By HANNA DEEVES and MICHAELA RITCHIE
Calgary is home to some amazing artists. Here are a few exhibits and projects that you won’t want to miss.
Paintings With A Purpose
Inspired by a visit to Mexico, Julie Witten-Land of SALTED Studio is exhibiting her latest collection, Paintings With A Purpose to raise money for two families in the region.
The one of kind abstract paintings use pieces of plastic shards, salvaged wood, and rusted metal, found in a Puerto Vallarta landfill only kilometers from the resort area of Puerto Vallarta. The same landfill is where members of the Gardena community rummage through to find objects they can sell or trade to meet basic needs.
For many, their own houses are not safe as many families live in makeshift shelters with no secure doors, which can result in higher rates of sexual abuse. The artist, Witten-Land, wanted to help with the goal to pay for a secure home for two of the families she met. She knew her art was the way to do it. Objects from the landfill that could not be traded were offered to Witten-Land and inspired the paintings. Fifty per cent of proceeds from the pieces in this collection will go straight to building secure homes in Gardena.
“I want the viewer to leave feeling grateful and inspired to see their life more positively and maybe even be moved to help others,” says Witten-Land.
Paintings With A Purpose will be on display at The Peanut Gallery at John Fluevog until October 7.
•The Peanut Gallery, 207 – 8 Ave SW, 403-265-1970. saltedstudio.com
Building Blocks of Colour
The Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art is hosting the premiere showing of a new exhibit by Saskatchewan painter Jonathan Forrest. Building Blocks of Colour, like the vast majority of Forrest’s collections, features abstract works of acrylic on canvas, wherein bold shapes are brought to life by the employ of vibrant pops of colour and intense shading.
This exhibit tells the story of the intersection between space and light in Forrest’s rural Saskatchewan studio. Travelling beyond the city each day to create in this space has profoundly influenced Forrest’s perceptions of landscape, colour, shape, and time over the years — a gradual change of perspective that is evinced by Forrest’s layering of pigments to “build” areas of colour on the canvas.
Of his new series, Forrest writes: “Colour is sensory, it impacts you. It’s emotion and feeling enveloping you.” This body of work hopes to remind Forrest’s audience of that sensory response to imagery by allowing them to examine transparency, texture, and the interaction between layers of colour — to see how these colour blocks radiate into each other’s space, playing off one another to form the work as a whole. The way that Forrest’s layered works lift from the surface to invade the audiences’ reality is a particularly dynamic quality of the exhibit.
The collection is set to premiere September 16, with Forrest himself making an appearance from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the day to discuss his work with attendees. Exhibit closes October 21.
• The Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art, 730 – 11 Ave SW, 403-266-1972, newzones.com
A Stitch in Time: The Black Gold Tapestry
Sandra Sawatzky has always had a love for sewing by hand. But when she first began stitching a craft for visitors at a Glenbow Museum exhibit on embroidery back in 2007, she had no idea the scale of the project to which her passion would soon lead her.
Now, after nine years of continuous needlework in her Calgary studio, Sawatzky is ready to premiere The Black Gold Tapestry, on October 7 at the same museum where she was first inspired to create it. Informed by The Bayeux Tapestry in both its artistry and storytelling, The Black Gold Tapestry recounts how human advancement has been fueled by oil — across thousands of years, numerous civilizations, and 220 feet of linen — from the discovery of bitumen in Iraqi marshes, to the environmental impact of the industry felt today around the world.
“[The Bayeux Tapestry] set me to musing what epic story of today might be told in an embroidered tapestry,” Sawatzky has said previously of the tale she has stitched together. “And then I thought about oil. It changed the modern world in the same way that the Norman invasion changed the course of history.”
This visual saga is one that is both familiar to Albertans and aims to reach far beyond our backyard, inviting the audience to examine the cultural and historic significance of fossil fuels with fresh eyes. Drawing upon her established background in design and film, Sawatzky makes use of her affinity for motion capture to carry the story of her panels, which showcase not only a mastery over colour and movement, but also technical prowess, as evident in her expressive yet tightly woven lines. More than simply illustrating a complex global history, The Black Gold Tapestry raises questions about how our international community is moving towards our energy future — one that is both uncertain and exciting.
Exhibit open thought May 2018.
• The Glenbow Museum, 130 – 9 Ave SE, 403-268-4100, glenbow.org
What was once a 1912 school building is now Calgary’s art incubator. Bringing together art and life to strengthen the community and give space for ambition, talent and innovation, this transformed historical sight holds office and studio space for artists and features a public gallery and 125-seat theatre.
Where there used to be math and science lessons on classroom black boards, there are now 30 local artists showcasing different mediums from jewelry and painting to design and theatre.
cSPACE gives artists actual space to grow, learn and collaborate in a community. It also gives art lovers a place to go support the local scene and maybe learn a thing or two themselves.
The first of its kind, the space is the one stop shop for everything art here in Calgary. Part of what makes this location great is that there is always room for new artists.
cSPACE is open all year round 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Although already open and hosting many different events, cSPACE King Edward will host their official grand opening the weekend of September 29 – October 1.
•1721 – 29 Ave SW, 403-476-2025. cspacekingedward.com