University of Calgary
UofC Navigation


Submitted by admin on Tue, 02/02/2010 - 4:24pm


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

  • 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; “The students were excited to see the studio and prints, and started to research Heine’s creation process,” says Laing. “It raised the bar for them to try to do that.“

    Born in the Netherlands, Heine immigrated to Canada in 1960. 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. 

    Together with his students, Laing 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 travelled 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 in 2004 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

  • 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 connecting the viewer to the outdoors and 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.

  • Join us in the Department of Art for the Post Mini Show and Sale on Friday, February 6. Original art work (approximately 12" x 12" x 12" in size) will be on display for viewing and bidding in the Little Gallery (AB 604) from February 2 to February 6.  On the evening of the 6th, there will be a reception at 6:30p.m. with the live auction starting at 7:30p.m.  This is an great opportunity to purchase original art and the monies raised help cover the costs associated with this and other student exhibitions.

  • 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.

  • MFA student Kevin J. Mellis was a winner at the prestigious New York Photo Festival Photoworld 2014 last week with his unique wet plate positive portraits on black glass, captured with an old school camera and a lens dating back to 1850. His winning works, as well as other photos, are exhibited until Dec. 20 at ArtPoint Gallery & Studios Society, 1139 Adelaide Street S.E. Click here for the full story.

  • 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 at York 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.

  • Senior instructor with the Department of Art, Denis Gadbois, has received 2nd place for his submission to the Epson International Pano Awards. Gadbois’ photograph in the Open Award Built Environment category, “Macau 360 degree Photography”, was taken in Macau, China.  For Gadbois, the pole at a corner of the park, the lower path, the interesting buildings and the cultural hub contributed to the creation of the unique design and image; he says “location, height, drops, color and culture are key elements that are used to raise 360 degree photography to the level of art”.

    The Epson International Pano Awards is dedicated to the art of panoramic photography and showcases the work of photographers worldwide; it 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.

  • Department of Art instructor, Denis Gadbois’ entry in the All About the IMAGE’s photo challenge, Every Picture Tells a Story, has won first prize in the   "Imagination" category.  Gadbios’ photo, “Survivor Tree Old Wanchai Hong Kong”, was taken in Hong Kong with a 6D camera and a 8-15mm lens; the high dynamic range shots were then stitched together using Kolor software.  Because of real-estate development, trees are becoming increasingly rare in Hong Kong.  The trees are cut down for developments while the growth and health of existing trees is affected by the lack of the sunlight and the amounts of asphalt and concrete that cover the soil.  To see all of the winning entries, go to
  • The Department of Art congratulates Katie Green who, in addition to receiving her B.F.A. (Distinction) in Visual Studies degree (Studio Concentration) at the June 10thconvocation ceremony, will also receive the Department's Silver Medallion.  Each Department awards the Silver Medallion every year to the student graduating with the highest academic distinction. 

    For Green, winning the Silver Medallion is an honor; she says “during my degree I worked extremely hard to continually push myself and my artistic practice. My five years at the University showed me discipline, exploration, dedication, and diversity within my practice”.  Green feels blessed that the Department celebrates her efforts and says “though my educational journey was very personal, I could not have attained the success without the help of my professors and fellow students”.  Winning the Silver Medallion is not only a recognition of highest academic standing; for Green, the award “also commemorates… all the late nights in the studio, the tears and the laughs with my fellow students, the mistakes and the feats and to all my family and friends who consistently supported me throughout all the moments that got me here. They are all just as proud to see me receive this award”.

  • The Department of Art is pleased and proud to announce that David Bershad , professor of Art History, has won a Students' Union (SU) Teaching Excellence Award (2013/2014).  The following are some of the comments written by students who nominated Bershad for the award:

- He made me fall in love with art history
- The classroom was ...full of respect and kindness
- He inspires and is the Dalai Lama of Art History
- His knowledge of the subject is rivaled only by his sense of humor
- He changed my life. I’ve never had a professor that has been so supportive [of my learning]
- He welcomes each student as they enter the classroom by name, and tries to get to know his students as people

Given the size of the amalgamated Faculty of Arts, the Department (of Art) realizes that this award is no small achievement; it speaks to both the quality of interaction that Bershad has with his students and also the numbers of students he has influenced across the Faculty.  This is the third time that Bershad has won the SU Teaching Excellence Award - Congratulations!

Upcoming Events

Date & Time:
March 26, 2015 - April 11, 2015

PUSH is an annual exhibition in the community, organized by senior Bachelor of Fine Arts students from the University of Calgary.

Faculty and Student Exhibitions in Calgary and Around the World

  • "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.

  • The Department of Art is pleased to present Matthew Donovan's "Pre-Alpha" as part of our +15  exhibition space at Arts Commons (formerly the EPCOR Centre for Performing  Arts). The exhibition features large-scale digital prints by Donovan, a B.F.A. Visual Studies student.  Donovan says, "The digital art I create is not meant to be a simulacrum of traditional art. Rather, my images are entirely native to the potentialities of the computer and its’ virtues as a tool for making art. Because of my work's purely digital nature, it presents an aesthetic that is reflective of the 21st century."

    "Pre-Alpha" runs throughout February and March. The closing reception for the exhibit is at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 19, at the walkway of Arts Commons (refreshments to follow at Palomino Smokehouse, 109 7th Avenue Southwest).

  • Richard Smolinski has had two of his works selected for the “35th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition” running from March 7th to April 17th, 2015.  The second-longest running juried print and drawing competition in the United States and the most prestigious graphic arts biennial in North America, the Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition is international in scope and features the best contemporary art from around the world.  The exhibition will be presented at The Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, The Peoria Art Guild, Prairie Center of the Arts and Heuser Art Gallery at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

    Smolinski’s work, "Gore-me/Stomp-me" is included in an exhibition of satirical works on paper, “Heads Will Roll”, February 20th to May 2, 2015, at Artspace in New Haven, Connecticut.  Organized by Sarah Fritchey and Martha Willette Lewis, "Heads Will Roll", opens in tandem with the larger exhibit “Vertical Reach: Political Protest and the Militant Aesthetic Now”, an exhibition that explores the blurred relationship between political protest and creative practice.  "Gore-me/Stomp-me" explores police-force militarization in such as incidents as the Ferguson, Missouri riots.  Smolinski is a sessional instructor for the Department of Art.

  • Unseen Beauty in Paradise”, an exhibition by Jean-Rene Leblanc, is on display at the Department of Art’s +15 exhibition space at the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts.  Leblanc’s digital infrared images of Hawaii examine new ways of looking at the world by revealing what the human eye is incapable of seeing.  Leblanc is an Associate Professor of digital art/photography in the Department of Art.

  • The Department of Art is pleased to present the next exhibition as part of our new +15 exhibition space at the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts. The exhibition features our current M.F.A. student, Jorge Zapata Garces and his work, "In Transit."  “In Transit” shows inscriptions of locations associated with the experience of traveling and relocation. Using discarded boxes and mixed media, Garces explores how places are connected through commercial trade and mobility of people, as well as immigration. The union of the boxes represents the cities as a receptacle of different cultures and nationalities.
  • Faces Among Us…”, an exhibit by Masters of Fine Art student, Kevin Mellis, opens at ArtPoint Gallery & Studios Society today, December 5th.  “Faces Among Us…” runs until December 20th (ArtPoint is located at 1139 Adelaide Street S.E).