By Robin Laurence
CERAMICA BOTANICA: A CONSTANT AND MISGUIDED OPTIMISM
Alberta Craft Discovery Gallery, Edmonton. To Apr 18
Alberta artist Bridget Fairbank combines ceramics, painting and installation to challenge viewers’ understanding of the everyday. In this exhibition, her ceramic tiles ask us to consider the place in the local ecosphere of the common plant forms she depicts. She references both indigenous and invasive species, from Indian paintbrush to saskatoon berries, and from honeysuckle to goldenrod, to call up their associations, past and present, and to question our mutual struggle for survival in the future.
TAPE 158: NEW DOCUMENTS FROM THE ARCHIVES
TRUCK Contemporary Art, Calgary. To Apr 25
Kandis Friesen’s mixed-media installation, which includes five-channel video, found objects and text, muses on the ways the body registers cultural identity, notions of nationhood and the passing of time. Friesen builds her work on the foundation of a videotape she encountered in the Mennonite Heritage Archives in Winnipeg. Shot 25 years ago in a small village in southeastern Ukraine, the original tape provides the artist with the occasion to revisit the site and probe its architectural and narrative forms.
PAT SERVICE: A LARGER SILENCE
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art, Calgary. To Apr 25
This new series of landscape paintings from Vancouver artist Pat Service represents both a road trip and a shift in palette. Hills, mountains and highways are rendered in gently fl owing forms and subtle earth tones – and a deep, embracing silence is evoked. Clouds drift across the sky and haystacks occasionally dot the landscape as Service recalls, in her painting studio, the shapes and shades encountered on her journey. “Colour, line, texture and composition are the players,” she writes in her statement.
CORNELIA HAHN OBERLANDER: GENIUS LOCI
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. May 2 – Aug 9
This celebration of Canada’s most esteemed landscape architect includes photographs, drawings and architectural plans related to 14 projects undertaken by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander over her long career. The show focuses on four areas in which the Vancouver-based Oberlander, who was born in Germany and educated at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, has distinguished herself: playgrounds, social housing, large public projects and smaller residential commissions. All reveal her philosophy of bringing the natural and built environments into harmonious accord.
ENCLOSING SOME SNAPSHOTS: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF JAMES BRADY Glenbow, Calgary. From Mar 21
James Patrick Brady was a political activist, writer, trapper, prospector – and photographer. Born in Strathcona, Alberta, in 1908, Brady began advocating for the Métis people of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan at a time, Sherry Farrell Racette has written, when they were “vulnerable to land loss and displacement.” Brady founded a number of Métis organizations and helped inspire the Métis’ political resurgence. Travelling extensively throughout Western Canada, he used his camera to document the daily lives and extraordinary resilience of his people.