Saturday, July 21, 2007

TURF, Peter Robertson Gallery July 19 - August 11, 2007

Nobody Found It Truthful #3, Monica Pitre 2005 UV Screen Prints
Image courtesy of Peter Robertson Gallery

With an impressive roster of artists from Edmonton and Calgary, TURF represented a wide array of discplinies within the 2D world from artists with limited commercial experience. With the tag of being an "emerging" artist exhibition, the definition of emerging was as diverse as the art represented. From ideas of age and number of shows, to values of commodity and personal self commitment, emerging as a concept is evidently only relevant as a funding strucutre.
A beautiful exhibition space, easily argued as one--if not the best venue in Edmonton, the different spaces within the gallery could have housed artists at various similiar stages or translated somehow the great spectrum of work being completed in abstraction, conceptual, and non-traditional figurative.
With a fair share of recent and older works, the exhibition overall was a calculated, yet mix-bag showing of the budgeoning and yet to-be-defined arts scene currently sprouting across the prairies.The exhibition could have done well with paring down the list of artists even more so, or just streamlined the discplines a bit more, but the fact of the matter is, the overwhelming sense of diversity was inspiring.

Shane Krepakevich
Image courtesy of Peter Robertson Gallery

Although several artists had works that were over two years old, in perspective, they are still new to the commercial setting. More artists than ever are coming out of the institutions, and although a new wave is on the horizon, it may be still too far to see the limits and shape of what this wave will look like. But if TURF was an indication of things to come, there is an excitment that artists are working within the mindframe that anything is certainly possible.

Artists: Farah Denkovski, Amanda Espezel, Sarah Ewashen, Tricia firmaniuk, Paul Freeman, Nicole Gallelilis, Cynthia Gardiner, Duncan Johnson, Shane Krepakavich, Sean Montgomery, Beth Pederson, Andrea Pinheiro, Monica Pitre, Nicole Rayburn, Wenda Salomons, Gillian Willans, and Cody Zaiser


Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this post up. I feel TURF is an important statement in Alberta and Edmonton: that there are younger artists interested in producing artwork that is current and reflective of their own voices. We may still be the sticks as far as art capitals go, but we're still working.

Thanks to Tricia and Peter for getting this ball rolling.

Sean Montgomery

Ashley Andel said...

I saw this show, and I was pleased. The space is gorgeous, and Tricia F. is both gorgeous and encouraging, and not only because she used to live and display her work just below my apartment suite (I used to spend nights in my hallways gawking like a goon at her pics).

'2D with limited commercial experience'. Those are the makings of my favorite pieces, if done well, and much of the show was.

I think 'up-and-coming' Edmonton has something very relevant to put forth, but it may take time for the whip to crack and the 'downtrodden' to take the place of Graham Peacock, CW Carson and Allan Ball .

This was the most intuitive show I've seen in a while, and it's funny that it's based in a profiting gallery. I don't care for the Douglas Udell and it's Loretta Kux tripe or even the Front Gallery because someone involved there once told me that art is '80% agony and 20% ecstacy'. How can I accurately describe my indifference to that statement?

I'd like to take the time to say that Ryan McCourt seems like a blog-twit (Yeah, that's right Ryan. BLOG T W I T , though you're brave and that's how I'll commend you.).

I picked up one of your cards at Lat, Amy. Good to see you're pursuing a positive platform for open art discourse without all the 'comment guidelines' and 'high art' bullshit. Thanks for being open.


Ashley Andel said...

BTW --Loretta LUX. Sorry.

Nola Meme said...

I look forward to seeing this show, and maybe I'll try to even sneak over there today. I agree that the Peter Robertson is possibly the nicest gallery in the city; and both Peter and Tricia display a much friendlier, supportive, and approachable attitude than was there with the previous owners.

I don't think it's about the 'downtrodden' taking the place of Graham Peacock, CW Carson, and Allen Ball. Firstly, why does anyone have to take anyone's place? Those are pretty big shoes to fill. Whether you choose to love'em or leave'em, these senior artists are here to stay, and even have things in their srt that one would be wise to steal. An artist is only as 'downtrodden' as they let themselves feel.

If someone told me "that art is '80% agony and 20% ecstacy'" I think I would feel far from 'indifferent'. I think I could do nothing but call bullshit. I hate that romanticized idea of the artist. It's not agony and ecstacy -- it's hard work and perseverance.

The whole point of having a blog is to present your ideas or thoughts, and then open them up for discussion. You may have people outside of your circle that may comment; they may agree or disagree, they may have similar or opposing ideas --- but that is the point. Sometimes those who challenge you the most help you the most. Doesn't everyone want to know what people really think of their work, rather than sugar coated opinions from loving family and friends? As imperious as McCourt's comments may be, remember that he is a full-time artist who takes his profession very seriously. If he doesn't agree with something that is said, he'll call you on it. Then, it is up to you to either complain about what a twit you think he is, or try and respond in a way that addresses your specific grievances.

MC said...

This is a much stronger show than the AGA's "Alberta Biennial".

I especially liked works by Monica Pitre, Nicole Rayburn, Tricia Firmaniuk, Wenda Salomons, and Gillian Willans.

I humbly point out a typo, Amy, in the word 'disciplines', which you may or may not wish to correct. No offense.

If Gilbert Bouchard had his review of the show posted up on a blog somewhere, you can bet I'd leave some 'imperious' comments for him too. Criticism helps us all get better at what we do, after all...

Ashley Andel said...

I'm being semi-sarcastic and dramatic when I say that 'the downtrodden' are to inherit a position or something. I love what I saw of Allan Ball's work in the 'Flat' show, and it's just that I feel a bit frustrated that many shows have the same people involved. It seems that you have to be 'up-and-coming' for so long, especially if you've avoided school on purpose.

On 'hard work and perseverence', okay yes of course that's a big part of making something, but I certainly don't believe in the absence of love and pure fun. I think it's ridiculous that someone would actually divvy it up into numbers.

On Ryan, honest criticism is vital no matter how pointy it is and it's great. I just get sick of how fast news of 'negative criticism' travels and how slow the opposite can go, and sometimes I worry that people use this pull to garner comments. Ryan's blog has 'guidelines' on how to reply, and that sort of pissed me off. It's as if he's attempting a safe-guard for his share of flying shit when he tosses it off as well.


MC said...

... And, just what are these dreaded comment "guidelines" that has A'A so upset? Why doesn't he say, so we can all shudder collectively at this new form of fascist oppression?

1: No Advertisements (ie. spam.)

2: No Outing (Studiosavant respects people's right to online anonymity.)

3: Make Sense (If you look in the comments, you'll see I don't delete EVERYTHING that doesn't make sense, but I will draw a line when comments are nonsensical jibberish.)

4: Address the Writing (not the writer, as so frequently happens when someone disagrees with another post or comment... as Nola Meme writes above, "it is up to you to either complain about what a twit you think he is [and be deleted], or try and respond in a way that addresses your specific grievances." Blogs are for conversation and debate, not empty abuse.)

MC said...

I didn't invent these guidelines, either. I lifted them from a hugely popular, well trafficked site called "". There, they have a few other rules, in addition to the four I stole: Advance the Conversation, Assume Community, and Make [the host] Happy. I didn't think our commenters were ready for those stringent guidelines quite yet, though...

amy said...

I'm not much for rules, but I have previously asked for users of this site to show some courtesy to others -- as talking about art sits on a slippery slope of pretensions and opinions and I can only hope that what ever is said here can honestly be translated to the live vis-a-vis world.
that said, I don't agree with name calling or calling people out, as that goes nowhere.

but stand up for your opinions, for sure. no doubt.

right, about this show. what did you like/dislike about certain works?

Tam said...

I saw the show today and I agree with Ashley that it's a strong and intuitive show. I also agree with Ashley about "how fast news of 'negative criticism' travels and how slow the opposite can go". My favourite pieces were by Tricia Firmaniuk and Andrea Pinheiro. that said, I think it's stretching it a bit to call this show stronger than the AGA's Alberta Biennial.

MC said...

" I think it's stretching it a bit to call this show stronger than the AGA's Alberta Biennial."

So, is it even, weaker, or incomparible?

ahab said...

"Budgeoning" s/b "burgeoning" or "bludgeoning"?

Tam said...

hmmmm, I think MC is trying to trap me into saying something negative about Turf, which I cannot do because it is a strong show (for the type of show it is)... ok, I pick 'incomparable'. As in apples and oranges incomparable. I could point out the obvious differences, but I think that may be redundant.

MC said...

Oh, Tam. Instead of strategizing against what you imagine my "traps" to be, why not just say what you really think? That's what I do.

MC said...

(it's very liberating)

MC said...

Two shows, both 2d-image heavy, both presenting the work of young contemporary Alberta artists, (both including Paul Freeman)... and the shows are "incomparable"? Really?...

Anonymous said...

I saw the show at Peter Robertson and I though that teh show was boring andc that most of teh work was b grade of those artist. I have seen better work of most of those artists - perhaps it is the banal that sells better. Those prices seened high for quisi-emerging artists. Nola does your boyfriend Ryan sell for higher?

The show was not themed based in any way and it was a stretch to say that it was evoluitionary. Trite would surfice.

simon deakin said...

Its important I think to assert that Edmonton is part of the larger world
regardless of how emergent or uninstitutionalised its art scene appears to
be - especially when considering the phenomenon of the 'young artist'.
Edmonton is in the world already - I'm not sure its necessary to labour an
explanation as to how its artists enter the world of art from being here.
It might be informative for the general public - I'm not sure how well it
really serves an understanding of the work in the context of global
contemporary art.

In your article about Turf you don't mention the Venice Biennale, Dokumenta,
the Munster Sculpture project. This is a configuration of exhibitions that
happens only every 10 years or so. You didn't mention any of the Manifestas
or Prague Art Fair, Fiat etc, either - and Manifesta is international and
intended specifically for the under 40's like the Turf crowd. Why I mention
these is because they are ultimately the standard against which shows like
"Turf" ought to be judged. I've seen this over and over in Canada, less so
in the bigger centers recently. A reticence about subjecting critique of
local artist's work to the rigours of the most innovative of contemporary
international art. I think its a willingness to be tougher, to insist on a
more theoretically informed critical incisiveness that one could apply
anywhere to the work of these artists' peers, that will not only force
people to take the work more seriously but will also improve the work.

Pushing the
critical tone at the journalistic level, as just one effort amongst others,
relating what these young folks are doing to what's happening at Documenta
at the moment for example - rather than qualifying consideration of the work
and the local 'scene' within a logic that tries to compensate for the
general reader's perhaps limited experience of contemporary art - might not
only permit the work to be taken more seriously, but also force the artists
to take themselves more seriously.

MC said...

Those prices seened high for quisi-emerging artists."

Haven't you heard, young artists are the new black? (I'm not sure if my prices are supposed to rise, or fall, as I get older...). Besides, you've got to keep in mind, the gallery keeps half.

As was pointed out before, this was a 2D show, paintings and prints. Sculptures, on the other hand, generally are more expensive to make, and therefore, generally are more expensive to purchase.