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The Works Art & Design Festival 2005

27 Sites in Downtown Edmonton
June 24 – July 6, 2005

Donna Szoke - reasonable & senseless

Annual Members’ Exhibit, Harcourt House Art Centre [The Works Festival, Edmonton AB, Jun 24-Jul 6, mon-sun 10am-8pm]

The year was 1981, the heyday of government spending in the arts was coming to an end but the creativity of artists and designers would not be denied. A handful of Albertans came together to form The Works International Visual Arts Society, dedicated to promoting, stimulating and presenting art and design in Canada.

Five years later, driven by the desire to offer artists and audiences a unique forum for the free exchange of ideas, the Society unveiled The Works Art & Design Festival. Over the next two decades artists and designers from every continent were presented in over 600 exhibits placed in unconventional spaces – vacant retail spaces, parkways, storefront windows – to an audience of more than 46 million.

Bird of Prey

Tivador Bote, Final Man-Bird Shot, Citadel Theatre, mon-sun 10am-8pm [The Works Festival, Edmonton AB, Jun 24-Jul 6]

The Works Festival runs from June 24 to July 6, animating one square mile of Edmonton’s downtown core with free exhibitions, performances, an outdoor artist market, live music on stage and art-making programs for the whole family. Always international in flavour and sometimes controversial, The Works has consistently presented dynamic exhibitions and performances.

In 1990, Gu Xiong performed Enclosures – a piece that spoke to the political chaos in China at the time. Afraid for his family, Xiong never used his real name; instead, he presented under the pseudonym “Mr. China”. In 1991, The Works presented the Names Project Quilt, an emotionally charged exhibit featuring the names of countless North Americans who had died from AIDS. In 2003, Order of Canada recipient Iain Baxter presented Techno Compost, an interactive installation that incorporated technological garbage into an evolving artwork.

Going beyond art exhibitions, The Works provides artists, designers and lovers of art an opportunity to exchange ideas and dialogue directly with one another. Since its inception, The Works has offered free lectures and artist interchanges that feature speakers from around the world discussing a wide variety of topics from images of death in art, to how anti-pornography legislation affects artists, to the latest technologies in new media.

In celebration of the many successes of The Works Society, the 2005 Festival includes a retrospective exhibit showcasing selections from the Society’s substantial collection and works by previously exhibited artists such as: Douglas Clark, Jane Ash Poitras, Louis de Niverville, David Ostrem, and Sandra Bromley.

Another highlight of the Festival is Lest We Forget, featuring 24 prominent Canadian graphic designers responding to the subjects of war, anti-war and peace. The Works proudly presents the final works of Garry J. William in Atavism. Each large sculpture features a lidded ceramic vessel topped by a bronze-cast endangered animal that is indigenous to Alberta. The Works remembers another dear friend who passed away in 2004 with Joseph Reeder – A Tribute. Reeder was one of Alberta’s most inspirational and spiritually charged art educators.

Morita – Bubble

Gerry Morita and Izumi Kuribayshi, Morita atomic bubble is Flotsam; two performances of at Edmonton City Hall: Jul 3, 2pm and Jul 4, 7:15pm [The Works Festival, Edmonton AB, Jun 2-Jul 6]

This year Charles Wissinger returns to curate an exhibition of international contemporary ceramics and Orest Semchishen exhibits a selection of his photographs in celebration of Alberta’s Centennial: images of Byzantine churches, Hutterite colonies, grain elevators and members of Aboriginal, Chinese, Sikh and Japanese communities.

Other festival highlights include: Bandicoot Heaven, the ceramics of Order of Canada recipient Jack Sures; Talking Stick Art, aboriginal paintings by April Mercredi; digitally manipulated, large-scale photographs by Ric Kotovich in Water Lilies. In 3 Spirits from China, three painters born in the Jangsu Province reflect on how their culture has been influenced by other artists.

A special symposium on new media and sound installation is presented by The Works and the Boreal Electroacoustic Music Society entitled Sea of Sound. Four installations featuring wind-driven sounds, computer-actuated harps and a room with walls that act like soundboards will be complimented by a series of performances, workshops and artist talks.

Fans of performance art will enjoy Bill Demur’s amusing Pas de Deux: Mechanique that pairs a Bobcat machine with a ballet dancer; Flotsam by Gerry Morita, a futuristic dance set within a polyethylene plastic bubble and Mask by Amy Loewan and Yayoi Hirano featuring wooden masks, unique costumes and traditional Japanese dance.


Rae Cowley

Donna Szoke - reasonable & senseless

Amy Loewan, exhibition at the Red Strap Market, Jun 24-Jul 6, tue-sun 11am-5pm; two performances, also at The Red Strap Market, Jun 24, 4pm and Jun 27, 7pm [The Works Festival, Edmonton AB, Jun 24-Jul 6]

All material © 1996–2006  Sat, Jun 11, 2005