There’s so much going on in YEG in the summer months, it’s tough to keep up, let alone take part in as much as one would like. It’s something I love about this place – we take our investment in the brief summer seriously! Full-on, all-the-stops-out, all the things all the time!
So … a couple that I’ve got going on:
I’ll have a video work in the Member’s Show at Harcourt House – NEW TERRITORIES – opening on Thursday 18 June:
I’ll be throwing my studio doors open for a while in the evening. So come by and say hello if you have a chance! You’ll find me at the Harcourt House Gallery, or in my studio
… OR …
Across the hall at Visual Arts Alberta-CARFAC!
I also have the pleasure of being part of the presentation of the Eldon & Anne Foote Edmonton Visual Arts Prize for 2015, taking place at Visual Arts Alberta-CARFAC on June 18th at 7:30. So, while you’re in the Harcourt House building, pop in to Visual Arts Alberta-CARFAC’s office and gallery, and raise a glass to the fine artists who made the short list for the Foote Prize, and see the work in the galleries too.
It seems growth and change are afoot in almost every way imaginable.
Last night, the province in which I live held a remarkable election, with results that have transformed the political landscape here – and certainly made history. A blast of fresh Spring air in this place.
I’ve been back for a couple of weeks from Vienna, recovered from the jet lag and hit the ground running; digging into a big new project that has me very excited: York:Moments. A project that revolves around reclaiming the history of a place and a neighbourhood, gathering stories and memories with a community. A new life of sorts for streets and empty spaces that allow them in some small way to live again through images and (re)tellings … making a place that no longer exists live again.
These things are about potential, about working and building new things out of the old, and saving what’s precious in one way or another … just like the birds do each year:
Here, a nest within a nest. A bird decided that one of my nest sculptures would be a good spot to build a new home, perhaps.
It remains to be seen what will come of these various activities – for me and for the birds.
But I do know that right now, starting new things and seeing change unfold is exactly what has to happen. It’s Spring (even if the snow today would have us believe otherwise).
I wanted to take a moment to pass on some thoughts from a colleague of mine – Stacey Cann – who is a tireless advocate for the importance of art education. Stacey has been a driving force at Harcourt House Artist-Run Centre for a number of years now, and has developed some great art-ed programs there, including the Art Bus Tours, which are beginning right away. (yes, this is a very broad hint to check it out!)
Here’s a great guest article Stacey recently wrote for the blog Prairie Seen; I think it touches on a number of really important ideas with respect to the impact of art education in society as a whole. Most pertinent (to my mind anyway) is Stacey’s observations regarding the impact of art education on practising artists: the didactic information supplied in galleries, the endless (and sometimes endlessly obscure) artist statements provided at exhibitions and elsewhere, and many more … in short, the role of art education in situating the work artists do.
Some great food for thought here – I’d love to hear your comments the ideas she presents.
It’s been a terrifically busy time these last few weeks!
Marian and I have been doing several interviews about YORK and putting together exhibition proposals for that project, and I’ve been getting ready for some extended travel – packing up work and supplies and all the other things I’ll need for the next few months, which I will be spending in Halifax NS.
But, before I get on that plane and head East, there’s the Art Bus Tour, and the Member’s Show at Gallery @ 501 in Sherwood Park!
This month’s version of the Art Bus Tour travels to FIVE galleries: In one afternoon we will visit Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, Visual Arts Alberta/ CARFAC, the Alberta Craft Council, Latitude 53, and Gallery @ 501.
The Tour Runs 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM, and pickup locations are Gallery @ 501 in Sherwood Park and Harcourt House Artist Run Centre in Edmonton. Details in the poster below:
I am really happy to be going on this month’s tour for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it will be a great break from the packing and organizing I’ve been doing for days now!!
Since we are stopping in at Latitude 53, I will also be giving a very informal ‘mini-talk’ about YORK for the group on the tour. Should be fun!
There’s also going to be a button-making workshop at Visual Arts Alberta/CARFAC, which should be a blast … AND … we’ll also be seeing the Member’s Show at Gallery @ 501!
I have a piece in this show as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing the range of work in this exhibition – it’s the very first Member’s Show for this gallery, so it’s a community milestone!
I wish you all a great weekend – and I hope you get to see lots of art you love!
Spent a lovely Saturday afternoon on the Art Bus Tour! It was great to see such a range of work in one afternoon – print media at SNAP, the Member’s Show and “Naked” Show (figurative works) at Harcourt House, then down the highway to Sherwood Park, and finally back to SNAP for some festivities …
The exhibition at Sherwood Park’s Gallery @ 501 was terrific … I attended the opening on Friday, but found myself eager to spend more time with the exhibition. My congrats to Sean Caulfield and Royden Mills for a beautiful, thought-provoking body of work. Well worth the trip!
The tour ended up at SNAP, and their Block Out Fundraiser … which is where the road repair equipment and printmaking come in!
The ingenious April Dean, Executive Director of SNAP, managed to secure a permit to block off a bit of Jasper Avenue so that some large-scale prints – 4′ x 8′ – could be inked and printed with an asphalt roller!
It was actually quite exciting to see this whole process from start to finish … there were some moments where I think most of us were holding our breath, hoping that nothing happened to the plates under all that weight. And of course, it’s always exciting to see a print being pulled – it’s the ‘great reveal’ that comes at the end of all the time and effort spent creating the plate -but it was especially so with such large work!
There was also great music, food, and drink at the event, and a sale and silent auction of some beautiful (and cheeky) print works … including “art critic panties” (which I hope I won)!
All in all, a great art-filled day!
I’m looking forward to all the other art events this summer, including the next tour, coming up in July! I don’t think there will be steam rollers involved (m)any of those, but who knows … might run into some road construction, which won’t be nearly as fun.
One of the many things I like about the creative community in Edmonton is that when people see a need for something, they make it happen.
This event is a perfect example of that ‘make it happen’ attitude: an Art Bus Tour!
Harcourt House is coordinating the booking of seats for this event, and as you can see from the poster above, the tour will take participants to the exhibitions at Harcourt House, SNAP, and Gallery@ 501 in Sherwood Park.
Harcourt House will have its annual Member’s Show up, in celebration of the Centre’s 25th year of operations:
I think this is a great idea – we’ve got some great exhibition spaces in the Edmonton Region, but it’s tough for people to get to all the galleries without a car (insert my plug for an extensive regional train or light rail transit system here!!).
SO … come get on the ART BUS! Hope to see you there!
Lots of thought-provoking discussion, stimulating sessions, an opportunity to see and speak with people from across the country that I haven’t seen for at least a year.
The weekend left me full of ideas and feeling quite inspired.
I think that’s one of the most vital things this conference can do: it provides a concrete opportunity for people to get to know other professionals from right across the country, and it allows us to share news, projects, and to maintain a real connection to a national community of artists.
This year’s conference focussed on mentoring and education – how we can learn from each other, and what we do as artists and mentors/teachers in a range of communities.
I had the good fortune to be part of a great group of people attending from Alberta this year; there was a really interesting mix of voices and viewpoints in the group, and I think that diversity allowed all of us to learn a great deal from the sessions, our colleagues, and each other. There were students, recent graduates, emerging and established artists, people connected to artist-run spaces and public service organizations, teachers … a real range of experience and concerns.
We also got a great update on one of the most interesting and important CARFAC initiatives currently: to bring the Artist’s Resale Right to Canada. Currently, about 70 countries have resale right legislation in place; the Artist’s Resale Right legally acknowledges the right of the artist to a small royalty payment when his or her work is resold in the public market. In Canada, the Artist’s Resale Right would allow visual artists to receive 5% when their work is resold.
The panel on the Artist’s Resale Right at the conference this year was really informative, and it was especially good to hear from someone outside the immediate artistic community who is actively supporting ARR in Canada. Scott Simms is a federal MP, and has just introduced a private member’s bill in support of ARR.
The Panel Discussion on the Artists’ Resale Right – in full swing! From the left: April Britski, Executive Director of CARFAC National, David Alexander, Artist, Scott Simms, MP for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, and Lyle Wilson, Artist. Mr Simms introduced Bill C-516, an Act to amend the Copyright Act (Artist’s Resale Right) to the House of Commons recently.
The ARR just makes sense; given that the artwork is a unique object that could not exist without the artist creating it, it seems ludicrous that artists don’t benefit in some small way from the increased value of their work over time. The ARR is a very small sum in relation to the value placed on artwork in the resale market, but that royalty means a great deal to increasing the financial security of artists, particularly in their later years.
You can find out more about this here:
Much work to be done on the ARR and other intiatives, but a great deal to celebrate too … including CARFAC’s 45th Anniversary!~
I find it both remarkable and heartening that professional artists in this country have had the benefit of CARFAC’s advocacy for the past 45 years – it’s a great testament to the dedicated people that keep this organization going. It’s also a telling comment on the socio-economic position of artists in Canada that this organization is so important.
So – Congrats CARFAC – and thanks for the last 45 years!
The ‘art world’ is not a place in which the primary producers get rich; most can’t make a living from their art, or if they do, their income is well below the poverty line. WIthout CARFAC, this situation would be even more grave; this organization has worked long and hard to establish what is essentially a standard ‘minimum wage’ for artists – a schedule of appropriate fees for exhibition and reproduction of artists’ work. CARFAC asks the simple question: “has the artist been paid??”
It’s a question that needs to be asked, and we need to keep on asking it until the answer becomes “of course!” … but we’re not there yet. And that’s why I’m a CARFAC member, and why I find the annual CARFAC conference such a benefit to me. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
There are lots of great things about being involved in the artistic and artist-run community in Edmonton, but one of my favorites is the capacity for people to come together to make things happen that they want to see happen.
I’ve been a bit buried in work lately on all kinds of fronts (hence the silence here!), and I was in need of some down time that would get me out into the lovely (finally, at LAST!) Spring weather we’re having. I get serious Spring Fever – and there’s few things I like better at this time of year than digging in the dirt and watching things come to life after our long Prairie winters. And quick as you can say ‘there’s a rabbit over there’ (there was one on the lawn today), the gang at Harcourt came to my rescue with a lovely little project to improve the look of the front lawns in front of the two buildings there.
The signs out front are in need of repainting – a job on the list for this summer – but before that can happen, we needed to do something about the overgrown daylilies that grow in front of one of them … and the Annex Building front yard really needed a bit of sprucing up.
Presto! A project was born!
Stacey, Brittney, and I got to work early this morning to dig out the lilies from the first bed; in addition to needing to be split, those lilies were crowding a whole bunch of lovely tulips, so those needed to be coaxed out and moved as well. I’d also brought some irises and a delphinium from home that were in desperate need of splitting, so we had the makings of some lovely flower beds right from the start.
We got to digging, and digging. And digging. And Splitting root balls. And weeding. And weeding some more. And moving dug up sod from one place to another. And on we went … for several hours.
The three of us were also joined by Zach, Harcourt House’s designer, and Derek (the Executive Director) came by to see how things were going in the afternoon.
By the end of the day, we had dug a long bed almost the full width of the Annex Building, planted it, and had finished a second bed by the Annex Sign with all the lilies left over from the first transplanting!
A great day spent in the sun, helping things grow, and making our little corner of the world a nicer place. There’s more to do, of course – there always is – but for now, we can keep those plants watered, and watch them get used to their new home.
There’s something really quite delightful about spending time doing something like this with creative people; we are often making work or doing research that is much more open-ended, or that doesn’t provide the same sort of absolutely tangible “Look at what we got DONE today” kind of satisfaction. I think we all went home knowing the satisfaction that comes from making something with our hands, in real time, and seeing the results of that labour immediately. I certainly know I did.
A good day, with good people.
And these lovely folks also do other lovely things when they aren’t in the garden! Have a peek at Stacey’s, Brittney’s, and Zach’s work. You’ll see some good stuff growing there too.
Seems the New Year is well and truly upon me, and has reminded me in no uncertain terms that There Are Things To Be Done!
The long silence here is due to many things afoot in the studio and elsewhere of late … not the least of which are preparations for an upcoming exhibition in Toronto, at the Fleishman Gallery (79a Harbord Street, near the U of T)!
This exhibition – called 21st Century Nesting Practices – is the first extension of work from NEST, which I developed during my residency at Harcourt House last year.
I will be showing a selection of new work, including a video installation and photographs, in combination with a selection of gel transfers, drawings, and sculpture from NEST. The video was developed out of a collaborative poem written by me and Catherine Owen over the course of nearly a year, as I was working through the residency. 500 lines, 250 each, written turn-about. The photos are a small selection from the literally hundreds of images I took of nests in predominately urban environments; the parallels between human and animal spaces are many and complex, as is the way both birds and humans claim space for their own.
21st Century Nesting Practices is a more intimate, personal exploration of the ideas I was working with in NEST (hence the different title). This exhibition focuses directly on the memories, psychology, and personal history that inform the notion of the human ‘nest’ and ideas of home for me, how those things can mean so differently (and so much the same) to others, how those ideas change and shift over time. I think presenting this new combination of pieces will teach me about what has to happen to develop the larger body of work completely – what further risks need to be taken, how far and how deep to go in the long run. I’m looking forward to it immensely.
I will be heading to Toronto for a week of installation at the gallery, culminating in the opening of the exhibition on February 1.
Really excited – a more than a little nervous – and putting out good vibes to all the “shipping fairies” in the universe, in the hope that nothing will go missing or be delayed on its way there. We should be just FINE. I hope.
SO! For anyone out there in the Toronto area (or looking for an excuse to come to Toronto for a weekend) – Here’s the exhibition information: