Earth to Eternity & Landscape to Land Use
Samantha Walrod, Warm Grey + Red Radial, 2018, painted collage on wood panel. Art Gallery of Alberta Collection, purchased with funds from the John and Maggie Mitchell Endowment Fund.

Earth to Eternity & Landscape to Land Use

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, AB - To Oct 6 & June 15, 2024 – Jan 26, 2025

by Lissa Robinson

Art emerges as an ideal platform for reimagining and repairing humanity’s shifting relationship with nature in new exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Alberta. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the AGA presents a series of exhibitions to showcase over 100 Alberta artists in its permanent collection.

According to the AGA, “Many of the works in the exhibitions are rooted in conceptions of time.” Some works signify change or movement through snapshots or sequential events such as seasonal shifts, erosion or repetition. Or by entangling viewers in different sensory, material, and imaginary temporalities and spaces.

Earth to Eternity features a diversity of artwork beginning with organic, earthbound observations like Samantha Walrod’s painting Warm Grey + Red Radial, moving through altered landscapes, and finally arriving at works of pure abstraction that allude to universal truths and the subliminal. For example, Ihor Dmytruk’s repetitive geometric painting #14 uses patterns and the grid to organize space, colour and time, luring viewers to optically navigate the space.

In contrast, Landscape to Land Use offers viewers a glimpse into how humans “live on, with, and take away from the land over time.” Some works capture urban and rural life in Alberta while others showcase the province’s diverse territories, from its rugged boreal forest to the great plains and majestic Rocky Mountains. From there, nature is juxtaposed against human interventions with works that explore how the landscape has been altered or deeply scarred through colonialism, capitalism, catastrophic events and potential dystopias.

One powerful work is Lubicon (1988), created by Indigenous artist Alex Janvier during the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation conflict over resource extraction in traditional territory. What began as Janvier’s signature white ground painting has been obliterated by a fierce red that conveys his mounting rage over the land dispute. Both exhibitions offer an impressive range of contemporary approaches to nature, artifice and the sublime while providing a valuable opportunity to view these works from the collection in a new and intriguing context.

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