Rugs hit the road for new show
Coyote collective displays northern work
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 06:00 am
Beyond Traditions - Contemporary Rug Hooking
works by Rachelle Leblanc
Opening reception today from 2 to 4 p.m.
Artist will be in attendance.
Show runs until Apr. 20
For more information, call 403-931-3633 or visit www.leightoncentre.org.
The province’s premiere impressionist rug hooking artist has made great strides since she first appeared on the local scene a few years ago. Now, Rachelle Leblanc is setting up a new show in southern Alberta and it promises to impress as much as ever.
Beyond Traditions features a sampling from the artist’s recent oeuvre plus a new work by the St. Albert resident. The show opens today for a five-week run at Calgary’s Leighton Art Centre.
“I think it’s pretty exciting!” Leblanc said. “I’m not happy that it’s going to snow though. I don’t know how I’m going to get down there. It’s not like it’s downtown and I can take a train.”
The show promises to be an early, early glimpse into what viewers can expect later on in the year when Leblanc brings the works to the Art Gallery of St. Albert.
She is known for incredibly elaborate and time-consuming portrait pieces depicting children at play, at rest and everywhere in between. Imagine Monet’s family album and you’ll have a good sense of what Leblanc has to offer. To call her works rugs is accurate but feels inadequate, considering the effort that goes into them.
Leblanc has made great waves at several locations across North America, including the famous Musée des Maître et Artisans in Montréal and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Recently, she has found a major niche at the Alberta Craft Council in downtown Edmonton.
Beyond Traditions is comprised of works from a show at Stony Plain’s Multicultural Centre Public Art Gallery last summer, plus a new piece inspired by the Foothills around the Leighton Centre. When the show arrives at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, even more new work will be added. Considering that some pieces each take upwards of 200 hours to create, Leblanc’s fans should take every opportunity that they can to experience her expanding gallery.
Coyotes mark the landscape
A dozen artists came from all over this country’s map to put together one show.
Running at the Visual Arts Alberta Gallery until April 13, Facing North is a collection by the Coyotes Artist Collective, a group of visual, sculptural and literary artists from all over Canada. Their works make a powerful survey of Northern Canada: the mountains, the valleys and lakes.
Former St. Albert resident Brenda Kim Christiansen is just one of the fold. Her work, Footprints, is a wonderful scene of a wintry rivulet through a frozen body of water. Snow-capped Rockies line the background with blackened, indefinable trees in between. It is simultaneously stark and inviting, a cold and barren world that still draws the viewer in, making a wish to experience the scene firsthand.
Sharon Moore-Foster, the program and development co-ordinator at the Visual Arts Alberta Gallery, is thrilled with the work and the show in general. Christiansen, she said, is “one of the finest painters around.”
“Her paintings are just beautiful, the way she moves the media. You can resonate with seeing what it is, but at the same time, you can stand back and enjoy the fluidity, the impasto and the different graininess and quality of mark making. It’s always a delight to me when you see a painter where the paint is as important as the image.”
Christiansen’s counterparts also bring strong landscape scenes to the show. James Davies’ North is a prairie field with colours in the sky that seem to dance. Judith Martin’s pastel Ice Angel is a gorgeous recreation of Angel Glacier at Mt. Edith Cavell.
“It’s a fantastic show, truly,” Moore-Foster said.