Kristy Trinier, a curator at the Art Gallery of Alberta, identifies threads of locality in the upcoming 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. Finding an unfinished underground downtown transit station in Edmonton as metaphor for contemporary artistic practice in the province, our discussion moves between representation and the adaptation of practice to place. Future Station was intended as a stop on the light rail transit line. Instead, it’s a platform encased within a concrete barrier. Daily commuters pass through without the awareness of the station’s existence. Similarly, the Biennial draws attention to artistic practice that is veiled in the overlooked gaze. While at the AGA, don’t miss the photography exhibition, Suburbua: A Model Life.
The seed for the exhibition Oh, Canada was sewn, curiously, in Massachusetts. What art was the nation with the world’s second largest landmass producing? Denise Markonish, a curator at MASS MoCA, was convinced that there was more to the Canadian contemporary art scene and headed north, visiting 400 artist studios. The exhibition, featuring 60 Canadian artists under a nine square-metre roof, was an early unravelling of preconception that artmaking is bound to established centres. Oh, Canada was recognized for it’s exploration into cultural identity and sense of place. Opening in Calgary on January 31st, the exhibition will be shared among four institutions: The Esker Foundation, the Illingsworth Kerr Gallery, the Glenbow Museum, and the Nickle Galleries.
And finally, we narrow the gaze to the city of Calgary, where a guerrilla biennial under the moniker The Calgary Biennial takes place.Titled Atlas Sighed and curated by artist Steven Cottingham, the exhibition features a dozen works venturing into the pubic realm. Brittany Bear Hat uses the medium of the billboard to unveil place as it relates to identity. Yvonne Mullock and Mia Rushton’s medium is a classified ad, and Steven Beckley’s images will occupy a bus shelter. Regardless of medium, the works provoke pointedly at the social implications of success. Works question not only our relationship with capital and with public space, but also how place is implicated in a search for an embrace of the alternative.
Design Matters – Rick Joy - Jan 7th