The Department of Art is committed to the study and practice of the visual arts as these relate to creative art making, educational practice and theory, and the understanding of art in its diverse historical and cultural settings. The U of C produces graduates well equipped to meet the numerous overlapping skills currently demanded within professional art practice and theoretical discourse.
The Department of Art congratulates all of the Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates who received their degrees at the June 10th, 2015, convocation ceremony! We also extend congratulations to Megumi Yamamoto who was awarded the Silver Medallion of Art (each year, the Silver Medallion is awarded by every Department or Program to the student graduating with the highest academic distinction).
Adjunct professor with the Department of Art, Jeffrey Spalding, has been appointed Senior Curator of New Brunswick’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Spalding is a curator, educator and writer. His art is exhibited by a number Canadian museums, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Spalding has taught art at Florida State University, York University, the University of Lethbridge and The Banff Centre; he organized Canada's art exhibition for Expo 93 Korea and has authored works for exhibitions at prestigious museums including the Tate Gallery, Russia’s Hermitage Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Spalding is a recipient of the Order of Canada (2007); he received the award for his efforts in championing Canadian artists, notably as a curator who has developed popular and critical exhibitions that have attracted new audiences to Canadian art galleries.
Two Department of Art instructors, Bob Kelly and Jim Parker, have been nominated for the Student’s Union Teaching Excellence Award (Winter 2015). Kelly was nominated by the students in his Art 393 (Applied Concepts in Art with Adolescents) class while Jim received the nomination from his Art 321 (Net Art: Theory and Practice) class - congratulations to both of you! The Teaching Excellence Award winners will be announced at the end of April.
Biljana Arnautovic, the Department of Art’s Graduate Program Administrator, also holds the same position in the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures (LCC). The exceptional work done by Biljana and three of her LCC office colleagues has been acknowledged by a Faculty of Arts Outstanding Staff Recognition Award. Biljana will receive her award at a reception on May 4. Congratulations Biljana!
Printmaker Charles Heine will be honoured in a retrospective exhibition from March 2 to 6, 2015, at the Department of Art’s Little Gallery. When Heine's wife, Elaine Dixson, contacted the Department of Art to ask if anyone was interested in acquiring printmaking materials and a press that belonged to her late husband, art professor Bill Laing didn’t hesitate. “This is an important donation to the university,” explains Laing. “Our current presses have been heavily used for more than 40 years. This addition was very welcome. It is one of the better presses and the students are very excited to use it.”
Laing took his students to Heine’s studio and says “The students were excited to see the studio and prints, and started to research Heine’s creation process; It raised the bar for them to try to do that.“
Heine immigrated to Canada in 1960 from the Netherlands. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and member of the Guild of Designers and Illustrators in Holland, he found work in Calgary as the art director for the newly established television station, CFCN, a position he held for his entire career. For a number of years, Heine served as chair of the Advisory Committee at the Alberta College of Art (now ACAD), where he became a part-time student in the printmaking program, achieving his lifelong dream of learning the art of etching. After retiring from CFCN, Heine focused on printmaking.
“He loved nature and patterns,” explains Laing; “the patterns he created are incredible and have great depth and I think it’s because of the process of aquatint.” Aquatint is a technique that involves a metal plate, acid and an acid-resisting ground. The density of the tone is determined by how long the plate is left in the acid. The plate can be dipped again and again, with small changes in between, which makes it a very laborious process.
Laing and his students wanted to express their appreciation for the donation and decided to organize an exhibition to showcase Heine’s work. The exhibition has a major educational component and is a unique and valuable opportunity for students. On the one hand, they are learning how to select prints, as well as set up and take down an exhibition. On the other hand, the exhibition will analyze the creation process of some works. “There will be original drawings, then the metal plate, followed by consecutive prints that slowly change,” explains Laing; “It’s interesting to see the evolution of the idea behind the artist’s work, instead of just seeing the final image.”
There will be an opening reception in the LIttle Gallery (Art Building, room 604) on March 3 at 5:30 p.m., with notes by Elaine Dixson.
(The text for this piece was adapted from a story by Aurélie Maerten, Faculty of Arts.)
Alumnus of the Department of Art, Leya Russell, is one of 10 finalists competing for the title of 2015 VISTEK Emerging Photographer hosted by Exposure Photography Festival. Based in Calgary, the B.F.A. Visual Studies graduate has been creating and exhibiting images from a young age and is currently showing with Alberta Foundation of the Arts; Russell is also a thriving wedding and portrait photographer and has traveled extensively to countries such as India, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Tibet and Nepal.
Graduating in 2011 with a primary focus in printmaking and photography, Russell says she owes her success to the great instruction that she received at the U of C; “my time there was one of the best periods of my life. Access to fantastic instructors like Bill Laing and Clyde McConnell, coupled with amazing studios in which to work, pushed me to reach my potential and fully explore my artistic sensibilities”.
Exposure is a registered non-profit established by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies to encourage the broader community to consciously examine, question and appreciate the medium of photography. Exposure will award a major prize to the 2015 VISTEK Emerging Photographer on February 27 at the Endeavor Art Gallery. (For more information, go to http://www.exposurephotofestival.com/competition.html)
Current Department of Art student Samantha Jones is also a top 10 Finalist in the 2015 VISTEK Emerging Photographer competition. Jones, a 4th year student in the Visual Studies program, is interested in photography and wildlife. Her photographs show a passion for nature with colourful shots that connect the viewer to the outdoors; with each photograph, Jone's intent is to capture an emotion or story with and involving nature, inspiring the collective imagination of the audience.
For Jones, the Department of Art’s drawing and photography courses are inspiring and they have allowed her to improve, explore and develop her own artistic style. She is interested in pursuing the study of animation following graduation from the Visual Studies Program.
B.F.A. graduate Katie Green’s first solo exhibition opens at ArtPoint Gallery & Studios Society on January 9, 2015. “In Stillness” is inspired by Green’s recent journey paddling the Peel River in the Northern Yukon exploring her relationship with the outdoors and her evolving awareness of how her artistic practice intersects with the natural world. Green graduated from the Department of Art’s Visual Studies program earlier this year. “In Stillness” runs until January 31; ArtPoint Gallery & Studios Society is located at 1139 Adelaide Street S.E.
Department of Art alumnus, Melanie Wilmink, has received one of the University of York’s most prestigious awards. Currently a doctoral student in York’s Art History and Visual Culture program, Wilmink is one of only three recipients out of 1,800 to receive the Elia Scholarship valued at $30,000 per year. Wilmink describes her research as "the meeting points between academic and artistic practice and examines conjunctions between space, architecture and media art, asking: how does architecture influence the way audiences engage with media art, and how does embodiment in the space and time of an artwork create an active spectator?" Wilmink graduated in 2007 from the Department of Art’s Visual Studies program.
The Epson International Pano Awards is dedicated to the art of panoramic photography and showcases the work of photographers worldwide and is the largest competition for panoramic photography.
In June 2015, Gadbois will teach a Study Abroad course in Hawaii which will focus on 360 photography. The course is a collaboration with the University of Calgary’s Centre for International Students and Study Abroad and The International Center at the University of Hawaii.
Master of Fine Arts alumna, Chika Modum, is one of the artists represented at New York’s Richard Taittinger Gallery’s exhibit “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”, a summer showcase of works by a group of contemporary artists from Africa. “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?” celebrates the growing acceptance of African artists on the global stage and at the same time, seeks to give them exposure in New York. The exhibition (July 16 – August 23, 2015) introduces the work of thirteen artists who have exhibited around the world but are not well known to the New York art audience.
Modum explores photographic images of skin on fabric collected from different racial and social spaces and fashioned into garments and accessories. Investigating the relationships between pieces of apparel, she illuminates ideas of cohabitation, segregation, dominance and submission, at the same time highlighting the intricacy of identity interpretations and social labeling. The garments are then forced into generic shadow-boxes, as non-specific as an empty canvas or the ‘white cube’. These mass-produced boxes become a representation of societal molds of conformity, as if pre-determined, anticipated and attainable - the sculpture forms become a mirror that the viewer can peer into. By framing the objects, Modum restricts the viewers from physically interacting with the pieces, giving them a single perspective to these 3-dimensional forms - limited visibility; she also preserves this view and presents it as the only story.
Modum, who graduated in 2013, is presently working and living in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
The Department of Art is pleased to present the next exhibition in our +15 exhibition space at the Arts Commons (formerly the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts). The exhibition, “Broken Hopes”, features work by B.F.A. graduate, Fariba Iranpour (Iranpour received her B.F.A. Visual Studies degree (with distinction) at the June 10th convocation ceremony).
Iranpour says that “’Broken Hopes’ explores my memories, life experiences, beliefs and feelings of relocating from Iran to Canada. Facing the difficult challenges of war and then immigration, many hopes I had as a young girl in Isfahan were shattered. Later I pieced together the remnants to continue a new life in a new country”.
The exhibit features a long tapestry, woven from different colors and scraps of fabric, that expresses both the joy and the difficulties of Iranpour’s life. “This piece unravels easily by pulling the bottom strip, becoming a wish that I could undo my life and erase unpleasant parts of it as easily as can be done with this work. Similarly, broken china cups, brought from my house in Iran, carry my memories. The china broke when I immigrated to Canada. I felt my life fall apart with the shattered pieces and by patching them together and constructing a new cup, I made my life into a different shape. Sand mosaics replicate the intricate patterns of Persian floors and ceilings, with these fragile versions able to be brushed away with one sweep.” Although her work conveys hardship and difficult memories, Iranpour aims to create art in a way that invokes peace within the viewer, rather than art that perpetuates anger in its representation.
“Broken Hopes” runs throughout June and July, with a closing reception at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 16th.
Linda Carreiro will present a solo exhibition of her work at the Center for Book Arts in New York City, opening on April 17, 2015. This show offers the opportunity to exhibit in a prestigious, international facility—-one of the oldest and most-renowned centres in the world dedicated to the production and presentation of contemporary artist’s books. The Center’s Curator, Alexander Campos, has invited Carreiro to prepare an exhibition for their Featured Artist Project series. These shows are targeted at individuals whose work is influenced by book art production or printmaking, but with a contemporary approach through installation or non-conventional book and print practice.
The artist has selected recent and newly created works for her exhibition, "Inside Out of Words"; the title derives from theorist Jacques Derrida’s idea of decentering language, which shifts and defers the meaning of words. Carreiro conveys text as something unfixed and malleable, a material that repositions outside the traditional "pages" of a book.
"Inside Out of Words" runs from April 17 to June 26, 2015; Carreiro will be in New York City for the opening reception on April 17 and will conduct an artist's talk on June 26.
image: Digest, hand-printed Sweetheart® conical cups, 2014-15.
"The patina of consonants", a solo exhibition by Linda Carreiro, begins March 12 at Harcourt House Gallery in Edmonton.
In "The Pleasure of the Text", language theorist Roland Barthes desires for written words to have the texture of their spoken counterparts. He imagines "a text where we can hear the grain of the throat, the patina of consonants, the voluptuousness of vowels." Building on this idea, Carreiro’s exhibition explores text as a sensuous, playful material, where such character emerges. Revealing the means by which words are fabricated, the exhibition traces emergent wordplay and the bodily imprint of making. Hand-done letterforms reveal imperfections and variations, showing text as malleable matter acted upon by the body. The visual movement of letters throughout the pieces conveys language as unfixed and manipulable, something formed and re-formed. Positioned in corners, near the floor or suspended from the ceiling, reading is experienced in an alternate way. "The patina of consonants" asks viewers to engage language as both conceptual and physical material, something embodied, sensate and shifting with each reader.
“The patina of consonants" opens on March 12 with an artist's talk at 8p.m; the exhibition runs until April 14 (Harcourt House Gallery is located at 10215-112 Street, Edmonton).
Paintings by recent M.F.A. graduate, William Downey, will be exhibited at Calgary's Christine Klassen Gallery, March 12 through April 18. Downey will be speaking about imagery and process at the opening reception for “Microcosms and Macrocosms” on March 14 at 2p.m.