Sunday, September 14, 2008

Form Unfolding, McMullen Gallery, August 30 - October 26, REVIEWED BY ERIN CARTER

It’s kind of weird walking into an art gallery based out of the University of Alberta Hospital. Before I arrived I was anticipating feel good art, something healing and or beneficial to all those who call the hospital a home for a short or long term period and their visitors. Hospitals scare me, but when I walked in to the McMullen Gallery located on the main floor, I was surprised at how comfortable I felt amidst the sculptures and hospital upholstery. Form Unfolding is a sculpture based exhibition put on by the Sculptures Association of Alberta running from August 30 until October 26.

Greeted at the door by the friendly staff I was left alone to walk around (like any art gallery) and pick away at my thoughts. Perceiving feeling and meaning out of the work at hand, I’ve struggled with the meaning behind sculptures before and did eventually find an even ground of comprehension; but this time I’m struggling with the fact that there is more than one artist at hand and that I have to look at the show as a whole. From the title I have garnered a certain aesthetic from most of the pieces. A lot are sculpted human bodies bent, folded and look to be in different positions of pain. As I move throughout the exhibit I notice the more reaching and or powerful sculptures towards the end.

The human form was a major theme throughout this exhibit. I especially enjoyed pieces by Steph Jonsson. Her use of female form protruding from what looks to me like a hunk of the Rocky Mountains really reminded me of the healing beauty of nature and organic shapes. There were a few other “organic” pieces that looked like mushroom spoors made out of the mixed media of fabric and ceramic. It seemed displaced amidst all the pain and power coming from most of the sculptures’ in this show, but it struck me that hospitals are not always just about pain.

As I walk out of the gallery I wave goodbye to the staff and walk into the University of Alberta hospital. I almost forgot where I was. I guess that’s the point of having an art gallery in a hospital.

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