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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.

Announcements and Events

  • The Department of Art’s annual Print Sale will be held October 26th to October 28th from 11a.m. to 2p.m. in the 621 Gallery (6th floor of the Art Building); all prints are $25 each.  This is a fund-raising event for Art students and your opportunity to purchase original art work at a reasonable price.  See you there!

  • The Department of Art congratulates Jean Rene Leblanc for receiving a GREATsupervisor Award 2015 based on his outstanding work with graduate students.  The GREATsupervisor award is part of the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ supervisory development program which supports supervisors who offer high-quality mentorship to graduate students; the program provides the specific support and tools that supervisors and graduate students need for building the foundations of a strong mentor/mentee relationship. 


  • The Department of Art is sad to announce that our colleague Paul Woodrow passed peacefully away Friday, July 24, 2015, surrounded by his immediate family.

    Paul received his teaching certificate from the University of Leeds in 1966, and then completed an art diploma at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design), and a master's degree from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia). His career with the University of Calgary began in the early 1970s with a sessional position that developed into a continuing position in 1975.

    Paul's creativity was wide ranging: from music, painting and printmaking to performance, video, and installation. He collaborated on projects with Iain Baxter, Clive Robertson, Hervé Fischer, Mireille Perron, and more recently with Alan Dunning and Dr. Morley Hollenberg, of the Faculty of Medicine. His work was included in international exhibitions at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Gallery. Paul’s creative achievements were recognized in the Art Gallery of Alberta’s exhibition, Traffic in Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980, and in the Glenbow Museum’s recent Made in Calgary exhibitions.

    Paul was a tireless mentor to graduate and undergraduate students, and leaves a remarkable legacy of encouragement and passion for their work. His collaborative spirit helped shape the department, and he will be deeply missed as both colleague and friend. A celebration of his life and an exhibition of his work will be held on September 22.

  • Jeffrey Spalding is one of five prominent Canadian artists who will provide insights on the role of the arts in Canada for a panel titled “The Arts in Canada – Where Next?”.  The panellists, who come from a diversity of disciplines, will discuss the arts in society, individual artistic development, training of emerging artists, public support and funding for the arts and prospects for young artists in Canada in the 21st century.  “The Arts in Canada – Where Next?” event is being held in conjunction with the launch of the Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP) on September 26.  SSNAP was established to recognize, showcase and publicize the accomplishments of Canadian visual art.  In this inaugural year, SSNAP will offer $25,000 worth of awards, to be chosen by an independent jury from across Canada.  Original works will be exhibited and for sale at Mahon Hall from September 25 to October 26, 2015. 

    An artist, author and curator, Spalding holds the position of adjunct professor with the Department of Art.

  • 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).

  • Department of Art adjunct professor 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.)

Upcoming Events

Date & Time:
October 16, 2015 | 10:00 am - 11:30 am

John Hartman will talk about his work as part of the Visiting Artist and Scholar Series. All are welcome.

Date & Time:
October 23, 2015 | 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Derek Besant will talk about his work as part of the Visiting Artist and Scholar Series. All are welcome.

Date & Time:
October 26, 2015 - 11:00 am to October 28, 2015 - 2:00 pm

The art department's annual print sale is back!

Faculty and Student Exhibitions in Calgary and Around the World

  •  The Department of Art is pleased to announce its current exhibition at our +15 exhibition space at the Arts Commons (formerly the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts). “Knitted Mirage” is a collaborative piece by Tara Vahab and Najmeh Moheb, recent graduates from the University of Calgary’s B.F.A. program.

    Made out of twisted, woven newspaper, Knitted Mirage” makes reference to our society’s reliance on the media and on daily information fed to us. Information is stored in our brains in the form of twisted strings; by knitting this newspaper into a large web, the exhibit suggests how the information can take shape and dimension, growing into something other than the source. The unreadable newspaper becomes a comment about our continued belief in history and everyday life, even when only fragments of the whole story are revealed. Creating a web-like curtain, this mass of information becomes a mirage that society feeds us, one that we try to peer into for a better understanding of reality, mindset and beliefs.

     “Knitted Mirage” runs from August 4th until September 30th, 2015; the closing reception takes place on Thursday, September 17th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. The +15 exhibition space is located in the walkway of Arts Commons, across from Olympic Plaza.

  • Two works by Denis Gadbois, instructor in the Department of Art, will be featured in Open Image 2015, an exhibition at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from August 15 to September 27, 2015.  Gadbois’ photosphere photographs include “Wan Chai Survivor Tree” and “Macau Painting”; both pieces have won major awards.

    Open Image 2015 presents work by Alberta artists who create in photography and digital art; the exhibition is hosted by Visual Arts Alberta and the Alberta Jubilee Auditoria Society.  An opening reception will be held on August 24 from 7-9 pm at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (lower floor).

  • 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.