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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | April/May 2017

By Robin Laurence

CITIZENS OF CRAFT Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton, Jan 21-Apr 22 This show spotlights the Citizens of Craft website and features the work of 15 ACC members who participate there. The website is described as “a community of makers, appreciators, admirers and shoppers.” It is a national initiative of provincial and territorial craft councils dedicated to bringing together diverse voices from across the country and celebrating that diversity, rather than nailing down a definition of “craft.” Expect the exceptional.

JUDE GRIEBEL: ESTRANGED SETTING Esker Foundation, Calgary, Jan 30-Apr 23 Two mixed-media sculptures by Jude Griebel are installed within an “immersive” painted environment that seems to fold the viewer and the viewed into the same dimension. Bird Factory poses cartoonish chickens in a structure that “hovers between” biomorphic and industrial forms. In Trawl, “an overburdened fishing net assumes the shape of a human body.” Both works challenge us to consider the darker aspects of food production and the impact of human overconsumption on the natural world.

CANADIAN STORIES: THE VIEW FROM HERE Glenbow, Calgary, Mar 4-May 22 Drawn from Glenbow’s art collection, this exhibition takes Canada’s 150th birthday as an opportunity to reflect on aspects of our country’s history and character — from a particularly western Canadian point of view. Artworks by more than 30 historic and contemporary artists are included here, from watercolour sketches of the Blackfoot and North-West Mounted Police camps at the signing of Treaty 7 to Edward Burtynsky’s spectacular and unsettling photographs of human-altered landscape.

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Mar 11-Apr 29 In this group show, five Medicine Hat artists have responded to the theme “when we were young,” within the context of Steven Rose’s assertion that memory “defines who we are and shapes the way we act more closely than any other single aspect of our personhood.” Susan Knight, Safira Lachapelle, Jessica Plattner, Wendy Struck and Kat Valenzuela bring diverse approaches and media to their recall of the days of their youth.

PILAR MEHLIS: CURRENT INTERLOPER Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, Apr 6-May 6 Born in New York City, raised in La Paz, Bolivia and Whitehorse, Yukon, and educated in La Paz, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle, Pilar Mehlis has spent a goodly portion of her life migrating between places and cultures. Her new body of work, which includes both paintings and sculptures, features hybrid images of humans and fish. The fish are Chinook salmon, whose migratory patterns, Mehlis says, echo her own “trajectories up and down the Pacific Coast.”

Jean-Claude and Talar Prefontaine
Jean-Claude and Talar Prefontaine

Jude Griebel
Jude Griebel

Diana Thorneycraft
Diana Thorneycraft

Jessica Plattner
Jessica Plattner

Pilar Mehlis
Pilar Mehlis

 Tue, Apr 4, 2017