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ArtWalk kicks off new season

One can only wonder about the perception of time. Up until last week, winter seemed willing to stay forever.
Artist Byron McBride with his work The Garden Polyptych
Artist Byron McBride with his work The Garden Polyptych

One can only wonder about the perception of time. Up until last week, winter seemed willing to stay forever. But now that the white stuff is melting, it feels like spring, especially since the ninth annual season of ArtWalk is getting a solid jumpstart tomorrow night.

It is a little earlier than normal, conceded organizer Sandra Outram.

"We started early this year in conjunction with the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards and ArtiCulture, the provincial art festival, held in St. Albert this year," she enthused. "There's a whole lot of things going on."

Outram is also the co-owner of Art Beat Gallery, one of the long-standing venues participating in ArtWalk. That location is featuring works that show scenes of St. Albert in recognition of the city's 150th anniversary. Featured artists include Doris Charest, Saeed Hojjati, Bev Bunker and new artist Phil Geusebroek, who transfers his photographs of city sights onto aluminum.

"It's going to be an exciting year," Outram said, adding ArtWalk has grown to include a few new locations, bringing the total up to a record 15 venues. "I'm going to try and get out. We're busy that night but the exhibits are up for the whole month so people, like us, have lots of opportunity to see it."

Along with the new satellite studio for the Art Gallery of St. Albert, new sites also include the Musée Héritage Museum and MLA Ken Allred's constituency office on Perron Street.

Adaptation and Alteration

The last time Byron McBride had a show at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, then called Profiles, it was a joint effort along with Brian McArthur.

His new show, Adaptation and Alteration, also features Ryan McCourt, an artist who focuses his work on fusing disparate items (or pieces of them) together to form a whole new one that is less concrete and definitely more abstract.

"They are all assembled sculptures made from found objects mostly made from brass and copper," he explained. He finds his raw materials from flea markets and garage sales, old pots and pans or figures that would otherwise make their slow, sad way to eternity, forgotten in a landfill.

They're certainly bizarre to look at, with animal parts joined onto goblets with mechanical parts and miscellaneous other indescribable pieces thrown into the mix.

McBride also has a sculptural side to his art but when you consider that he is a painter, it begs the question: how three-dimensional can a flat image be? Quite a bit, actually. One of his works, The Garden Polyptych, is a series of frames that unfold and then lock into place as a standing object. It looks as though you could actually walk into it.

He's no stranger to this field. McBride, after all, is the guy who created Beyond the Frame. That exhibit was described as a giant pop-up book featuring original mural-size paintings in a 3D interactive setting people could walk into. It opened during the International Children's Festival last year and is on display once again at the library for the ArtiCulture festival this weekend.

As for the pieces that hang on the wall, they look like a modern take on fantasy scenes or Seussian landscapes. Even the two-dimensional works have a real life quality to them. The immensely creative painter says he needs to respect his visions, no matter when they come to him.

"Usually they wake me up and then I have to go sketch it out, think about it for a while and then I can go back to bed. It's a bit of a process," he laughed. "It's hard work to be fantastic."


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Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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