Katlynn Balderstone and Bret Malcom Smith at the Snelgrove Gallery

 

 

 

Katlynn Balderstone’s BFA show Fantasm

 

Katlynn loves stories. She’s an avid fan of web comics/graphic novels and it shines in her art. Fantasm is a collection of stories, tales, and odd treasures that Katlynn has made into a cohesive series featuring “ghoulies” as the roles. She’s referring to moments and characters in Greek mythology, comic book plots, and video game narratives sometimes cryptically. Fantasm comes from a girl enthralled by fantasy while living in reality. Her “ghoulies” are like Katlynn’s own pokemon that she carries around with her inside her head.

 

Katlynn’s art is a different show for the Snelgrove Gallery. Her work could be categorized as outsider art. Katlynn isn’t trying to create “high art” her monotypes appear simple and childlike. For her monotypes Katlynn uses thin ink in a limited palette to create what appears like a finger painted silkscreen but with wiped away color and some subtle color blends and halftones. There is a playful youthfulness that is effective for her type of storytelling.

 

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Brett Malcom Smith’s BFA show: the Descent

 

Brett Smith has created a series of ethereal abstract photos. the Descent captures ink as it is mixed and pulled into water by gravity that appear to look like Hubble telescope images. Some of these photos look like celestial bodies where the play of light/dark – ink/water could be a birth of a star, nebulas, and stellar pillars (see http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/archive/top100/ to see what I’m talking about). 

 

Bret’s photography show is captivating because he’s able to change the subject entirely: with his cropped images and the natural abstraction people are no longer staring at ink and water but something else. Bret’s images are worth exploring. People look into the clouds and shapes to find meaning deep within themselves… or perhaps searching further for transcendental meaning.

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Stop by the Snelgrove to see the shows! Or meet the artists at the closing reception: Friday, March 28th from 7-10pm

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Corinna Wollf, Kelsey Treen and Jodie Unruh at the Snelgrove

There were three BFA shows at the Snelgrove up this week. The gallery has unity between the shows in that they’re all illustrative paintings that have a narrative feel.

Corinna Wollf’s “Between Worlds”

Corinna has taken an interesting approach to her BFA exhibit. She has created two tetraptychs (five paintings in an organized display) that mirror one another across the gallery. These two tetrptychs represent two worlds that Corinna is living in: the North American Aboriginal and European rooted culture.  During her travels researching Classical and Renaissance art through Italy, Corinna was moved by the Pallata Fountain in Brescia. The fountain was full of cultural value with symbols representing stories and myth. Corinna recreated the components of the fountain as a structure of paintings in her “Living Waters” tetrptych by adding stories and symbols that correspond with her identity. Mirroring “Living Waters” on the opposite wall is “Waters of Life” representing the culture and history of Aboriginal people.

Corinna’s paintings are filled with symbolism containing a multitude of narratives. Listening to Corinna explain her paintings creates an element of oral storytelling that enriches her work. There’s some profound meaning and allusions to events that Corinna explores in her work.

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Kelsey Treen’s “Katabasis”

Kelsey Treen has created a series of paintings dealing with traditional myths conceptualized in a modern/futuristic context. Like Corrina’s work Kelsey has created paintings to communicate a story. She’s dealing with myths from multiple religions but attempts to unite them in her exhibition. I’d like to see more unity between her paintings to further link them together. Something like using similar main colors and accents or recognizable settings/characters would have been interesting.

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Jodie Unruh’s “Creatures”

Recently Jodie Unruh made the switch from painting still-lifes to painting figuration. Her previous experience of still-lifes shines through in her new work. She’s painting figures collected from fashion magazines that appear porcelain and statuesque. It’s all in her lighting as she builds the light and shadows in layers exaggerating the planar quality. Then there’s the subject matter itself: Jodie introduces creatures onto these fashion statues disrupting the intended composition. They become strange and intriguing. Her paintings are of women elegantly keeping their composure despite the hives of bees, coils of serpents, gigantic crabs, or massive spiders that they are coexisting with. She’s turned simple images into strange scenes begging for additional narratives. They could easily be illustrations from a fairy tale or fictional world.

Looking at Jodie’s paintings challenge the viewer: how do you see these strange scenes? Are they still magazine images despite the additions of creepy creatures?  Is there some sort of hierarchy present  ie. are we concerned with the figure foremost and the creature after? Are you as comfortable with painted figures with the presence of these creatures? Personally, I hate spiders and I’m allergic to bees but I love Jodie’s paintings.

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You’ve got the rest of the day to see these shows at the Snelgrove, or drop by the closing reception tonight from 7-9!

 

Andie Nicole Palynchuk “T’works” show at Green Ark

Once again Green Ark Collected Home is displaying some great art in their beautiful furniture/home design space (212 20th St. W https://www.facebook.com/GreenArkCollected).

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This time it’s Andie Nicole’s funky “T’works of Art” paintings. Andie graduated with her BFA show last year and hasn’t stopped painting in her wild style. The paintings showing in “T’works” is a continuation of her BFA exhibit where bodies and scenes are warping and disappearing inside a beautiful/mad world that are exciting to explore.
Her paintings are like a Where’s Waldo? where you initially find something but the more you look into them the more you discover. You’ll see abstracted bodies painted in a classical style amongst pop cartooning and rough Basquiat-like mark making. Her colors are mostly cool, with flashes of bright warm accents that really pop. Andie paints boldly in numerous layers. I’ve had the opportunity to see her works in progress and they undergo a series of metamorphoses. Sometimes the final painting only has clues toward the initial piece but it’s this depth that is truly captivating. Andie has no fear when it comes to painting. You see elements of a bold playfulness as she mixes all kinds painting and mark making methods. Some of her paintings she uses everything but the kitchen sink: acrylic paint, oil paint, pastel, chalk, oil stick, charcoal, and water inks. How she pulls it all together is beyond me, but you feel there is a certain amount of fun experimentation.  These paintings need to be seen in person to be appreciated. ImageImageImage

http://andiepalynchuk.daportfolio.com/

Andie’s reception is Saturday March 15, 7-10pm at Green Ark and are up until April 25th.
Some seriously fun and beautiful work by an up and coming Saskatoon artist.
Come check them out!!

Samantha Braun, Lesley Kerpan, Rhea Lonsdale and Laurissa Nagel at the Snelgorve

This week the Snelgrove Gallery is packed showing 4 BFA students’ exhibitions!

We’ll start with Samantha Braun’s show “Facade”

I don’t know if this is a regular thing that people do but me and my partner go for walks in desirable neighborhoods and talk about houses. We look at them as if they have a personality. It’s like people watching. Some are cozy and cute, others serious, some are bland, others are whacky. We revel in roofs and eaves-troughs, windows and porches, accents and foliage. Samantha must do this too, because she sees her houses as personalities.

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For her show, Samantha has painted a series of small house portraits combined with a wall mounted sculpture of the front of a house. Samantha hints at her subject matter with her title. Facade is not only the word for the front of a house but also how people can put on an act, or appearance. Samantha’s show is both of these meanings. The facade of a house is also like a mask – it’s an appearance to the public, a communication that people respond. In a way when we paint a portrait of a person they are putting on a facade. Is their facial expression/ pose of friendly, elegant, melancholic? When I look at Samantha’s house paintings I think about what kind of person they are, but also who would own the house -because houses can be like dogs, reflecting their owners.

Samantha paints freely and expressively despite their small size. By the most part they are colorful characters with group of seven-esque foliage accents. I particularly enjoy the mix of paint application. Some of her painting is thick and sloppy, sometimes precise, and in some joyful instances so thin that you can see the contrasting under-painting.

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Nest up is Lesley Kerpan’s “Slight Alterations”

Lesley Kerpan is interested in architecture and abstraction. For her multimedia show Lesley takes local and international architectural and slightly alters them to create a reimagined place. Lesley’s show is dominated by three large primary colour paintings. These are her most abstract, as she hints at the buildings architectural features with vague suggestive mark making. The buildings seem to have been once there but washed away from the colored surface, all that is left is memory, dust, and shadows.

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Lesley also has some interesting small works in between her larger paintings. At first appearance they seem to be video stills set into a deep frame. Looking at these local photos you realize peculiarly that inside each there is something moving inside while the rest remains still. Something about this felt ghostlike and creepy.

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Finally Lesley has a few digital paintings that appear velvety. Both are of local places re-imagined and distorted. I liked her choice to do these in black and white, because they had me contemplating memory and losing/distorting memories with time. Leslie created a neat 3D effect by cutting out areas of these and placing them behind or in front of the rest of the picture plane that is best appreciated in person.

Next up is Laurissa Nagel’s show “Men at Work”

Laurissa is a female artist that likes to paint/draw men. In her show, “Men at Work” she analyzes male roles. Laurissa grew up in a small town and since arriving in Saskatoon was shocked at her changing perception of masculinity. Her previous town being a traditional homogenized community of the archetypal man to living in Saskatoon encountering metro-sexuals, stay at home dads, and gay communities. Laurissa’s work looks at a variety of male roles using black and white printmaking that appear to look like charcoal drawings.

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Finally, Rhea Lonsdale’s installation “Collator”

I really love Rhea’s installation. She has a intricate paper cuts that remind me of Ben Hettinga or Ed Pien combined with Jennifer Steinkamp but with an element of interaction. Let me explain: the wall of her paper cut mandala is back projected that is responding to movement inside her space. She has a cleverly hidden webcam that with her programming changes the projection/pattern behind the paper-cut screen depending on activity.

http://instagram.com/p/ldTTD8EA0I/

The mandala is beautiful and mesmerizing as you stare into it and it shifts kaleidoscopically with you. To either sides of her  installation room are screens with paper-cuts over top of them. The screens are distorted enough that they are familiar yet not exactly sure what is going on. It’s beauty amidst technology. The roof is also nice. She has what seems to be a massive tarp with cuts out of it.

Rhea’s work reminds me of something mystical crossed with technological with elements of psychedelia. I often get easily fatigued when looking at new media video/computer works, yet hers has a delicacy that is lovely. It’s a nice little quiet space inside the Snelgrove that you appreciate greater with the more you interact with the space. I only wish it was more and bigger.

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Cynthia Blanchette, Derek Wenning and Danielle Siemens at the Snelgrove

It’s BFA time and the Snelgrove is looking good showing three artists: Cynthia Blanchette, Derek Wenning, and Danielle Siemens.

First up: Cynthia Blanchette’s show “Peckers’ Paradise”

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I am a big fan of Cynthia’s work: fun, cheeky, and they look nice  (there’s also penises!)

Cynthia has continued from her previous work featuring birds. Cynthia’s birds aren’t typical birds that we know, but they are wingless and legless birds that have de-evolved with human contact to become like a retarded dodo bird, in a sense.

Cynthia’s work takes playful jabs at masculinism. Wondering what happened to the male nude and phobia of male genitalia in art, Cynthia brings them back. Her nudes don’t feature glorious specimens by any means, they are skinny and ugly with laughable playful penises. Then there’s the birds. Are the peckers you know.. peckers? In some of her paintings the peckers appear to look like a flurry of flying flacid wieners creating a pattern on topographic landscape. Or do these dumb dicks create a living murmuration*, where the sum is greater than the parts?

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Cynthia show is also a dialogue with art heroes Georg Baselitz and Egon Schiele. Cynthia quotes the macho arrogant Baselitz “Women don’t paint well, it’s a fact” then in the cheesiest cheeky way she adds a Wayne Gretzky quote for women to keep trying “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” Cynthia also indirectly quotes a Baselitz line in her paintings that women use too much pink by including pink in all of her paintings.

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Cynthias work is fun to look at and a treat to analyze as she jokingly pokes fun at the male dominated art world circle jerk.

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(*see this video if you want a murmuration to blow your mind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRNqhi2ka9k)

Next up Derek Wenning’s show “Two and One”

Derek is kind of an anti-art artist. He trolls the institution, art speak, and capital “A”art, while celebrating his love of low brow comic/ animation art. Looking at his show, it looks like a rough storyboard into an epic graphic novel. There’s hints of a journey and heroism amidst strange fantasy backgrounds and talking trees. There’s a mix of drawings, paintings and computer generated images (virtual painting?) that blends the line. Does it matter how these things are created or just the final image? Most of his work is colorful and narrative except for his stark black and white “Mean Tree” woodcuts with speech bubbles that Derek uses to write random offensive remarks.

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Derek has some bizarre stories in his head that he’s only showing us glimpses of with self deprecating style.

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Lastly there is Danielle Siemens’ “Run”

Danielle has painted a series of people running, the question is “are they running to or from something.” Running is funny. Nowadays running has been neutered. It’s become a fad with terrible philosophical commercials talking about pain and glory. Then there are the run clubs where healthy dorky people dress up together in the shortest of shorts OR spandex and run as a group. And those nutrient gels they eat? Ugh, I’d rather do anything else.

But the essence of running is cool. It’s a weapon and a defense; the tool of the hunter and the hunted. Danielle paints ambiguous images of runners so that you might ask why these people are running.

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Drop by the Snelgrove Gallery on campus Friday night, March 7th,  for the closing receptions!