Thursday, May 6, 2010

U of A Senior Printmaking Students, IN BETWEEN SURFACES, SNAP Studio Gallery, April 22 - May 22

Almost appearing as if the entire senior printmaking class had packed up and moved its studios from FAB to the studios-in-the-making at SNAP, the first exhibition inside of the new street-front Jasper Avenue studio offers the public a first glimpse of the working studio inside of the newly located SNAP Gallery just off of 121 street.

With a gallery that just opened in March and a 4000 square foot communal studio around the corner on the ave, the new space not only offers nine individual studio spaces for rent, but gives working artists in this city a much-needed dark room.

Livening up the new SNAP location with a vast array of work that takes up both wall and floor space, In Between Surfaces seems the ideal inaugural show to kick things off. Featuring the senior undergrads in printmaking and the first-year print graduates working and honing a variety of styles, the exhibition as a whole also echoes the transition from an academic world to the real one.

Demonstrating a sense of ownership and pride in sweeping the studio gallery last week as I randomly popped in, Mindy Heins, a new BFA in printmaking doubling as gallery attendant for the day, is exemplary of the attitude fostering inside of SNAP. Originally hailing from Eagleshaw, just north of Grande Prairie and not quite to Peace River, Heins actually came to the U of A enrolled in the faculty of science. Being exposed to a fundamentals in art class—and art making in general—Heins eventually transferred in her third year and she hasn't looked back.

"It goes without saying that art works a different part of your brain," she says, who favored chemistry in her general science studies, but with the encouragement of her mom, switched over to the fine arts.

With an aptitude for the alchemic principles of printmaking and understanding basic analytical logic, Heins at the end of her BSc-turned-BFA remains rather excited about the endless possibilities in art, sharing, "You can always learn more in art making, and the results will always vary due to the subjective nature of art."

Heins, along with fellow classmates Kelsey Stephensen, Colin Lyons, Jackie Wan and Camille Louis—to name a few amongst a strong graduating class—now get a well-deserved break, but looking to their professors and peers in Edmonton's vibrant printmaking community, these aspiring artists have a firm grip on the realities of becoming a professional.

"I see the interesting frontiers from my peers heading off to residencies around the world, and having our professors being international in scope does open up doors," Heins offers.

'They can point you off to a residency in Belgium or suggest a great wood cutting workshop in Osaka and help you build international exchanges. Seeing how they're internationally active and locally based, I see how being an artist is tangible."

Just over six years ago, SNAP was operating out of the Great West Saddlery Building on 104 Street, facing a major move in its 22-year history. Having a six-year stint next to the failed arts hub of The Red Strap Market up until just this past winter, SNAP under the new helm of a new generation of passionate printmakers appears to be taking back the reigns of a tried-and-true artist-run culture.

Artists include: Tim Grieco, Mindy Heins, Mariya Karpenko, Jennifer Konanz, Camille Louis, Lisa Matthias, April McKenzie, Emery Lane Norton, Lisa Rezansoff, Kelsey Stephenson, Alexander Stewart, Katherine Vos, Jacki Wan, Dawn Fenton, & Graduate Students: Anna Gaby-Trotz, Jill Ho-You, Colin Lyons, Alexa Mietz.

*First published in Vue Weekly

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