By Robin Laurence
UNCOMMON BLENDS Alberta Craft Gallery, Calgary, To Mar 17
This group exhibition riffs on the many personal delights and social rituals associated with the making and drinking of coffee and tea. A far cry from the plasticized hot drink cups dispensed by beverage chains, the sculptural and functional works created by Sam Knopp, Sean Kunz, Noriko Masuda, Mynthia McDaniel and Juliana Rempel bring a vision of both beauty and playfulness to our daily infusions of caffeine.
KAPWANI KIWANGA: A WALL IS JUST A WALL (AND NOTHING MORE AT ALL) Esker Foundation, Calgary, Feb 3-May 6
This provocative exhibition includes an immersive environment, pink-blue; a newly commissioned video work, A Primer, and a sound work, 500 ft., along with recent, research-based sculptures. Hamilton-born, Paris-based artist Kapwani Kiwanga asks viewers to consider the ways in which institutional architecture and design may be used to regulate our moods and control our behaviour. Among the often overlooked elements she explores here are paint colours, fluorescent lighting and one-way mirrors.
PERCEPTION Newzones, Calgary, Feb 3-Mar 3
Manipulation of the photographic image is at the core of this group exhibition. Whether mixing the medium with paint or wax, employing a pinhole camera or Polaroid film, or investigating the many possibilities of digital technology, the artists represented here shift our conventional understanding – our perception – of what photography can do and be. Featured artists include Dianne Bos, Franco DeFrancesca, John Folsom, James Holroyd, Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Virginia Mak and Stuart McCall.
MARK DICEY: EACH PAINTED DOCUMENT Nickle Galleries, Calgary, To Apr 7
Mark Dicey creates colourful gestural abstractions that speak to his interest in the ways art may reveal the filtering and reconfiguring of memory. He is also absorbed in the spontaneous properties of his medium and the ways forms may evolve and reveal themselves. This exhibition tracks the artist’s movements into and out of his studio and includes works on canvas and paper, sketchbooks and a wall collage. It also includes Grant Poier’s textual installation, created in response to Dicey’s paintings.
WES BELL: ON THE LINE Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, To Mar 10
Wes Bell built a successful career as a fashion photographer in New York, London and Milan before returning to his Medicine Hat home to pursue fine art photography. His black-and-white prints, shot on a traditional analogue camera and meticulously developed in a darkroom, imbue his seemingly banal subjects – a shredded plastic bag caught on a barbed wire fence, a tree entangled with wire, weathered signage – with both drama and emotional resonance.