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 As an artist, I think about this all the time: is what I’m doing completely outdated?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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


^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.

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!


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

IMG_2238 IMG_2239

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!


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?


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!

Jessica Sukut, Kaja Coleman and Edna Oleksyn at the Snelgrove

It’s the end of the term 2 on campus and the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery is seeing the last of the BFA shows of the year. This week we have Jessica Sukut, Kaja Coleman, and Edna Oleksyn showing their BFA exhibitions.

Jessica Sukut’s “Reconstruction”

Jessica’s theme of her BFA show dwells on home and memory. Home is a great idea woth thinking about. Your home is your dwelling that keeps you safe, warm and comforted. You shape your home with colors, decorations and furnishings giving it a personality and feel that might create an emotional response. You spend so much time in your various homes that they might seem organic and alive, like an extension of the people that live there. Our homes are part of who we are.

Jessica looks at her memories of her home creating paintings that look like half built mental landscapes. I remember my previous homes, yet some details are a bit hazy and I’m sure if I spoke to one of my brothers we would have different recollections. You can see this in Jessica’s work. Her paintings are surreal toeing the line between dream and reality. Her paintings look like they’re from the head of an undecided architect: to do this she uses painters tape, mixes hard lines and sketched lines, strange vivid colors on top of solemn darks and greys, and -my favorite part- some unnatural physics. Jessica has some really cool work. There are some good layers that make them enjoyable to explore. She masks and weaves her over layers and under layers beautifully so that you question which is which. Which brings me back to the content. Is her work with painting over layers and leaving under layers go back to her treatment of memory? Do we have actual real memory (underlayer) that exists in some places but the rest of the details we paint with our own invented memories (filling the gaps with an over layer?) Hmmm. Good stuff

Some elements reminded me of buildings in a virtual world, like 2nd life. Things appear to look normal but other elements are skewed, unnatural hyper colored, and a bit strange; reminding you that it’s an imagined landscape


^aren’t they great?.

Kaja Coleman’s “A Matter of Material”

Kaja has a series of large scale mixed media drawings of X-rays. She became fascinated with X-rays after her son was diagnosed with a condition Osteogenesis Imperfecta that effects bone strength and elasticity of tissues. X-rays are fascinating: they show what we don’t see. They also create images that tricks the eye, the hardest densest materials -bones- appear light and to be floating. Just as you might wonder how an X-ray creates an image, you might wonder how Kaja does. She’s got huge drawing that she uses numerous materials. The paintings are clean but have a life history evident in the mark making, texture and materials that she uses. There’s cheese cloth in some of them that instantly reminds me of gauze, casts, and surgical procedures. She uses wax in some of her drawings, reminding me of sculpting and bones. Her materiality speaks to you.

Then there’s interpreting these drawings. It takes a skilled physician or specialist to properly read an X-ray. How does a gallery visitor read these drawings of X rays? First do they see them as X rays: discovering the unseen bones and making an assumption about the life/health of the person. Or do they see them as drawings: exploring the materials, expressive marks, maybe footprint -a history of the artist.


Edna Oleksyn’s “Transition”

From her paintings you can tell that Edna loves her family and nature. There’s the things you see right away. She’s surrounded by family love, there’s the painting Family Tree that has three generations together around a tree, and other familial portraits. Edna also has some love for the outdoors as she paints forests in all seasons.

But I think the trees in her paintings are her family and are a metaphor for the human life cycle. There’s a painting of horticulturists attending to and nurturing saplings in a tree nursery. There’s the beauty of trees in all seasons despite outward appearance of snow, and fall. There’s a tree roots anchored and clinging to a shore line despite threats of erosion. Then you think about family and you see her best paintings of new growth amidst old growth forest. You have some hope that after your elders are gone, they will live on through their grandchildren. There’s a broken tree, with new trees growing around it and a beautiful sun glowing in the distance. Yes, life might change, but things move on. These paintings are hopeful and are painted with love.


the reception is Friday night, come celebrate the end of term with a drink and some art!!

This week at the Snelgrove: Raene Poisson, Kayla Prive and Kendall Brandt

3 more BFA shows are up at the Snelgrove this week, all very different from one another.

Raene Poisson’s “Clouds N’ Shit”

Oh Saskatchewan. A place where flat prairie horizons are engulfed by the massive sky. There’s sky evvvvvveryyyyyywheeeeeeere.
Sometimes there’s clouds and most of us like to watch them. While watching clouds roll over the prairie, it can be fun to imagine the clouds as animals and shapes. Raene Poisson definitely likes to to watch the clouds. She’s taken a slight departure from the usual prairie landscape painter and painted exaggerated, imaginative, fantasy clouds in big vivid colors. Her clouds are big purple monsters, pink sheets and shape shifting bubbling goop.

Raene has an interesting approach to color in her paintings. Her skies are usually dark and slightly ominous, sometimes with streaks of bright sun breaking through the darkness. She has a thing for purples and pinks in her clouds that really makes them stand out in the dark skies. Then there’s the gold accents and metallic interference gels that really capture and move light through her paintings.

What are these about? Is there a message in her use of colors? Maybe they’re about imagination (clouds) and hope (sunlight) as they push through the despairing dark skies. .. Or maybe it’s Raene just playing around making Clouds N’ Shit.



^this one has a Schnabel feel to it as she glued on broken cups and plates to the surface.


Kayle Prive’s “A Look and a Listen”

Music and Art have been Kayla’s companions since her early childhood memories of listening to music with her crayola crayons. Kayla’s show merges music with visual art as she has created multi-media works of art that accompany specific songs. She’s even included a handful of mp3 players for gallery goers to listen to the songs as they explore her artworks.Some of her paintings are very literal, others take some teasing out.
Her memories of crayola are evident in her handling of color. Kayla’s show is an explosion of color that made me want to taste the rainbow and have a candy fix (conveniently, she included cotton-candy lollipops for the taking beside her guest book). Her paintings look like surreal, bubblegum pop, illustrations that are laden with symbols. I felt a bit of 70’s nostalgia, as I was reminded of trippy concert posters and The Beatles Yellow Submarine music video. Kayla might be an inner flower child. Kayla show has a lot of experimentation with media as he mixes in numerous objects and peculiar materials into her portrait scenes.





Kendall Brandt’s “Assemblage”

Kendall’s Brandt has an interesting painting/drawing BFA show that sticks out from the other two shows in the Snelgrove. Kendall’s work isn’t light and easy, and he’s using a more subdued natural palette.

Kendall has paintings and drawings of bodies and people emerging from or disappearing into a fog. Some details in his paintings are beautiful, lush and crisp while other parts are hazy and unfocused. There’s a huge feeling of unknown and a tinge of angst as the figures blur and disappear into their surroundings. It’s hard discerning what is going on because they are strange scenes of certain beauty but also some potent ugliness. Is he trying to mess with us? His figuration is really well done and pleasing to see and then he blurs them, has them disappear, or has them do something strange that makes you question yourself and how you are reading the image.

Then amongst these strange scenes there’s a painting of a cow. What’s that all about? With all of the states of human bodies and random body parts is Kendall addressing existence and mortality. In the long run, are we just bodies after our consciousness enters the fog of unknown.
Ask Kendall about it, and don’t be deceived by his funny nonchalance.






Come by the Snelgrove to check these shows out. The closing reception is Friday from 7-10!


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.


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.



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.



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!


Saskatoon Art Adventure!

Yesterday the University Visual Arts Students Union (VASU) and friends went on an art adventure throughout Saskatoon. Our first stop was at the Mendel Art Gallery. If you haven’t seen the Mendel’s most recent exhibitions “Contemporary Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada” (curated by Rhiannon Vogl) and artist Trace Nelson’s exhibition “Wall’s of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity” then you must MUST check them out. I’ve been back to see the exhibit numerous times and it’s exciting, inspiring and fun.

But we weren’t at the Mendel for a regular visit: we’ve come for a tour of the vault. Mendels’ registrar Donald Roach took us on a VIP tour through the back rooms and the vault of the gallery. Inside the vault was all kinds of treasures and more than a few strange and dumbfounding works of art. We got the chance to hear from Donald interesting stories behind artwork and acquisitions.


Our next stop was to 330G workspace and gallery. 330G is located in an old church that has been flipped at 330 Avenue G (get it?) owned and managed by artist Marie Lanoo. We got an artist studio tour from two of the artist working in 330G: Sean Weisgerber and Marie Lanoo. Something that struck me about seeing the artists in 330G was the amount experimentation and serious play. Both artists have an artistic practice using constant experimentation that leads them to breakthroughs and discoveries with their work. Many of their works in progress aren’t treated as precious, this detachment from their work allows them to push their work further to possible disaster. An important skill of a successful artist is the ability to edit, stated Weisgerber. To know what worked and didn’t work in this innovative creative environment makes all the difference.

We started 330G with a tour of Weisgerber’s studio. Sean’s space is divided into a classic white walled painting area and what looks like painting torture chamber. The torture chamber had canvases and frames shackled, hanging upside down from the the ceiling by multiple rigs. Their surface covered in a thick grey paint that oozed down with gravity forming stalactites.

For real though, Sean’s work is very cool. Previously producing beautiful, intricate and sometimes optic hard edged paintings; Sean is now captivated by dip paintings. He’s dipping paintings in giant vats of thick house paints numerous time to create a hardened spikey surface. He’s made some really great ones, and he’s still experimenting. I enjoyed the empty frame drip paintings, the one that he has shot up at a shooting range, his “vitamin P” triptych and his multicolored drips.
I enjoyed what Sean had to say about his creative process and his advice about working in the creative industry (since graduating from Emily Carr, Sean had numerous art odd jobs that informs his practice). Check out Sean’s website for more of his work


^Sean explaining his pull system, with in process hanging drip paintings in background.


^some of Sean Weisgerber’s finished drip paintings.


Next we got a chance to see Marie Lannoo’s studio space. Marie Lannoo has been creating loads of work dealing with color and optics (just look at her portfolio from 2001-present! Marie gave us a run through of some of her multiple projects. She paints on resin “paper” then folds it creating multiple tones as the light plays off the surface (see recent work She’s also making these translucent color swatch gradients that you see two colors beautifully merging together. Marie is also playing with transparent theater lighting gels, folding them and layering them. I was fascinated with her latest sculptural project that she has rings of holes cut into marble slabs that she has put rolled tubes of color into the holes. The tubes of color express a gradient of color from middle to outside edge. The juxtaposition between the natural, cold and ancient marble with the synthetic, colored plastic tubing is delightful. Her use of materials reminded me of Robert Youds’ work “Urban Tribe” that exhibited at the Mendel ( Marie gave us some excellent advice from a seasoned contemporary artist making work in Saskatoon (refreshing to see!).

^Marie Lannoo taking us through some of her gradient study paintings.


^a view of more of Marie Lannoo’s work, including the in process marble slab sculpture


Our next stop on the Art Adventure was to Tammi Campbell’s studio on Avenue C. You might have seen Tammi’s work in the recent “They made a day be a day here” exhibit curated by Amy Fung at the Mendel Art Gallery. Seeing Tammi’s work is a bit deceiving. At first glance it looks like unfinished work of a hard edge / modernist painter with painters tape being left on the painting. But Tammi’s work is more cheeky than that. Her work plays at the act of painting and the material process. Her work references the work of popular modernist painters of the 50’s of New York and those that graced the Emma Lake Workshop. But in Tammi’s paintings her tape left on her paintings isn’t actually tape, but the painting itself. Through some experimentation Tammi has found a recipe to make paint that appears like tape. To further the illusion she purposely peels some edges lifting corners to make it even more believable. Take a look at Tammi’s work for a better idea ( Tammi’s work makes you question the nature of art. How did your appreciation of her work shift after learning about her process? Does the use of materials change the expression in a work of art? Or the question: Is it tape, is it not tape, does it matter??


Tammi also shared with us her daily drawing ritual. Everyday for over 3 years she’s been making line drawings as a response to work by Agnes Martin (see one of her sketch-studies here: . Tammi’s drawings always start with Dear Agnes, followed by patterned lines that appear as personal rhythmic letters to an old friend. Tammi gave us some good insight into her experiences as an artist in Saskatoon, and gave us some great advice (artist residencies!!).



Our last stop on was Zachary Logan’s studio. Zachary Logan’s work is striking and great meeting with him in his studio/workshop. Zachary’s converted garage studio seemed a bit more realistic for us emerging artists. It was neat seeing some of his immaculate drawings in process with study material and inspiration throughout his space. His pastel work on black paper is velvety and delicious while his intricately detailed blue line drawings on clouded mylar are insane (see some of his work on his website: Zachary told us all about his journey as an artist with highlights including residences in Vienna, gallery shows in New York and Paris and how being included in a curated art magazine opened doors for him. Zach’s positive outlook and friendly advice was inspiring and energizing for us art students and a perfect way to close our Art Adventure day.


^one of Zachary Logan’s walls. Lots to see


^an in-process pastel work of Zachary Logan





^a start to one of his blue pencil drawings.


^studio view with Zach and Andre talking geek

******* I’d like to thank Donald Roach and the Mendel staff, Marie Lannoo and Sean Weisgerber, Tammi Campbell, and Zachary Logan for being terrific hosts and sharing with us. Yesterday was inspiring to meet, learn from and gain helpful advice from amazing artists in our YXE art community. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! 😀 *****************************

– D

Aralia Maxwell’s “Invented Memory” at La Scala Gallery

Have your heard of La Scala Gallery? It’s an independent student run gallery located a stairwell in the Murray Art building. It’s not an incredible space, the walls are dented and poorly patched, the walls seem yellowish; but it is a good place for art students to put up their work for people to see. Aralia Maxwell transforms the La Scala Gallery stairwell into a beautiful space with her “Invented Memory” show. Aralia’s show deals with personal memory and how it changes, fades and distorts with time. Have you looked at photographs of yourself as documentation and have been unsettled at forgetting the memory altogether? Growing up Aralia had photographs that she thought were of her, but were actually of her mother. She kept the photos believing they were of her and created a made up narrative only to find out later that it was a false memory. There’s a weird space of familiarity in forgotten and invented memory. She uses old photographs of her herself and her family, mostly on her unchanged family farmstead, and changes and distorts them. Have you ever pulled off the first layer of an old Polaroid to make the colors warped or seen old 70’s film that was developed wrong? Aralia’s paintings look like that..or an old memory coupled with an acid flashback. Either way they are striking. Image ImageImageImage Image There’s more! Come check out Aralia Maxwell’s work at La Scala. It’s in the stairwell beside the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery in the Murray Art Building on Campus. It should be up for another week 🙂