Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Exhibits at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Last Friday my husband, daughter and I had our last chance to visit the Degas, Goya and Karsh exhibits at the Art Gallery of Alberta. This was my third time, but my husband hadn't had a chance to see them yet, so we made sure we had a chance to go before they rolled out the new installations. Once again, the Karsh exhibit was a huge hit - a very well planned-out show that was fun for everyone, including our 7 month old, who seemed to enjoy the "create your own Karsh" portion, where you could set up a photo using the techniques you learned from the exhibit. She was probably just happy to be out of the stroller! (And to get away from the Goyas - perhaps all those "Images of War" were a bit unsettling - or, more likely, the dark room they were shown in reminded her of bedtime).

The Art Gallery wrapped up its first series of exhibits in the new gallery on May 29th, and a number of exciting new installations will be going up over the next couple of weeks.

The Gallery is currently featuring FIRE, an anti-war installation by Sandra Bromley that will include portraits of women and children from Cambodia and Sierra Leone. This exhibit will run from now until August 2, 2010.

The 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, entitled Timeland, will be on display until August 29, 2010.  This exhibit will feature " twenty-five artists working across the spectrum of contemporary art making modes from painting and sculpture, to installation, video and performance." The exhibit's title, Timeland, is a reference to the "new globalism" of the 21st century where technology has removed or stretched many of the traditional boundaries of history and culture. The exhibition website notes that "the scale of this globalism subsumes the idea of the local but it thrives as the lifeblood in a world where provincialism dissipates and a new information-fed internationalism reflects the complexity of a multi-dimensional world culture." Sounds intriguing!

We will have until the middle of June for the rest of this summer's exhibits to go up at the gallery. M.C. Escher: the Mathemagician will run from June 19 - October 11, 2010, and is definitely the exhibit my husband is most excited about! It will feature 54 of Escher's works, and it promises to be popular with the whole family.

From June 19 - November 7, 2010, the gallery will host Piranesi's Prisons: Architecture of Mystery and Imagination. Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an 18th century Italian artist who did lovely etchings of Rome, but whose fantastical depiction of imaginary prisons (Carceri d'invenzione), have perhaps been his most lasting legacy. Piranesi's prisons call to mind Escher's work, which I'm sure is why they are being exhibited simultaneously.   

On the lighter side, The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons will be showing from June 19 - October 11, 2010. My daughter should enjoy this one! Lots of drawings and animation cells of familiar friends like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepe le Pew, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzalez, and, of course, Wile E. Coyote, my all time favorite cartoon character.

Reframing the Nation is yet another exhibit that will be appearing this summer at the AGA. The Ernest E. Poole Foundation donated 90 works of art to the AGA back in 1975. There are works by The Group of Seven (which Canadians rave about - I will reserve judgement until I see them in person), Emily Carr, and other well-known Canadian artists. The exhibit will focus on the role landscape plays in Canadian identity.

Finally, from August 14 - October 11, 2010, the New Works gallery space will be featuring the work of Alberta artist Jonathan Kaiser, Kaiser has created an installation in a "semi-abandoned room inside the gallery, with posters, terrariums and personal effects left inside to characterize the room's past residents."

On a side note: I miss European galleries, where people at least breathe audibly or chat quietly at museums. I don't want visitors to be obnoxious and noisy, but sometimes people are so quiet at the AGA you feel like you are in a tomb, not a gallery!

Piranesi image courtesy Wikimedia


willow said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Margaret. I can't wait to hear what you have to tell us about the Escher exhibit, once you've seen it. I'd also love to see the Emily Carr pieces. You're quite fortunate to live near such wonderful art!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I love the mental image of your little daughter staring at a Degas.

Margaret said...

@Willow - Thanks, Willow! I'm definitely looking forward to Escher, as well as to the Canadian art, which I really haven't seen that much of before.

@Pamela - Yes, Victoria did like the Degas! They had a number of his sculptures (including the little dancer, of course), and sculpture is something even a little baby can appreciate. Goya's drawings, however, were a bit tougher sell!

Hels said...

Good post! I would definitely go over to Canada to see the Group of Seven exhibition!

I didn't know of their work until preparing a course on the Art of World War One in Britain, France and Australia. So I slipped in one lecture on those men who eventually became The Group of Seven, and it went really well. Reframing The Nation is an apt title.

Margaret said...

@Hels - Thanks! I've heard so much about the Group of Seven over the years - they are pretty much THE Canadian artists, so I know it's important to be familiar with their work. It will be so great to see some of their work in person!

acornmoon said...

I am sure your daughter will share your love of art and I am sure Degas would be enchanted at the thought that his work was appreciated by a little girl in Alberta.