SEEN AND LIKED in EDMONTON – Part 1

IMG_0295

There are no boring places as long as you keep an open mind and like to explore.  I found exquisite art, architecture and places in Edmonton, and even if I had not, I remembered an Eric Weiner quote: “When you relinquish the spectacular, you are rewarded with the quieter joy of the ordinary.” How true.

West End Gallery

IMG_0427

“My paintings are all about emotion and light.  If the viewer has felt the emotion I felt when I painted the piece, then we have clicked. “– W. H. Webb

I had the pleasure to see Prairie Aspects, a solo exhibition of new work by W. H. Webb at the West End Gallery.

His highly realistic work, signed W.H. Webb, is often mistaken for photography.  It is not until you look very closely at the canvas, that you see small dots and dashes of acrylic paint that reminds of watercolour. These markings tighten up to a photograph-like image when you take a step back.

“Webb’s views of the often stark Alberta landscape are intensively worked in a manner reminiscent of the traditional school of watercolourists. Fully realized and meticulously crafted, his acrylic paintings express a deep seated admiration for the impressive and rugged vistas of Alberta; particularly the brilliant beauty of winter’s snow covered open spaces and hard bright skies.”

img_6145.jpg

by W.H. Webb

The Front Gallery

“Connectivity” is the title of a fab exhibition by Dave Thomas and Allan Thomas at the Front Art Gallery – a forty year landmark in the heart of the gallery walk district.  The exhibition closes on May 17th, so make sure you get to see this first joint show of the two artist brothers before it is over. More information about their art work in my upcoming interview with both artists on ‘Art Because’ next month.

IMG_6159

LOL by Dave Thomas

img_6155.jpg

By Allan Thomas

Peter Robertson Gallery

Mark in your calendar a wonderful upcoming exhibition showing art work of Jonathan Forrest (May 24 – June 9). Forrest currently divides his time between Vancouver Island and rural Saskatchewan, where his “rustic” studio, an old church built in the late 1940s, offers the ideal space for Forrest’s ongoing exploration of the complexities of colour and paint application.

“Over the last 25 years, Jonathan Forrest has explored vibrant and engaging colour and form through paint”, says Gallery owner Peter Robertson who represents a roster of emerging, mid-career, and senior Canadian artists. “The bold and colourful geometric paintings in his latest exhibition are created from thick, yet smoothly articulated planes of glossy acrylic against matte grounds. Graphic shapes in the works appear to shift as their surfaces reflect in changing light.”

The Art Gallery of Alberta – a must see!

IMG_6079“There is no must in art, because art is free,” said the great Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.  The beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta – designed by architect Randall Stout and first opened in 2010 – has been taking that motto to heart, offering free admission to all children and youth under the age of 18 – as well as anyone registered as a student in an Alberta post-secondary institution, regardless of age.

Today is the last day of the amazing exhibition of Peter von Tiesenhausen: Songs for Pythagoras  (more information in my upcoming post ‘Seen and liked Edmonton II’ next week).

For Peter von Tiesenhausen, the landscape of Alberta has been a primary source of inspiration, with sustainability being a constant thread that has woven its way through his work over the course of his long career. Addressing ideas of time, life, nature and re-generation, this exhibition engaged audiences with important issues related to extraction, production and our impact on the environment.

IMG_6136

Exhibition Songs for Pythagoras by Peter von Tiesenhausen

The Neon Sign Museum

The Neon Sign Museum, the first of its kind in Canada, features a collection of functional historic signs that tell a story about Edmonton’s neon past. The City has collected 20 neon signs, all of which have been restored and installed on the east wall of the TELUS building and the south wall of the Mercer Warehouse building on 104 Street and 104 Avenue. The museum is outdoors and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No admission is required.

The Churchill Wire Centre

IMG_6085A 1886 telephone directory would have been easy to print. Four subscribers joined Edmonton’s first telephone exchange established by Alexander Taylor. Within twenty years, this creative entrepreneur had connected 500 patrons to the revolutionary telephone and sold his company to the city.

Outgoing calls were transmitted through telephone exchange equipment, with switchmen and operators connecting each call to the receiving line. Edmonton built the first municipal exchange on this site in 1907.

The next year, the city became a telecommunications leader when it installed the first automatic dial phones in North America. Built in 1947, this beautiful two and a half storey building was designed by City Architect Maxwell Dewar.

The Edmonton City Hall

City Hall’s award winning architecture was designed by Edmonton architect Gene Dub and opened in 1992. Gene Dub’s design combines the old with the new by incorporating materials such as marble and granite from the old City Hall into the new building. It is also designed as a ‘people place’ – a place for civic government and a gathering place for Edmontonians.

The McLeod Building

IMG_6059

Kenneth McLeod was a former Edmonton alderman, contractor and real estate speculator, who in 1912 announced the construction of the McLeod Building, which he claimed would be the tallest in the city, 25 ft (7.6 m) taller than the Tegler Building. Architect John K. Dow was instructed to copy the Paulsen Building in Spokane, Washington. The construction began in 1913 and was completed in 1915.

Public Art Collection of Edmonton

“Catching Neutrinos” (2005) is the title of this sculpture by Darci Mallon that commemorates the centenary of the Edmonton Journal. The shape refers to the cylindrical form evident in almost every aspect of the printing process: printing press rollers, curled lead linotypes, and paper rolls. The vertical form evokes trees and the poster pillars once used to announce events. The medium, granite, is also used in paper production as the supporting core for the enormous paper rolls. Authentic Journal headlines from the last 100 years spiral up and around the granite and are from notable events specific to the history of the city.

IMG_6091

Photographs by Daniela Herold

 

 

Advertisements

Learning from ‘the man and the beast’: amazing Picasso exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Conversation with Picasso

“Go and do the things you can’t. That is how you get to do them.”

Things I have learned from Pablo Picasso:

– keep an open and curious mind – it will inform your creativity
– be open to change
– keep exploring and learning, don’t get stuck in your ways
– be free in your expression, don’t censure yourself
– be succinct and clear
– reduce to the max

Conversation with PICASSO

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else. ”

Conversation with PICASSO

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.”

Conversation with PICASSO

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

“Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) remains one of the most celebrated artists of all time. Contemporary art critic Robert Hughes wrote: “No painter or sculptor, not even Michelangelo, [was] as famous as this in his own lifetime.” Picasso was a champion of abstract art, which has come to define the avant-garde in the 20th century.

A Spanish-born artist who spent his adult life in France, Picasso’s artistic production spans over six decades, making him one of the most prolific artists of the modern era. His celebrated Blue and Rose Periods (1901-1906) marked his first decade in Paris. These early canvases are known for their deep, cool palette, often featuring people from Picasso’s circle of friends, while the Rose Period brought warmer, brighter hues of orange and pink, with figures from the theatre, ballet, and circus.

Cubism in its Analytic and Synthetic phases (1909-1919) developed when Picasso joined forces with French artist Georges Braque, and the two began experimenting with the composition of the object and picture plane. As they dismantled and re-assembled forms into various states, often with multiple perspectives and angles, Cubism was born.

While embracing elements of Classicism and Surrealism in both artistic and literary circles into the mid decades of the last century, Picasso never stopped exploring new themes and techniques in his art. His total artistic output is estimated in the thousands, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and ceramics. He married twice and had four children by three women.” (Source: WAG)

For more information about the amazing exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) – ‘Pablo Picasso, man and beast’ (May 13 until Aug 13, 2017), click here.

Seen and liked: ‘Identity under construction’ by Willie Seo

Willie Seo’s solo exhibition at Xchanges Gallery in Victoria, BC, dealt with issues of identity and its transformation through various media such as photography, sculpture, video installation. His work depicts the daily experiences of living in Canada; his mixed cultural experiences attempt to have a dialogue with the viewers.

W. Seo

 

About Willie Seo:

Seo was born in Seoul, South Korea where he studied photography and worked as a photojournalist. Currently, he is a Canadian citizen who works and resides in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He received his BFA from the University of Victoria where he adopted other media such as sculpture, installation, printmaking, video, and ceramics beside photography.

Seo has had several solo and two-person’s exhibitions in Victoria. He was awarded 2011 and 2012’s Spring Residency at Camosun College; his art works have been displayed at both Lansdowne and Interurban Campuses. In 2013, he was the winner of emerging artists’ exhibition at Leo Koo Gallery in Vancouver.

Photo credit: Daniela Herold 2014

On woodcuts and wood engravings

The graphic work of Maurits Escher

Have you ever seen the amazing video clip showing one of Europe’s most original graphic artists, Maurits Escher (1898-1972), creating his last great woodcut print ‘Snakes’ in 1969? I have loved this image ever since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until I saw the original in the Dutch city of The Hague last Summer that it really sank in: ‘Snakes’ is a perfect work of art.

Snake woodcut by M.C. Escher Escherhaus in The Hague

Snake woodcut
by M.C. Escher
Museum Escherhaus in The Hague

For many centuries woodcuts and engravings remained the only methods of reproducing more than one copy of a design. Maurits Escher mastered the technical processes after devoting decades of enthusiastic research into the characteristics of graphic materials.

Usually referred to as M. C. Escher, the Dutch artist is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints.

“Anyone who applies himself, from his early youth, to the practice of graphic techniques may well reach a stage at which he begins to hold as highest ideal the complete mastery of his craft.” (M.C. Escher)

What is a Woodcut?

The design is drawn on to a flat block of wood and the areas between the lines of the design are chiselled away until they stand out in high relief. The block is then inked and the design is printed. If more than one colour is required, different blocks are used to print successively on to the same piece of paper, each one being in careful register with the preceding ones.

What is a Wood Engraving?

The woodcut was primitive, limited and tended to be crude. The wood engravings is the natural and exquisitely refined development of it and as with other forms of engraving reflected the subtlety of design and execution flowing out of more civilized taste and the use of finer tools. With this subtractive technique fibers from the end-grain of a woodblock get removed, whereas a woodcut is cut on a cross grain, or plank-side of a woodblock. “A wood engraving allows a variety of cutting techniques and is extremely durable. It lends itself well to illustration in publications as well as limited edition prints. It has a most interesting history of usage as well as an active contemporary application.”*

Difference between the 2 methods

In 1922, Escher left the School of Architecture and Ornamental Design in Haarlem, (Netherlands), having learnt graphic techniques from Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita – a teacher whose strong personality impressed him deeply. From him, Escher wrote, ‘I inherited his predilection for side-grained wood, and one of the reason for my everlasting gratitude to him stems from the fact that he taught me to how to handle this material.”

The main technical difference between the woodcut and the wood engraving is that the woodcut usually produces black lines on a white background, the wood being cut away from both sides of the line to be printed black, whilst the wood engraving gives an effect of white lines on a black background. Each cut of the engraving tool prints a white line. Great care must be used in inking the block and taking off each impression. This method of printing gives a desirable individual quality to each print.

More information about

Woodcuts
*The Wood Engravers Network:
Since 1994, a group of printmakers, especially interested in wood engraving, have gathered and formed an organization called the Wood Engravers’ Network with over 200 members from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Woodcuts and Wood Engravings from the Lloyd’s Collection

The Official Escher Website published by the M.C. Escher Foundation and The M.C. Escher Company.

Escher’s Biography

Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (Amsterdam, 1868 – Auschwitz, 1944) was a graphic artist active in the years before the Second World War. He was born into a Jewish Family in Amsterdam and devoted himself to various techniques and mediums. He is primarily known for his woodblock prints, etchings, watercolours and drawings of birds, exotic animals, plants and flowers, and fantastical representations, both humorous and grim.

Printing workshop

DSC_0119DSC_0133

My friend Ludgera Mueller and I had the opportunity to explore simple means and methods for printmaking at the Graven Feather studio in Toronto at the beginning of this year. We were printing on already existing items using different and easy techniques without special or expensive equipment. What an inspiration and what fun to work with Pam Lobb!

The Graven Feather studio is an open and accessible destination dedicated to fostering creative output and artistic exchange. Geared towards both artists and the art-loving public, this bright and cheery environment is at its root a functioning studio for its members, as well as a workshop and gallery space.