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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | April – May 2013

By Robin Laurence

MADE IN CALGARY: THE 1960s Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Feb 23-Apr 28 This exhibition is the first of a year-long series examining the character and evolution of Calgary’s art community from 1960 to 2000. Guest-curator Mary-Beth LaViolette revisits a decade of social and cultural change, when the city almost doubled in size and artists embraced traditional art forms in new, vibrant and occasionally controversial ways. Media represented include printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting and textiles, with artists ranging from Marion Nicoll and Janet Mitchell to John Hall and Greg Arnold. Look, too, for work by First Nations artists Gerald Tailfeathers and Alex Janvier.

DAVID JANZEN: TRANSFER STATION Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Mar 9-Jun 16 Janzen’s series of landscape paintings poses heaps of broken furniture and rows of junked appliances against misty and mountainous vistas suggestive of the Romantic sublime. Basing his imagery on his photographs and sketches he made of landfill sites across Alberta, the artist beguiles us with the beauty of his technique while confronting us with evidence of the impact we are having on our natural environment.

BARBARA TIPTON Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton, Apr 6-Jul 2 This Calgary-based ceramic artist pushes the sculptural and material boundaries of her medium. Working with the basic forms of the cup and saucer, she experiments with slab-built and hands-free, wheel-thrown techniques, rapidly improvising shapes in wet clay, and later building up layers of glaze to create unexpected colours and textures. “I’m constantly on the lookout,” the artist writes, “for something that seems to ring true as an expression, a sidelong glance, a dim remembrance.”

OSCAR CAHÉN: CANADA'S GROUNDBREAKING ILLUSTRATOR Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Apr 6-Jun 2 Oscar Cahén is one of Canada’s leading mid-20th century abstractionists and a member of Toronto’s avant-garde group of artists, Painters Eleven. This exhibition, however, examines his extraordinarily accomplished illustrations, produced between 1931 and 1954. The brilliance of this work is underscored by the turbulent circumstances of Cahén’s tragically short life. Born and trained in Europe, he fled Nazi persecution, only to land as an “enemy alien” in an internment camp in Canada. Released in 1942, he lived in Montreal and then in Toronto, and was just hitting his stride as an artist when he was killed in a car accident in 1956 at the age of 40.

MARIE LANNOO Newzones, Calgary, May 11-Jun 29 This Saskatchewan-based artist builds up many translucent layers of brilliantly coloured paint to create abstractions whose surfaces shift and shimmer, reflecting light and mirroring the viewer. Suggestions of human presence float above the seemingly liquid depths of Lannoo’s work, challenging our perceptions of light, colour, and dimensionality and confounding our understanding of the relationship between abstraction and representation.

Made in Calgary
Made in Calgary

David Janzen
David Janzen

Barbara Tipton
Barbara Tipton

Oscar Cahén
Oscar Cahén

Marie Lannoo
Marie Lannoo

 Thu, Apr 4, 2013