Monday, July 14, 2008

“The Home Show” Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. July 11 - August 22, 2008

As a collaborative effort between The Nina Haggerty Centre of the Arts, The Alberta Society of Artists, and The Art Gallery of Alberta, “The Home Show” explores the multifaceted interpretations of the idea of “home.” From architectural renderings to memory-based representations of home life, the show as a whole offers a variety of skill levels that breeds some notable contrasts.

From the moment you walk in, the exterior of buildings confronts you. From drawings of the new Nina Haggerty Centre soon to be constructed on 118 Avenue to the variations of mid-century stucco bungalows lining the east wall, “home” (at first glance) is where your stuff is. But as you start winding through the interior of the gallery through the paintings, drawings, ceramics, and light constructions, the seemingly simple concept of home opens up to sources of estranged familiarity. Ideas of safety, comfort, loneliness, fetishes, and community emerge and blend. From the professional artists of ASA to the less professional artists of the Nina Haggerty, many of the same sentiments were equally shared and represented.

As a curated show by Chris Carson from the ASA Fiona Connell of the AGA’s Trex program, and David Janzen from The Nina Haggerty, the collaborative theme does appear less consistent. ASA continues to boast an impressive list of past professional members and Nina Haggerty is championed as a drop in art centre for mature artists with developmental disabilities, and it would be unfair to call this show a true collaboration. Many of the ASA artists created new works specifically for the exhibition while all of the works chosen from Nina Haggerty were already in existence. In turn, the works from artists of the Nina Haggerty appear more directly about home life in the form of family, windows, and friends. On the other hand, ASA, Alberta’s oldest professional artist society, offered a larger number of still-life objects that signify the idea of home, filtered through a more conscious thematic tone.

It would have been interesting to see “home” as represented by artists new to Alberta compared and contrasted alongside these works, it is hoped that this traveling group exhibit will open up a greater discussion on what “home” means to Albertans and to Albertan artists of all denominations.

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