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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | February – March 2015

By Robin Laurence

VIEW FROM A WINDOW Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Dec 6-Mar 1 Photographs by four exceptional Canadian artists, Edward Burtynsky, Robin Collyer, Eamon MacMahon and Laura St. Pierre, challenge our understanding of the interface between untouched wilderness and the human-altered landscape. Images range from massive mining and industrial sites to deserted urban scenes and from the homes of the privileged to the improvised shelters of the homeless. The show’s title is a reference to an early 19th-century photograph by Nicéphore Niépce, one of the pioneers of the medium.

5 CAMERAS REPRISE & DIANA THORNEYCROFT Christine Klassen Gallery, Calgary, Jan 29-Mar 7 Gary Campbell, Ben Cope, Sarah Fuller, Michael Levin and Colin Smith appear for the second time in a group exhibition that ranges across photographic styles, forms and techniques. Including images of endangered tribes, landscape tropes, portraits of celebrities, and furnished interiors reconfigured by a camera obscura, this show inspires wonder and admiration. Also on view are Winnipeg artist Diana Thorneycroft’s colour photos of cheeky and satirical dioramas on the nature of Canadian identity.

OH, CANADA: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM NORTH NORTH AMERICA Various venues, Calgary, Jan 31-Apr 26 This landmark exhibition, which debuted at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012, is so large and comprehensive that it is being presented at four Calgary sites: Esker Foundation, Glenbow, Illingworth Kerr Gallery and Nickle Galleries. To bring it together, American curator Denise Markonish spent three years crossing Canada, visiting studios and consulting with curators and artists. Among the nearly 60 artists represented are Rebecca Belmore, Shary Boyle, Douglas Coupland, Marcel Dzama, Wanda Koop and Kent Monkman.

KYLE BEAL: ELECTRIC PARK Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Mar 14-28 Riffing on found images of a destructive fire at a New Jersey amusement park, Kyle Beal has produced linked series of drawings, inkjet prints and wall-mounted objects. This reimagining of the original event speaks to notions of spectacle and leisure as well as to issues of representation. The prints use souvenir postcards from “Funtown Pier” to construct fictional characters and narratives, while the mixed-media objects reinterpret formal, aesthetic and textual elements associated with amusement parks.

JEFF NACHTIGALL: WILD MEN Newzones, Calgary, Mar 14-May 2 Saskatchewan artist Jeff Nachtigall quotes a range of styles, formats and media in his humorous investigation of the wild man figure – here deployed as a form of self-portraiture. The wild man of the woods has appeared widely in art, legends and lore across time and place. While he can sometimes symbolize a violent and uncivilized person, a “savage,” he can also represent a being who lives in a state of nature, repudiating all that makes up contemporary society.

Edward Burtynsky
Edward Burtynsky

Gary Campbell
Gary Campbell

Janice Wright Cheney
Janice Wright Cheney

Kyle Beal
Kyle Beal

Jeff Nachtigall
Jeff Nachtigall

 Sun, Feb 8, 2015