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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | April – May 2015

By Robin Laurence

LANGUAGE OF CRAFT Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton, Apr 4-Jul 4 This big and energetic group exhibition has been organized as part of Craft Year, a nationwide festival that promotes the importance of craft in Canadian culture. From Tara Owen’s brass and black agate neckpiece with its underlying references to “bodily intelligence,” to Noriko Masuda’s elegant ceramics that engage with ideas of mass production, and Kaarina Talvila’s purses exquisitely executed in silk, plastic tubing and fusible fleece, the show examines the many and complex meanings of “craft.”

MICHAEL BATTY & JEFFREY SPALDING: ALONG MODERNIST LINES Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Apr 18-May 2 In his recent series of process-based paintings, Jeffrey Spalding has created multiple-layered, vertically striped “colour thoughts” that also function as a register of the national and international residencies in which they’ve been made. Michael Batty’s new paintings employ different arrangements of similar compositional elements – long, slender strokes of colour on bare white grounds – to explore formal and kinetic problems while also bringing ideas of order and chaos, separation and connection into play.

THE DOUBLE BIND Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, May 2-Sep 13 Subtitled “Conversations between Modernism and Post-modernism,” this show pairs works from the first movement with works whose images, forms and ideas correspond with the second. By mounting the art of Brian Jungen alongside that of Barbara Hepworth, Arlene Stamp beside Kenneth Noland, and Jeffrey Spalding with Jules Olitski (among others from the AGA’s collection), the show’s organizers invite us to think about correspondences, differences and the possibility that Postmodernism does not simply critique Modernism, but “completes it.”

CATHY DALEY Newzones, Calgary, May 9-Jun 27 Twirling skirts, high-heeled shoes, dancing legs and ribbons of swirly gesture characterize Cathy Daley’s recent drawings. Below the surface of these “giddy” and exuberant images, worked in black oil pastel on white vellum, is a subtext asking us to consider how ideas of gender are constructed in Western society. Childhood memories of Barbie dolls and ballerinas’ tutus, together with the influences of contemporary fashion and advertising, contribute to the notions of femininity explored by this Toronto-based artist.

ELIZABETH BARNES: ENDLESS MURMURING Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, May 9-30 The hard-edge paintings of Vancouver artist Elizabeth Barnes point to abstraction’s recent energetic resurgence. In her exhibition statement, Barnes aligns her new work with the art movements of the late 1960s, when minimal and optical painting moved “away from romantic notions of transcendence and unattainable utopias, towards a…hovering connection with the real world via the realm of human perception.” Barnes also challenges herself “to create a situation in which the viewer might experience the work as embodied sound or vibration.”

Tara Owen
Tara Owen

Michael Batty
Michael Batty

Claude Tousignant
Claude Tousignant

Cathy Daley
Cathy Daley

Elizabeth Barnes
Elizabeth Barnes

 Tue, Apr 7, 2015