VAAA serves up mini show and photo contest
St. Albert artists abound
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 06:00 am
Think Small: Members' Miniatures
Show runs until Saturday, Nov. 24
Closing event on Nov. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Visual Arts Alberta - CARFAC
3rd Floor, Harcourt House Arts Centre
10215 112 Street in Edmonton
Call 780-421-1731 or visit www.visualartsalberta.com for more information.
No one could accuse the Visual Arts Association of Alberta of being lazy. Normally, the province-wide non-profit arts advocacy and promotional group has an exhibit going on in its front gallery, often with a different one in the back.
This month, both sides are occupied by the same exhibit, while another one opens up across the river from its downtown headquarters in another location that normally features performing artists.
The VAAA currently has Think Small on its walls. The large exhibit features a bevy of the most modestly sized works from a spectrum of Alberta’s visual artists including several that come from St. Albert or are active in St. Albert’s galleries.
The collective is not generally known for their work in small scale. In fact, several prefer to occupy sizable sections of space, either mounted on the wall or displayed on a stand.
Contributing smaller rather than larger works must have been quite challenging for many of them but the results are interesting enough.
“You can see that each of the works has a very direct focus,” explained Sharon Moore-Foster, the organization’s program and development co-ordinator, and one of the artists exhibiting work in this show. “It’s just fascinating … the imagery that is coming out of somebody’s own personal vocabulary of art.”
Moore-Foster added that Think Small is a true representation of Alberta’s artists, both new and not so new, fresh-faced students and older, more experienced and established artists alike.
“This is a great membership show because it shows whose lives we touch and the people that we help inform.”
Joining her for the show are St. Albert mainstays Allison Argy-Burgess, Helen Rogers and Linda Willard, as well as VASA and St. Albert Painters’ Guild members Father Douglas and Sophia Podryhula-Shaw, who has been represented by Art Beat Gallery for several years now. Other names like Byron McBride and Amy Loewan might be familiar to local art aficionados for their exhibits at the Art Gallery of St. Albert in recent years.
It’s a unique exhibition with a taste of everything from portraits, landscapes and even nude figurative pieces to some with more quirk than you might expect. The Disney character Goofy carries a gun in one; another series by Greg Pyre shows off a rather obtuse and snarky sense of humour. A 1950s-era housewife proclaims that her man is finished training and he’s ready to clean. Another simply states, ‘I love my purse!’
“With the smaller scale, you can (do things) several different ways. One of them is that you can become playful. You can become innovative. You can experiment and try different forms of expression because the scale works better for that.”
Visitors to the gallery from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday can have their own Think Small experience by creating their own pin-back art button during a special free workshop. Others by some of the exhibiting artists are displayed on the walls and on sale for $5 each.
The VAAA’s fifth annual open competition to photographers of all stripes and experience levels takes centre stage at the Kaasa Gallery at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium this weekend.
St. Albert’s Dawn Leblanc is one of the exhibiting artists. Her photograph on canvas work, Sunflower in Black and White, is a fine example of how to compose a subject within a frame. The gorgeous flower, bereft of its usual fiery colours, looks like the sun, bursting with petal flames and interesting details throughout all of its inner and outer levels.
The best overall photo was awarded to Zbigniew W. Gortel for his work, Tuscan Panorama. It’s an exquisite piece that shows a long tree-lined drive up to a mansion in the middle of a misty Italian valley. The fields have been tilled and some of the trees are changing colour. The muted pastel tones and the perfect composition of the work might trick the viewer’s eye into believing it’s a painting, but it isn’t.