Friday, September 21, 2007

Prairie Artsters on the Roam: Calgary

Lack of updates on the home front, Prairie Artsters surveys as much of Calgary's arts scene as half an afternoon can beget.
Highlights and not necessarily reviews included the Triangle Gallery's exhibition on Swedish design; both the space and show were pleasing and surprising. The Art Gallery of Calgary was showing a retrospective of Alex Janvier for the AB Biennial, and along with Janvier's more well known works from the 80s, a sample of recent floral paintings were on the top floor from 2005. A similar stroke was present, but it is unfortunate to say that perhaps Janvier's best works are well behind him.
In the basement media room of the AGC was Red Eye, a compilation of contemporary Aboriginal short films put on by Carleton University and curated by Ryan Rice. Taking on the narrative of the "cinematic" Indian as mythologized by Hollywood and mainstream cinema, works by Terrance Houle and Nadia Myre represent a new channel of storytelling.

Also visited were Truck and Art Central, both reviewed below.

Calgary as a whole certainly appears to have both more commercial appeal and credibility (what with ACAD and all), but I saw little or no risk happening at all in the art. Even in the Truck exhibition, which was probably my favorite space and exhibition (if you discount the films and videos from Red Eye), most of the art seen can be summed up in the overheard conversation that happened inside Axis Gallery.
For a city booming faster than Edmonton, I can only wonder where all the artists are working from and working towards. And hopefully, more visits to the south can be taken to see what arises.


Anonymous said...

I'm currently painting in Montreal. I'm from Edmonton. There's a whole host of hot young talent from Calgary, Alberta and the rest of the west here at Concordia. Maybe that's where they're all working towards.

Sean Montgomery

amy said...

so are you saying all the hot young talent is (still) fleeing for montreal?

do ex-westerners identify with the west/prairies or is regionality even an on the radar?

Anonymous said...

Of course hot young talent is still leaving. Opportunities are limited out west. The old money isn't there, and there are fewer spaces and opportunites to show, and less connections to the global,or at least national art world. I think probably more talent is still leaving more for Toronto. In my experience here in Montreal(just one month now), yes ex-Westerners still identify as such, but don't wish to forego opportunities that living out east may give them.

Sean Montgomery