NICOLE KELLY WESTMAN & DEL HILLIER AT UNTITLED ART SOCIETY
May 26, 2016
Artists don’t really seem to adopt alter egos anymore. After the heyday of 1970s performance and mail art (shout out to Flakey Rosehip and The MacBooty Brothers), the practice has fallen away over the decades. This might be why Nicole Kelly Westman and Del Hillier’s collaborative exhibition at Untitled Art Society takes on a distinctly nostalgic air, as they inhabit two working class country music performers in Presenting Two Left Footed Loocee and Delvis Cache.
The exhibition is primarily a display of performance relics, or perhaps more accurately, props, that point to fictional characters based on the artists’ own experiences growing up in blue collar mining towns. Their 1970s-inflected costumes are displayed in two life-sized vitrines flanked by a rather over-lit video projection (almost invisible on the sunny day that I visited) and a behind-the-scenes area that looked like a mildly debauched dressing room. The installation draws you in, but, perhaps productively, its unabashedly theatrical (almost hammy) nature really just makes me want to see those costumes animated by live performance. There are a couple of attendant events that will scratch that itch, including the launch of a “cassette publication” Live from UAS with the Sled Island music festival. My sense is that the live events will complicate the lighthearted gallery installation – the props are just one piece of the puzzle of this ambitious multi-pronged project.
Westman and Hillier’s work certainly resonates with the city. The honky-tonk country western vibe might come off as ironic elsewhere, but in Calgary, where real cowboys walk around and nobody bats an eye at the ten-gallon hat sitting at the bar, this project has a surprising and refreshingly earnest quality to it. And, on one hand, it’s admirable that our ARCs support contextually appropriate projects and locally based artists rather than chase international names. However, this is the latest in a string of exhibitions at ARCs featuring the work of other Calgary ARC staffers (Nicole Kelly Westman is the director of Stride Gallery). While Westman and Hillier’s work is strong and no doubt worthy of an exhibition in this space, this recent micro-trend in programming leaves me hoping for fresh blood and new names in the season to come.
Untitled Art Society: http://www.uascalgary.org/
Nicole Kelly Westman and Del Hillier: Presenting Two Left Footed Loocee and Delvis Cache continues until July 2.
Sarah Todd is a curator currently based in Calgary. She has previously worked at Western Front, InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, XPACE Cultural Centre, and The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She has also produced projects with a range of organizations including Vtape, Kunstverein München, The Goethe Institute, The Pacific Cinematheque, Glenbow Museum and The Illingworth Kerr Gallery. She is Akimblog’s Calgary correspondent and can be followed on Twitter@sarahannetodd.
11 Visual Art Exhibitions To See in MayThis month, go on a gallery and wine hop through Banff, admire an exhibition that's all about spring cleaning and see photographs of beaches that will induce nostalgic memories of summers past.BY KARIN OLAFSON
May 05, 2016
Banff Gallery and Wine Hop
May 6 and 7
Various locations in Banff
Tour four art galleries in Banff, while sipping wine and enjoying snacks. Pick up your gallery hop postcard at whichever gallery you begin at, collect a stamp at each gallery, and then enter to win a prize. (Spoiler: it’s a dining and accommodation package in Banff.) As well as seeing lots of art in the mountain town, speak with different artists at each venue and discuss their artistic inspiration. And there are different wine tastings at each venue, as well as appetizers. Wine tastings cost just $1 each.
The four participating art galleries in this art and wine hop event are All In the Wild Gallery, Gingko and Ink Atelier, Canada House Gallery and Willock and Sax Gallery.
Until May 13
University of Calgary, 410 University Ct. N.W., 403-210-6201, nickle.ucalgary.ca
This exhibition showcases work by students graduating from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Calgary. The exhibition features work by the undergraduate students Marina DiMaio, Carlie Mitchell, Melissa Patrinack and Andrea Rizutti.
Herringer Kiss Gallery
Superior Customer Service | Joe Fleming
Until May 21
709 11 Ave. S.W., 403-228-4889, herringerkissgallery.com
Joe Fleming is a Toronto-based painter. This exhibition showcases some of Fleming’s most recent paintings. They feel almost sculptural in nature, and highlight Fleming’s recent experimentation with form, texture and perspective. His use of industrial polycarbonate adds to the paintings’ 3-dimensionality as there is play between light and shadows.
Like Affections | Svea Ferguson
Until May 21
SVEA FERGUSON, (DETAIL, WORK IN PROGRESS)
This Calgary-based artist specializes in drawing. Her work has been shown all over Calgary, including major community pre-demolition projects like Wreck City, Phantom Wing and Demo Tape. This month is your chance to see her work again.
Avalanche! Institute of Contemporary Art
Until June 11
343 11 Ave. S.W., 403-462-6773, avalancheavalanche.com
This group exhibition opened on April 29. See artwork by five artists centering around the theme of spring cleaning — it's a way to put off your own spring cleaning for a little while, too. The artists are Sylvain Beaudry, Julia Kansas, Karly Mortimer, Jeremy Pavka and Lindsay Wells. The exhibition is free and open to all.
Untitled Contemporary Art Gallery: Main Space
Presenting Two Left-Footed Loocee and Delvis Cache | Nicole Kelly Westman and Del Hillier
Until July 2
343 11 Ave. S.W., 403-262-7911, uascalgary.org
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNTITLED ART SOCIETY
Calgary-based artist and current director of the Stride Gallery Nicole Kelly Westman and Vancouver-based artist Del Hillier collaborate to unite their two characters, Two Left Footed Loocee and Delvis Cache. The result is a sculptural, performative installation that mixes art and storytelling. Together the two characters tell stories of growing up in blue collar mining families and examine hierarchies of the work world.
Christine Klassen Gallery
There Is But One Rule | Ronald Boaks
May 12 to June 25
200, 321 50 Ave. S.E., 403-262-1880, christineklassengallery.com
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 39.0 X 39.0 IN.
Work from Ronald Boaks’ Spirits Arise series are showcased in this exhibition. The pieces are similar to each other in terms of Boaks' use of colour and expression, and there’s a cloud-like image that appears again and again. The paintings in this series encourage viewers to think about the inescapable, universal experience of death and the importance of living in the now.
Introducing Birgit Piskor
May 12 to June 25
(WORK IN PROGRESS, APRIL 2016), CONCRETE.
Birgit Piskor loves concrete. She loves it so much that she taught herself to be an artist in order to make concrete sculptures. This exhibition showcases Piskor’s indoor-outdoor concrete sculptures, pieces that channels concrete’s industrial function and its ability to transform into unexpected shapes.
Endless Summer | Joshua Jensen-Nagle
May 14 to June 25
730 11 Ave. S.W., 403-266-1972, newzones.com
This exhibition will get you excited for beach season. The solo exhibition by Jensen-Nagle is the result of 12 years of work. His inspiration for the exhibition are various beaches during the summer. The show includes photos using vintage Polaroid cameras to create a nostalgic feel; photographs taken from a helicopter to create aerial imagery; and modern day cameras to create different distinct, sharp images. These photos will evoke memories and induce wanderlust.
A Catalogue of Artificial Sentiments | Sophie Jodoin
May 14 to June 25
Sophie Jodoin’s new exhibit highlights her interest in language. Jodoin’s exhibition is a visual and text-based catalogue, made by combining images and descriptions of flowers. The exhibition is meant to encourage viewers to question artificial representations.
May 26 to August 21
117 8 Ave. S.W., 403-770-1350, contemporarycalgary.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CONTEMPORARY CALGARY
This group exhibition is about women taking up space. To explore this idea, a variety of female artists, each at different points in their career and with a focus on different mediums, are brought together. Their work is united to examine excess as related to the female body, gendered spaces, and desire.
UAS in the News
Updates about articles written on exhibitions and the society.