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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | June – August 2013

By Robin Laurence

KENT MONKMAN: THE BIG FOUR Glenbow Museum, Calgary, May 25-Aug 18 The title of this installation refers to both “The Big Four” financial backers of the first Calgary Stampede and the symbolic significance that the four cardinal points play in the cosmology and belief systems of many First Nations peoples, including the Blackfoot of southern Alberta. Toronto-based artist Kent Monkman, who is of Cree and Irish descent, uses four “junker” automobiles as display cases for video works, “native-themed collectables,” and objects drawn from the collection of the Glenbow Museum.

SOPHIA BARTHOLOMEW: WINDOW DRESSING The New Gallery +15 Window, Calgary, May 28-Jul 27 This intriguing window installation is derived from the artist’s extended performance of sequentially wearing 382 text-printed T-shirts. Donning a different tee-shirt every day for more than a year, in a project titled make yourself a version, Bartholomew created a self-transforming series of narratives which are now reinterpreted in the form on an installation. Based in Fredericton, NB, she describes herself as “a bourgeois parasite who wants to live in her own head all of the time.”

BLAINE CAMPBELL AND MEGAN WILSON: CHASE The New Gallery, Calgary, Jun 7-Jul 20 The subject of Chase, a collaborative video installation, is the 1,000-pound Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier that hangs in Vancouver’s ornate Orpheum Theatre. During the video, the chandelier’s lights glow, pulse and darken through a continuously repeating on-off cycle. Its multi-faceted components catch and refract light, creating different abstract shapes and patterns, and, when darkness ensues, enabling a space for dreamy contemplation.

ROBERT LEMAY: FLOWER Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Jun 8-22 Acclaimed for his lush, photo-realist paintings of still life subjects, Edmonton-based artist Robert Lemay has spent the past winter depicting “large, colourful flowers and bright, clean space.” He has stripped the still life down to explore contrasts between simplicity and complexity, fragility and strength, light and darkness. Painted in extreme close-up in subtle states of decline and decay, Lemay’s flowers possess potent presence and symbolism.

MARK NEUFELD: PERFORMANCE WITH TWO SCULPTURES Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Jun 27-Sep 8 Skating between and among media – from painting to sculpture to performance – Mark Neufeld focuses our attention on “western vernacular.” Using two bronze sculptures by cowboy artist Frederic Remington as his point of departure, Neufeld employs small oil paintings, assemblages of found objects, and a scripted performance for local actors to address the persistent idea of “the frontier” and “the Wild West.” References also include John Ford westerns and geological data to additionally “probe at questions of place, time and repetition.”

Kent Monkman
Kent Monkman

Sophia Bartholomew
Sophia Bartholomew

Blaine Campbell
Blaine Campbell

Robert Lemay
Robert Lemay

Mark Neufeld
Mark Neufeld

 Thu, Jun 6, 2013