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artist

Artist Spotlight: Valerie Metcalfe

By Kelsey Schaefer

VALERIE METCALFE has dedicated more than 45 years to pursue her pottery passion.

Decades of practising this meticulous art form have resulted in stunning works that evoke organic shapes and subtle floral details. She currently produces more than 1500 artworks per year. Inspiration comes from her life-long interest in nature and her love for the flow of a paintbrush.

While Valerie credits art school for introducing her to pottery, much of her learning has taken place outside of the classroom. She is the last founding member of the Stoneware Gallery, an artist-run business managed by a co-operative of ceramics artists. She also teaches classes at the Stoneware Studio.

Valerie admits that following her passion may not have brought her immense wealth, but it’s provided her with something she believes is much more valuable: a lifelong career full of reverence and significant relationships.

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Stoneware Gallery, where throughout her extensive career, the love of the craft has kept Valerie committed. Valerie’s collections are sold at The Stoneware Gallery, 778 Corydon Ave, 204-475-8088, stonewaregallery.com

Artist Spotlight: Christian Worthington

By Teena Legris

CHRISTIAN WORTHINGTON is a Canadian multimedia artist who has garnered both local and international acclaim. With over twenty years studying the techniques of classic masters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio, along with American abstract expressionists, he is endlessly intrigued by historical periods and the experimental trends in art.

   Christian is dedicated to applying his broad range of work in a variety of genres, narratives and themes. From representational portraits in oils to contemporary abstracts, he considers himself “an investigative painter delving into sculpture.” Each explorative medium, including his three-dimensional forms in clay, copper, and steel, demonstrates attention to precision with dramatic effects rendered through the contrast of light and shadow.

   Seeing each project as an opportunity to explore art on a macro and existential level, his objective is to “take an immaterial essence, an emotion or even a spiritual idea, and make it tangible. Like a transfer of stewardship from conception to creation.”

   The desire to delve further into large-scale industrial design led to a melding of creative minds in the spring of 2017. Christian connected with Swiss-born sculptor, Jürgen Cooper Meier, whose art consists of a prolific body of privately commissioned, large-scale abstract steel sculptures. Both artists have created a dynamic series of small prototypes (maquettes), representative of large-scale pieces intended for public exhibit. Paul Zacharias, Director of the LANTERN Gallery, hosts the exhibition of collaborative sculptures by Christian Worthington and Jürgen Cooper Meier from April 6-14, 2018. 211 Pacific Ave, 204-226-2357, lanternshows.com

Artist Spotlight: Kal Barteski

KAL BARTESKI is a Winnipeg-based multimedia artist, activist, and author known for her signature illustrated typescript and wildlife paintings. Her artistic journey has seamlessly evolved from a love of painting animals into projects with a purpose.
    The aspiring artist sold her first painting (a portrait of a dalmatian) in Saskatchewan at the age of 8, validating her pursuit of doing what she loved. Kal’s move to Winnipeg in her twenties proved to be the ultimate brush with destiny, as a fascination with a polar bear at the zoo inspired an impressive portfolio of 150 polar bear paintings that became an international sensation.
    Regular visits to Churchill, Manitoba prompted study of polar bears and their habitat, leading to The Polar Bear Fund initiative in 2016 supporting non-invasive polar bear research. In June 2017, Kal participated in Churchill’s mural festival and inspired a “Back Alley Arctic” campaign in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood (pictured). The walkable art gallery included several garage murals featuring her beloved bears and other illustrated wildlife.
   
Kal’s wild obsession garnered attention from Brent Christensen, Creator/Founder of Ice Castles, spurring a cool collaboration. Kal’s paintings can be viewed inside the shimmering icy tunnels and glowing palatial archways of Ice Castles throughout the winter months at Parks Canada Place at The Forks.
    Of her famed polar bears, Kal acknowledges that “it’s not the hipster cool theme, but I’m grateful for who I am and how this intuitive journey has gifted me some beautiful opportunities.”
   Followers can view her work website kalbarteski.com and on Instagram @kalbarteski.

Artist Spotlight: Hubert Theroux

HUBERT THEROUX grew up in the rural community of Cardinal, Manitoba with a love for Canadian prairies. At the age of 10, Hubert began to sketch illustrations of art and prairies. Post-high school graduation, he took photography courses to help feed his creativity and inspiration for future paintings. “Next thing you know I was shooting weddings for friends,” Hubert laughs.

    Known internationally for his realistic landscape paintings, Hubert has made a living as an artist for more than 25 years. His art continues to be inspired by the ever-changing colours of the prairies. Hubert also generously devotes time to the local art community and as the acting president of the Assiniboia Group of Artists Co-op. From Oct 27-29, meet Hubert and 40 other local artists at Manitoba’s largest professional art exhibition show Manitoba Art Expo at Assiniboia Downs. Be inspired by paintings, photography, sculptures and other medias throughout the weekend exhibit.

    In addition, Hubert’s art can be viewed at Birchwood Art Gallery year-round.

Assiniboia Downs, 3975 Portage Ave, manitobaartexpo.ca; Birchwood Art Gallery, 1068 Pembina Hwy, 204-888-5840

Top 5 Art Finds

These Winnipeg boutiques are filled with art beyond the traditional paint brush and canvas. Take home one of these spectacular artful items, handmade with love.
A mash-up of 110 Canadian artisanal products fill the walls and display boxes at Tara Davis Studio Boutique. Find beautiful pieces from hand-embroidered maps from Sadie and June to Birch Street Studio’s laser cut jewellery.
• 246 McDermot Ave, 204‑504‑8272, taradavis.ca
On the fourth floor of an historic building, discover the dream studio of Mud and Stone. Watch the potters hand mould and paint one-of-a-kind decorative serving trays, flower pots and tableware.
• 290 McDermot Ave, mudandstonestudio.com
Find treasures crafted by First Peoples of North America at Teekca’s Aboriginal Boutique. Check out the stunning painted mural mug and coaster sets by Rabbit Studios (pictured).
• 1 Forks Market Rd, second floor, 204‑946‑0539
Shop WOW! Mabuhay outdoor and indoor home décor at the Johnston Terminal at The Forks. Unique products are imported from colourful wind chimes to stone sculptures.
• 25 Forks Market Rd, main floor, 204-947-9342
At Blue Hills Design, find paintings made by Canadian artists along with home décor. Check out the decorative painted wood boxes by British Columbia company Cedar Mountain Studios.
• 444 Academy Rd, 204‑487‑1151, bluehillsdesign.ca

Winnipeg’s Drummer Boy

Sean Quigley has turned his viral internet success into an opportunity to change the world and explore his passion, one song at a time.

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

By Joelle Kidd

When asked, “why The Little Drummer Boy?”, a grin creeps over Sean Quigley’s face.

“Do you want the cheesy answer—or the real answer?”

The question, of course, refers to Quigley’s video of the same name, which as racked up almost 3.3 million views to date on YouTube. In it, the then 16-year-old, clad in shorts, a toque, and Hudson’s Bay Canada mittens, carries a drum through snowcapped scenes of a Winnipeg winter while an updated version of the carol—complete with buzzy guitar and a drum solo—plays. The video has resonated with a huge number of people, winning internet fame, and has had long lasting impact on many fans.

At the time, Quigley had not the faintest idea that his project would be so successful. “To be honest, I chose the song because of the Boney M Christmas album,” he says. “I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”

Armed with nothing but a borrowed video camera and a school computer covertly loaned by one of his High School teachers, the teenager set out to make a music video. The original plan was to shoot indoors, which turned up too dark on camera. Then, the morning of the planned shoot, Sean awoke to a dazzling snowfall. “I just knew, we can’t miss this,” he says. He and his sister formed a makeshift film crew, loading his drums into the back of her car and driving to his favourite spots around the city.

“I think people relate to its authenticity,” he says. The video was made on a whim, with DIY spirit, at next to no cost, by a young musician. For Quigley, the video’s story is one of searching and finding—a version of his own personal journey. “At the time, I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer the world except music,” he remembers. At the end of the video, the lone drummer stands, overlooking the city, playing his snare drum, his voice finally heard.

In the five years since The Little Drummer Boy was originally posted, Quigley has come a long way. The burst of success that followed his viral video sensation originally took him to Los Angeles, where he ended up on the edge of a quarter million dollar record contract.

But this record deal required compromising the authenticity that had won him fans in the first place. “I couldn’t do it—it didn’t feel right,” he says. “So I walked away.”

Quigley has never regretted turning down the offer. Instead, he has found purpose and the freedom to express himself here in his hometown of Winnipeg.

Online success opened the door to promoting charitable organizations. In one instance, he was offered a partnership deal with Hudsons Bay Company, after they saw the iconic Canada mittens featured in the Little Drummer Boy video. Like the rest of the video shoot, the mittens were chosen for practical reasons—Sean’s hands were cold and he grabbed some mitts out of the car. But he used his newfound clout to collect mittens for Winnipeg’s homeless, and held a special concert with proceeds going to local shelter Siloam Mission.

He has also worked with World Vision, and while travelling with the organization met fellow Winnipegger Karli Gerbrandt, who was working at a non-profit in Cambodia. The two musicians and world travellers reconnected when they returned home to Winnipeg, got married, and began playing music together.

Under the name Bold As Lions, the duo released a full studio album in 2014 called The Hope Movement, a collection of crisp harmonies, earworm hooks, and poignant lyrics. Another album is in the works to be released this year.

For this couple-turned-band, roots in this city go deep. “There’s something special about Winnipeg,” Sean says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world, but I never feel there’s anything I can’t do right here.”

Find concert schedule and music online at boldaslions.ca.

See the video that started it all:

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Angell Gallery Shows New Paintings by Kim Dorland

Kim Dorland's Bay Blanket #3.

Kim Dorland’s Bay Blanket #3.

OCTOBER 3 TO NOVEMBER 8 It’s been a couple of years since Kim Dorland’s last solo show at Angell Gallery, but he hasn’t been idle. Among other things, the Alberta-born, Toronto-based painter was the subject of an acclaimed 2013 survey at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and this past summer he curated an exhibition featuring other artists advancing the medium of painting. Known for vibrant, thickly textured canvases that explore the physical and psychological connections between artist and landscape (think Tom Thomson for the post-modern age), Dorland now offers a series of entirely new works for display at the Ossington Avenue institution. Expect pieces that continue to expand on the artist’s signature style and thematic concerns, further entrenching his position as Canada’s painter of record. —Craig Moy

Angell Gallery, 12 Ossington Ave., 416-530-0444; angellgallery.com
• Map and reviews

 

Tegan and Sara: The Calgary Sister Act Comes Home

By Ryan Duncan

Though Calgary natives Tegan and Sara Quin have been filling concert halls and dominating college radio with their punk rock attitude and folk pop sound,  you might not have heard their music. They’ve played for audiences across the U.S., Canada and Australia, are performers in the 2010 resurrection of the all-female music festival Lilith Fair, and have just released their sixth studio album, The Sainthood.

We talk to Tegan about the double standards for female indie bands, working with DJ Tiesto, and being a gay role model.

THE NEW ALBUM

WC: There is an obvious change in your sound on The Sainthood, what inspired you to take a more pop approach?

TQ: When we first started we had to be very economical. Our first records reflected our band at the time, we had to record music to sell tour dates and hit the road.

Our style of song writing hasn’t changed, but our ability to adapt, change and add things has. Ten years, and several records later we are more confident and although it was not always intentional, we emulate the things we like to listen to. We are creating our image with every new record, and it’s important to create music that people can relate to–when I listen to music on the radio now it doesn’t reflect me or my friends. I grew up in the ’80s listening to Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper.

MUSICAL ARMAGEDDON

WC: What is the best part about performing at music festivals?

TQ: That depends on the type of festival. The concept of Lilith Fair is incredible. As a feminist it’s amazing to see a group of women taking over the main stage. We just got back from a festival tour in Europe, and although we had a lot of fun, it was pandemonium. Thousands of people, all kinds of weather and liquor—people get so fucking unhinged and crazy, it’s like Armageddon with music.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

WC: Do you think there is still a double standard for women in the music industry?

TQ: It has always been there. There is no shortage of indie rock boys, but the women tend to be unheard of. There are some amazingly talented and intelligent women out there, but they are still half naked trying to sell records. I used to wonder how we would ever make it, there was no way I was going to be able to put on high heels and sell sex in order to be heard. I mean, Beyonce’s a babe, I can’t compete with that.

We get lots of press and very little radio play. That is why I say we are the most famous band you’ve never heard.

WORKING WITH DJ TIESTO

WC: You and Sara are featured on Tiesto’s track “Feel it in My Bones.” How did your collaboration with Tiesto come about?

TQ: We first worked with Tiesto for the “Back in Your Head” remix, we ended up performing with him at a festival. His tour later brought him through Vancouver and he told us that he was going to be making a dance record featuring artists that weren’t in that genre. We are always up for experimenting with different kinds of music; it’s great to play for a different audience so we were in for that.

GAY ROLE MODELS

WC: How do you feel about your sexuality being a common topic in the media?

TQ: Well 10 years ago, the perception of society was to not talk about our sexuality, it was too “racy” for local press. But somewhere between 2002 and 2004 it seemed to be the only thing we were being asked about. We are both very proud to be role models, and if we are helping it to be ‘not as hard’ to be gay for our audience, what’s the problem? The fact is I have been criticized for not talking about it, and for talking about it too much, it’s weird, it’s not like wrote the article that I am being quoted in, you know?

HITTING THE ROAD

WC: How do you feel about being on tour?

TQ: I get nervous about heading out on tour because I love being home, but once I return, I miss the road; it’s a double edged sword. I have grown accustomed to touring, and nothing equals being on stage and playing our music, so in that sense, I have become dependent on it. Touring can be humbling though, it hits us when we hit a city we have never been to before, I mean I wouldn’t roll into Los Angeles, play one show, leave and expect that it’s going to explode all over the country. I am looking forward taking this record on the road. We have an epic tour planned taking us all over Canada, to America and Australia.

BRINGING THE SHOW TO CALGARY

WC: You have two sold out shows in Calgary. Has the experience of playing your hometown changed?

TQ: Playing in Calgary used to present me with a lot of pressure. We would have so many friends and family members to see, and we would have so little time to do it. This year we have two dates in Calgary, I am humbled by that. Putting together our own stage show is something I really like to do, I was in drama as a kid, and really liked putting on plays. That is where the passion for performing stems from.