2021 IN THE GALLERY
Arianna Richardson- New Materialisms
Garbage Party 2018
Performance and Installation
Hand-woven garbage bin, paracord, tinsel, vinyl, hardware mesh
10ft x 4ft x 2ft
Photo: Angeline Simon
I want to understand the many implications of the late-capitalist, hyper-consumptive society that we are embedded in: my practice and research revolve around the intersections between environmentalism, materiality, labour, agency, feminism, ubiquitous consumption, excessive decoration, and spectacle.
My work takes the form of interactive sculptures that mimic or modify everyday objects such as garbage cans, advertising signage, and absurdist consumer products. These objects are functional and require direct interaction with an audience for their completion. I frequently use feminized, hobby-craft techniques such as cross-stitching, knitting, embroidery, and sewing, introducing intensively laborious, hand-crafted production to vernacular objects that are typically mass-produced with great speed and efficiency. Aesthetically, my work pushes the boundaries of kitsch and maximalist, over-decoration.
I use performance in my work, adopting the pseudonym of The Hobbyist, to activate my created objects and act as a public face to spread a message of environmental awareness and agency. My performances are where I work through my own climate-crisis anxiety, frustration, and despair, creating an imaginary, handmade world in which humorous and absurd individual actions can make a difference against the gigantic environmental catastrophe we currently find ourselves in.
My sparkly, seemingly superficial aesthetic invites the viewer in to a difficult conversation, disarming their typical responses to a subject that makes us feel powerless and frustrated, making space for a consideration of our collective complicity in a system of destruction and oppression and ways that we might try to intervene and stimulate change.
Karen Campbell - (to hold)
My work is in response to my recent experience of critical illness, transition and recuperation. A range of material investigations circulate around my personal encounters with the medical and social institutions that manage an individual’s wellness, illness and mortality. I am interested in the implications of separating the ill subject from personal and social structures such as kinship, friends, pets and home while immersing her in medical and technological procedures that become surrogate community during protracted periods of treatment and convalescence.
My practice interrogates an expansive and performative art form. It includes working in a variety of formats using non-traditional materials, approaches and tools, while focusing on the process of making as both a material and immaterial pursuit. My work often engages ritualistic or repetitive acts such as scribbling, stamping, pouring, knotting, writing, and frottage, and uses the measure and reach of my own body to define the scale and scope of each work.
The accumulation of my practice is diverse, whether I am responding to my observations when immersed in landscape, contemplating environmental processes, exploring technology, or recording travels and events. In all of these instances my internalized perceptions are given form.
*Karen Campbells exhibition between my palms was scheduled to exhibit here March 2020. Unfortunately due to the shutdown we were unable to share their work. We look forward to hosting (to hold) in 2021.*
Drawn to Life: An Exhibition of Figure Drawing
Drawn to Life- an Exhibition of Figure Drawing featuring the work of Jim Palmer, Barbara Ball, Connie Blomgren, Mike Judd, Jillian Lynn Lawson, Curtis Stevens and Judy Trafford
This group exhibition features local work created right here in The Lebel Attic during The Allied Arts Figure Drawing Sessions. Originally scheduled for exhibition during the 2020 shutdown,we look forward to hosting Drawn To Life in 2021.
Julya Hajnoczky- Habitat
My artistic practice concerns a critical examination of human relationships with the natural world and how ecosystems are changing in our current era, which has been termed “The Anthropocene”, a period where the greatest impacts on the geology and ecosystems of the planet are caused by humans. A fascination with the fields of botany and biology, and an interest in traditional natural history practices drives my work.
Informed by scientific model-making practices and botanical illustration work, my multidisciplinary practice involves collecting materials following ethical foraging practices (plants, feathers, bones, fungi and lichen specimens, for example) from natural environments, or accessing museum collections for use as raw material in making work, and as reference material. I spend time researching ecosystems and the connections within them, particularly via site visits and consultation with scientists and lay experts. I study and document each landscape, making notes and photographing each site.
Some of the materials are used as the base for small sculptural works – diminutive cabins built onto driftwood, evoking sanctuary but also a rethinking of the size of the human footprint on the land. I also produce large-scale still life images using a high-resolution scanner as my camera: specimens collected during site visits are arranged on the glass, in groupings that serve to illustrate connections in Canadian ecosystems that may not be immediately apparent to a casual observer. In some locations I gather fungi to create spore prints on glass –scanned at high resolution, I consider the resulting photographs collaborative works between myself and the mushrooms and insects that move across the glass. The photographs, printed at a very large scale, allow the viewer to get an unusually close look at each object. The images are elegiac, dark, mourning, representing not contemporary specimens but rather, recontextualized, some last remaining pieces of a fragmented world, floating in the void.
Recently I've been exploring new media such as interactive lightboxes and large-scale projections as well, and continue to seek out new ways of exploring the critical issues of biodiversity loss and climate change, working with likeminded institutions and people to translate scientific knowledge into accessible, intriguing, relevant, and impactful artwork.
The concepts that I seek to explore with my work – encouraging a sense of wonder, interest, and respectful stewardship with regards to the natural environment – are becoming more and more relevant. It is with increasing unease that I observe developments in human behavior at home and abroad, at the individual and institutional level, that impact negatively on the continued functioning of the complex ecosystems that we humans are part of. I feel that
one of my roles as an artist is to interpret events around me and draw attention to matters of political, social, and environmental importance, and so my artistic practice aims to cultivate a deep attention to the details and intricacies of natural ecosystems, and to examine human relationships with the natural world. My pieces attempt to frame the work of plants and animals in terms that are easier for humans to understand, and potentially empathize or identify with. I hope to inspire a sense of wonder or fascination, and encourage the viewer to consider the energy and resources that go into the constant cycle of building and decay in complex environments and ecosystems.
Jan Appel- The Painted Story Of The Meat People
Through the medium of paint, Jan Appel investigates thematic questions regarding existence in the contemporary world. The Painted Story of The Meat People is an amalgamation of paintings inspired by mythologies that depict imagined moments and narratives of fictional characters.
The Meat People are invented figures created by the artist. These characters are at times doing banal activities, or some other moments dancing and playing instruments. Through the use of material exploration, storytelling and world-building, Jan is exploring his relationship with mortality, impermanence, toxic masculinity and what it means to live and have a human experience.
Janifer Calvez- Earth, Wind & Sky
I live in a place where the skies are magnificent, the views of mountains and land around us change daily, and the wind can whisper gently or take your breath away. That wind has also been known to blow so hard that you can’t stand up. This set of paintings is inspired by my travels through southern Alberta. My hope is to capture these moments of magic and convey the feeling of movement and grandeur. Some of the paintings also indicate human presence and depict how humans fit into the landscape.
This year of the pandemic saw droves of people getting outside walking, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, skiing and discovering our own beautiful landscapes, learning how to interact with nature, clean up after themselves, and connect with their surroundings. The benefits of being in nature became apparent as worries were lifted, energy restored, reminding us to be present and mindful in the moment.
I believe people take care of what they know and love and my hope is to capture the magic in the normal of our everyday lives and convey the importance of our connection to our natural surroundings.