By Robin Laurence
KEN HOUSEGO Art Gallery of St. Albert, St. Albert, Sep 7-30 This mid-career survey of engaging mixed-media works calls up the many places Grande Prairie-based artist Ken HouseGo has called home. In a sense, it is also a survey of Canada, incorporating memories and impressions of the Georgian Bay area of Ontario, the Maritimes and northern Alberta. Working in wood, paint, metal, pastel and found objects, HouseGo creates highly personal constructions that inspire a range of emotions and interpretations in viewers.
MARY ANNE BARKHOUSE: LE RÊVE AUX LOUPS Esker Foundation, Calgary,
Sep 16-Dec 22 Once described as “an ambassador between the human and natural worlds,” Mary Anne Barkhouse creates sculptures of wild animals as symbols of her environmental and social justice concerns. In her new exhibition, she juxtaposes creatures that inhabit the land with aspects of the extravagant palace interiors of Louis XIV of France. While challenging our exploitative relationship with nature, the works also underscore the transience of material wealth and imperial power in the long arc of human history.
THE WRITING ON THE WALL: WORKS OF DR. JOANE CARDINAL-SCHUBERT Nickel Galleries, Calgary, Sep 21-Dec 16 The posthumous retrospective of this widely acclaimed artist includes paintings, drawings, prints, collages, ceramics and installation works gathered from public and private collections across Canada. Joane Cardinal-Schubert used her art to examine cultural, historical and environmental issues as well as to express personal experience. Of Kainai descent, she was keenly attuned to past and present conditions of Indigenous life while also critiquing the institutional categorization of “Native artist.”
SANDRA SAWATZKY: THE BLACK GOLD TAPESTRY Glenbow, Calgary, Oct 7-May 21 An intimate work of monumental proportions, Sandra Sawatzky’s 220-foot-long hand-embroidered tapestry tells the story of oil, from prehistoric times to the present day. Representing nine years and 16,000 hours of labour by the filmmaker and fabric artist, the work alludes in its ambition to the thousand-year-old Bayeux Tapestry. Through its scale and the global significance of its subject, The Black Gold Tapestry dramatically shifts the popular perception of embroidery from the quietly domestic to the assertively public.
REINHARD SKORACKI Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, Oct 12-Nov 11 The paradoxical subtitle of this exhibition translates as “The Learned Lesson of Ignorance” and is borrowed from a treatise by philosopher Nikolaus von Kues. Calgary-based artist Reinhard Skoracki uses his beguiling tabletop sculptures to pose – but not answer – a number of questions about the human condition. In his exhibition statement, he tells us the underlying thesis of his new work is that “true knowledge abides in the consciousness of ignorance.”