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 Back  Vignettes | Alberta | June – August, 2012

By Robin Laurence

ALEX JANVIER The Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, May 18-Aug 19 This retrospective celebrates one of Canada’s most distinguished senior artists. Over 90 paintings and drawings illuminate the ways in which Janvier has drawn on his Dene Suline and Saulteaux background and his study of art history, in evolving his figurative and abstract motifs and his “signature, curvilinear style”. In recent years Janvier has incorporated increasingly political messages into his paintings, as well as allusions to the Aboriginal Group of Seven.

JAMES LUMSDEN Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, May 26-Jun 30 New abstractions by Scottish painter James Lumsden take their theme and titles – such as Contrapuntal and Fugue – from the rhythms and movements of music. Evolving from his earlier series, Liquid Light, they create atmosphere and luminosity by building up what the artist calls “chromatic strata” – multiple translucent glazes of colour, thinned with gloss medium and manipulated to create engaging textures and a sense of depth and dynamism.

CHARLIE RUSSELL AND THE FIRST CALGARY STAMPEDE Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Jun 2-Jul 29 How better to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede than with the art of that most iconic of cowboy artists? The Montana-based Russell (1864-1926) had exhibited 20 paintings, to enormous acclaim, at the first Stampede in 1912. Now 17 of those original works have been gathered to commemorate the event. Look for Russell’s characteristically vigourous depictions of cowboy and aboriginal life and culture, played out against magnificent western landscapes.

MARCUS COATES: STORIES FROM THE LOWER WORLD Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Jun 22-Sep 9 The three films on view document extraordinary performances by this London-based artist as he inserts himself into socially and politically charged locales and situations. While addressing, for instance, the eviction of the elderly from a condemned housing estate in Liverpool, Coates assumes the role of a shaman, bedecked in the head and hide of a stag or the feathers of a bird. He plays the ridiculous off the heart-felt, and ancient tribal ritual against contemporary contexts of conflict and displacement.

LANDWASH: CONTEMPORARY NEWFOUNDLAND ART Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Jun 23-Aug 11 The title of this show, “landwash”, means “the seashore between high and low tide marks” or “washed by the sea” – and this place and condition are well addressed by artists as diverse as David Blackwood, Will Gill, Christine Koch and The Shed Collective who created The Dark Night of the Ugly Stick, a mixed-media installation that replicates Newfoundland’s vernacular architecture, the shed. This humble rural structure serves as a metaphor for a passing way of life, and as a theatre for a short film lamenting the losses associated with this passing.

Alex Janvier
Alex Janvier

James Lumsden
James Lumsden

Charlie Russell
Charlie Russell

Marcus Coates
Marcus Coates

The Shed Collective
The Shed Collective

 Mon, Jun 4, 2012