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Kluthe re-emerging onto art scene

City gets two new pieces of public art

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 06:00 am

FAMILY ALBUM – Grandma Kluthe and Her Fiddle is one of the works that will be on display at artist Cathy Kluthe's new show.
FAMILY ALBUM – Grandma Kluthe and Her Fiddle is one of the works that will be on display at artist Cathy Kluthe's new show.
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Preview

Drawings and Paintings
Works by Cathy Kluthe
Exhibit runs from Dec. 5 to 23
Opening reception on Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Artist will be in attendance

The Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery, in the Sherritt Cultural Pavilion, Dow Centennial Centre
8700 84 St., Fort Saskatchewan
Call 780-992-6400 or visit www.fortsask.ca for more information.

A quarter of a century is a long gestation period. That’s just how long it’s been for Cathy Kluthe, a member of the prodigious family that has lived in this city for many decades.

Now a resident of British Columbia, the St. Albert native is set to make her return as an exhibiting artist by bringing a series of new works to Fort Saskatchewan this weekend.

“I’ve been teaching (art classes) for many, many years now. I decided that I wanted to start painting and drawing again,” she began. “It’s sort of a new turn in my life.”

For the last three years, she has been redeveloping her skills and her practice. After graduating from St. Albert Catholic High School, she attended Red Deer College followed by the Alberta College of Art and Design. She travelled around a bit, ending up in Vancouver where she worked variously as an illustrator with a small design firm and as an art teacher.

She explained that she has always pursued commercial and fine art.

“I knew that I always wanted to be an artist. When I went to college, I thought that I didn’t just want to be a fine artist because I wanted to be able to produce art but make a living at it.”

Fine art somehow always took a sideline. Now at 54, Kluthe has set her sights on her post-work years and fine art sprung back to the front of her mind. She used Emily Carr as inspiration. Canada’s grande dame of West Coast art didn’t get discovered until she was in her ’50s too.

“I’m thinking of my retirement! I thought that I just want to start painting again. I put it off way too long. Now’s the time to do it. Either do it now or don’t do it.”

She added that she loves Carr’s paintings and tries to bring maybe not her esthetic but at least her love of nature to her own work. Her strength is in drawing, she said, since even her paintings are basically graphic art images.

Her paintings clearly show her St. Albert roots. Sure, there’s the token grain elevator image, flowers and birds too, but there’s something about one called Uncle Rodney’s Cow that makes things clearly more personal for her. Grandma Kluthe and Her Fiddle is obviously straight out of the family photo album.

“These are images that have just been floating in my head for so long. I just had to get them out onto canvas. At this point, I’m not sure which direction I’ll go.”

Her sketches (in graphite and charcoal) also show her strength in illustration. She volunteers in a seniors’ home where she is also inspired by the residents’ beauty.

For now, she is thrilled to be back in action. The Dow Centennial Centre, she considered, is a fine place for her return.

“I’m really excited about that. To get a solo show is good to put on my resumé.”

She’s hoping to one day bring an exhibit of her work even closer to home, mentioning that she intends to apply to for a spot on the Art Gallery of St. Albert’s schedule.

Visit www.cathykluthe.com to see more of the artist’s works.

Public art

Last Friday’s Snowflake Festival provided one fine opportunity to unveil a new piece of public art.

And then it provided another.

The city now has two new works on display, all thanks to Edmonton sculptor Ken Macklin. He calls his style “fairly baroque” which is probably an apt description. He even named one of the pieces Baroque Botanique, now set up at the St. Albert Business Centre, 29 Sir Winston Churchill Ave.

The other, Garden Window, is located at the Hemingway Centre, 25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave., home to the Visual Art Studio Association.

He said that he tried to marry our city’s botanical arts brand with its natural beauty while still in an urban landscape.

“The overall concept with both of them is celebrating growth, both in a natural and organic sense, and a more ephemeral, cultural sense. They’re both supposed to envision and encapsulate the beauty and vitality I see in St. Albert,” he said. “The botanical feel of them is pretty much my inspiration all along with my work. That reflected well with the city of St. Albert.”

The goal of the two thematically and visually connected artworks was to envision the spirit of St. Albert in the 21st century. It was chosen as a way of commemorating artist Tag Kim’s Spirit of St. Albert. The effects of time and weather necessitated the removal of Kim’s artwork in 2011. His artwork depicted a day in the life of St. Albert citizens at that time. The new sculptures were created utilizing reused steel demonstrating the importance of attaining the project goal of sustainability.

Macklin was so taken with this background concept that he donated Baroque Botanique outright.

The project was funded in part through the St. Albert 150th Celebration Legacy Grant as well as the City of St. Albert Public Art Lifecycle and Maintenance Fund. The total budget came to $75,000.

Visit the city’s website at maps.stalbert.ca/apps/cultural/publicart to learn more about St. Albert’s Art in Public Places program.


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