Citizens of Craft
Alberta Craft Gallery, Calgary AB – Through Sep 23, 2017
By Michael Turner
Among the recurring conversations that characterize the art of our time is the false dichotomy that pits art against craft. In a statement announcing the inaugural exhibition of the Calgary location of the Alberta Craft Gallery, organizers address the question head-on by asking “other provincial and territorial craft councils to unify, to stop trying to define craft and to instead celebrate its diversity.”
The gallery’s emphasis on “diversity” over the inevitable hierarchies that result from attempts to define a work as “art” or “craft” mirrors an emergent contemporary art (and culture) conversation that dispenses with predetermined ideas of artist and viewer in favour of a relational or participatory subject. Here, too, the gallery has addressed the situation: “If you respect the original, the creative, the personal and the authentic – you are a Citizen.”
Included in this exhibition are citizen artists who hail mostly from Alberta’s bigger cities. Jackie Anderson, Evelyn Grant, Terri Millinoff, Sung Nam Kim, Jill Nuckles, Jean-Claude and Talar Prefontaine, Dena Seiferling and Laura Sharpare from Calgary; Holly Boone, Kenton Jeske, Brenda Philp and Brenda Raynard are from Edmonton; Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur are from Red Deer; and Julia Reimer is from the town of Black Diamond.