massive apparatus she displays stretched animal skins pulled tight but floating across the far gallery wall 15 feet high by 40 feet long. The animals are native to the plains: beaver, coyote, muskrat, rabbit, fox but have safety vests sewn into them. What does it say? I’m not sure exactly, but I was rethinking our relationship with our natural wildlife. We exist in this place but rarely think about or encounter these animals whose land we have displaced. Yes, immediately I thought about road kill but I also thought about “safety culture” where we are sheltered from and ignorant about wilderness and wildlife.

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David Garneau had a video playing of a native man dressed as a clown washed the oil from a dead owl. Clowns are creepy and circus music is even creepier, but this video was worth watching. An owl is symbolic of wisdom and guidance but has also represented Aboriginal people. The act of washing the slimy oil from an owl is uncomfortable to watch but timely considering Canada’s current political agenda. Oil centered economics and continued growth of the tar sands despite environmental warnings and upheaval about destroying indigenous lands fits into the dialogue of this clown film.

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Michael Belmore has a sculpture of a fawn laying dead on the gallery floor. The fawn is a beautiful piece of work. The clay has a rusted patina on its surface with hints of glowing bronze in the interior. Upon inspection, the fawn is cut into strange segments. Could be about society’s disregard and rude attitude towards nature for hints of profit, I’m not sure. But it’s a piece of beauty.

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There’s sculptures by Mary Longman and photos from Tanya Harnett but I need to leave something to be discovered.

Located just 5 minutes out of the north end of the city, Wanuskewin is totally worth the trip.

It’s Prime Time at the Snelgrove

It’s Prime Time!
How does that enthusiastic phrase feel to you?

I hear the phrase like a jingle from a radio voice
and I feel like drinking a beer.

Come down to the Snelgrove and over analyze a title of a show, sprinkled with nostalgic longings and drink a refreshing cold beer.
Because you’re worth it.

Over the last two weeks the U of S MFA students brought their studios to the Snelgrove Gallery where they set up a process show. The idea is simple: bring something to show what you’ve been working on and maybe also something to work on. In my opinion it works better than just inviting the public into the MFA studios for an evening. Why? Because people might be able to come in and actually watch you work – how NOVEL! This Art takes Process?? Also people can revisit to see progression. ALSO If an artist is involved with installations can actually use a gallery setting (rather than a studio). For me, I’m bad at fixed schedules so I got to visit the show a few times at odd hours to appreciate it. So let’s talk about the show.

The shows organized with each MFA student having a little parcel of gallery to their work. I know that I might sometimes bitch about too much didactic but this show needs SOMETHING. It’s like an inside joke, I’d like to know who is making what but there is no way of knowing. It’s also good to have a little blurb or something for the folks that might just be wandering (wondering) in the gallery. Maybe say where the grad studios are currently situated..about the MFA program..about Process.. ya ok

So the art. As I entered I was greeted by Andrei Fehergyhazi who is doing ink spot/splash/swipe experiments that he’s photographing and to possibly animate (I’m not really sure) Andrei looked like he is working in an art lab and for added effect had a giant monitor at his station playing some of his commercial animation work.

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Alexandra Thiesson was working on some insanely rich and detailed chalk pastel works. It was neat seeing her work, since I could never do that. She had a clean system to eliminate smudges and tiny little dirt devil vacuum for the dust. Alexandra has some crazy patience and love for patterns and fabrics. She also has some serious balls leaving her work sitting on a table unfixed and unwatched in an empty gallery. I might be being a cynic but people are stupid with art, you can’t trust the public to not touch art.

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Corinna Wolf has a large scale drawing that she has been previously been working on in Italy. There’s some European inspired architecture that I’m interested in seeing once completed.
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I think* this might be Robyn Anderson’s work since I knew her previous work has been centered on myths, fairy tales and storytelling. If this turns into a gallery sized diorama  or haunting creepy Tim Burton style environment then I’m excited!

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No idea who made this crazy roll of lace-like papercuts and what exactly will happen from it, but I’m excited
–Please use light and shadow with it!

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I’m not sure who made this giant landscape drawing, but it’s been nice to see how it has changed since my first visit.
Working on a sheet of paper that big would be epic

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Doesn’t look like much (I think her stuff was not fully put out when I visited) but Dana Chisolm’s work sure sounds cool. Repurposing industrial and found materials in her sculptures, she has an intriguing interest in utility and art.

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This last one I’m thinking about. Xiao Hun has made a little installation that looks like the starting of a dining room, I’m not going to talk about it because I want to learn more about what she’s doing.

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OK, so there was a quick glimpse into my take on the MFA Process show “Prime Time”
If you are anywhere close to intrigued like I am, then you should pop in and check it out. The MFA’s will be there to chat and the beer will be cold, and 7-10 is PRIME TIME to visit the Snelgrove Gallery.
Hahaha I had to do it. Check out the show, last chance tomorrow!

Tonight is SILENCE!

~~SILENCE and read this blog post mortal earthlings!~~
Tonight is VASU’s annual silent auction “Silence!” The Snelgrove Gallery is packed to its gills in a salon style manner adorned with a plethora of student art.
What is Silence? It’s a fundraiser for the Visual Art Students’ Union as well as a chance for art students to show and sell some of their creative work they’ve been doing. It’s also a party with drinks, food, and music. People of all shapes and forms can enjoy themselves, bid on art (usually for amazing prices), win door prizes, take photo-booth pics, and revel in everything good.
I’ve also heard someone was bringing a swaddle of lil bity cutie pooty puppy dogs too (*yet to be confirmed)

Some of my favorite student artists are representing their work including: Aralia Maxwell, Yonina Rollack, Jory Simpson, Emily Koelert, Kenton Doupe, Stepanie Mah, Jordan “the Bulge” Bulgis, Michael Tremblay, and Shelby Lechman (there’s many many more to mention but my anorexic fingers are getting tired)

Here’s a little tantalizing treat for your visual tastebuds

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^Kenton Doupe is steppin up his drawing game with his recent crispy clean drawings.

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Shelby Lechmen has been creating these elegant and subtly beautiful monoprints

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Devon Roy put in this massive drawing. Little bit of inner madness, identity crisis thing going on maybe? I dig it!

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Jordan Bulgiss is fine tuning his expressive brushwork, with this sly lookin lady.

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Everyone that is anyone in the Art Department knows who this is. The beloved Snelgrove Gallery Director Marcus Miller of course! Now you can own him!! errrrr.. a painting of him

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Michael Tremblay has these insane drawing/pencil crayon pictures. They are fucking hysterical and totally rad.

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Yonina Rollack has silkscreens and collagraph prints in her excellent graphic style.

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Stephanie Mah’s delicate silkscreen monoprint is sure nice

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Jory Simpsons got his silk screen technique dialed in.

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^It wouldn’t be Silence without a Lego sculpture from Terry! He’s riffing on University politics with this re-imagining of the U of S campus.

OK that’s enough of teaser photos. I’ve purposely left out some of my other favorites so that you have to come down to Silence to see if for yourself. Tonight Dec.5th, 7-10!

“Self Same” Maia Stark’s MFA show

Maia Stark has had her MFA show “Self Same” up at the Snelgrove Gallery AND TODAY IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CHECK IT OUT IN PERSON!!
but I guess if you can’t see it live you can at least read about it online.

ok?

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with pink lately (or the last year!) so I was excited when I walked into the gallery to see this.

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A huge pink title wall!!
What’s with pink? It’s a crazy color. It’s more than being girlie, pink is extreme on the eye. It’s really GROSS and that’s why I like it!
So from this pink wall, I was intrigued “is there something gross in this exhibit??” (more of this later on)

Maia’s exhibit is dominated by some large oil paintings with some smaller mixed media and drawings.

You’ll probably find this out, but I’ll just say it: Maia is a twin. She has a twin sister that I often confuse with her, Cassandra.

How do you feel about twins? Some people are a bit freaked out by them, some might think they are weird or perhaps even tricksters. As a non-twins, they are a bit of a mystery. I’ve read psychology studies that have spoken about mental connections between twins. They’ve been known to share physical symptoms as well as each others depression and pain. Society through the ages have shared my fascination with twins. There’s myths and stories regarding twins in many cultures.

Maia is looking at her personal story of being a twin with some mythology mixed in.

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Light boxes are cool. Maia has a series of three layered drawings that are quite beautiful. I love looking through the layers and appreciating the nuances.

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While most of her work includes two people. Maia has some photographic work that duplicates herself and in another combines her and her sister through collage. Her double exposure photo is really cool, with two heads mind merging. Her collage has Maia creating hybrids of herself and her sister by collaging pieces of the their faces together.

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Ok, so back to me wondering if there was anything gross in the exhibition. There is some cryptic gross elements to some of Maia’s painting. There seems to be a reoccurring skin condition in most of them. I’m intrigued and would like to know why!

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Why are we fascinated with twins? I think non-twins are really missing out. With the risk of sounding cheezy they have a “soul friend” that have a deeper understanding of each other than anyone else. A twin without a twin feels so alone… is that the way I feel all the time?

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Make sure to come visit the Snelgrove tonight for Maia’s reception! 7-9 with drinks and snacks.
We can talk about twins and stuff!

Pamela Ollenberger’s “Many Feathers Flock Together: A Celebration of T-Bird”

This week at the Snelgrove is Pam Ollenberger’s MFA show “Many Feathers Flock Together”

Her work is a reflection and celebration of fond memories when Pam worked as a camp counselor at Camp Thunderbird, a camp for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Pam’s show looks awesome in the gallery. Her paintings are massive, colorful explorations of memory, where Pam uses a lot of different painting materials and techniques. With the lights being dim and calm the bright crayola colors seem to glow and jump out of her paintings. Each painting also has a sophisticated black frame. I don’t know if it was just me, but I really noticed the gallery floor during Pam’s exhibition. It could have been freshly waxed and buffed, but the bright rich colors of Pam’s paintings spilled out and reflected onto and activated the floor of the gallery.

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Pam’s paintings gave me a load of feelings of childhood nostalgia. I went back to my own memories of summer camps as a kid. Allow me to reflect, summer camps are something sincerely special. The week (or two week) span of a summer camps feels as if it’s something SO EPIC. I remember coming out of summer camp and feeling like it was a month or two because the experiences were so rich and concentrated. Friendships were made, crushes formed, lessons learned, and camp counselors were always heroes. OK reflection over, sorry If you didn’t do summer camps as a kid.

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My favorite paintings of Pam’s were here photo-transfer / painting collages.
The source imagery for these if pretty neat. Pam gave out disposable cameras to campers to document their day as they want you to see it. Her massive paintings look at little like a Rauschenberg without the pop culture imagery. There’s a lot going on in them so you can spend some time exploring the imagery. Pam also has painted over areas both additively and reductively.

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Many of Pam’s paintings have recognizable elements with hints of an inner story. I’m sure that they have loads of meaning once dissected, or with Pam’s help.

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Come down to the Snelgrove to see Pam’s massive paintings for yourself!
ORRR come for a drink and snacks at the reception Friday evening! Cya at the Snelgrove