AFA Travelling Exhibition Program (TREX) Southeast Announces 3 New Exhibitions

Aug 23 • Alberta, NEWS, RESOURCES, SCOPE • 470 Views • Comments Off on AFA Travelling Exhibition Program (TREX) Southeast Announces 3 New Exhibitions

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AFA Travelling Exhibition Program (TREX) Southeast Announces 3 New Exhibitions

1.6 Million Miles a Day


Dan Hudson Illusion of the Sun Going Down (from the exhibition 1.6 Million Miles a Day) 2015 2 channel video

The exhibition 1.6 Million Miles a Day features videos and photographs by Canmore artist Dan Hudson. The works in this exhibition provide an unassuming first impression. The viewer initially encounters imagery of a sunset, park, cityscape, or mountain range. But this initial impression will dissolve as you become absorbed in the dark meditative waves in the video Illusions of the Sun Going Down or the ghostly mountains that appear and disappear in News, Weather & Sports, a year-long time-lapse video that documents season changes and leisure activities in a public park. As the seconds turn into minutes, the conceptual and technical complexities of Hudson’s work begin to emerge.

The concept of time is essential in both Hudson’s creative and technical processes. Earth’s average orbital speed is 110,000 km/h, and it travels approximately 1.6 million miles around the sun each day.[1] It rotates on a tilted axis, from west to east, which is why the sun appears to rise on the eastern horizon and set on the western.[2] Time is based on Earth’s rotation, and as Hudson describes, “Time delineates the essence as well as the parameters of our existence.” The works in 1.6 Million Miles a Day address both linear and cyclical aspects of time, provoking the viewer to contemplate observation and memory, and how we relate to each other and the world around us. Hudson’s technical feats directly relate to the conceptual bases of his work; meticulous documentation and editing processes take months, at times years.

Curated by Xanthe Isbister, Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre

For more information on the program and location of exhibitions please visit TREXPROGRAMSOUTHEAST.CA




Abstractland: Paintings by Les Graff


Les Graff Connected Prairie Landscape Forms (from the exhibition Abstractland) Oil on Masonite 18 x 14 inches, 2013

Abstractland features a selection of twenty oil paintings by Les Graff, and spans four decades of the artist’s prolific career. The paintings, which he refers to as “oil studies,” were produced on location in various settings around Alberta: mountains, prairies, lakes and farmland. His spontaneous and intuitive approach produces abstract works that “intensify the real by defamiliarizing it,”[1] a fundamental quality of abstract expressionism. The results convey characteristics of nature, such as the light over a farm field at sunset or the silence of the boreal forests in winter. They are both aggressively and thoughtfully rendered, evoking the power and beauty of our natural world.

Beyond interpreting the observed world, artists who create abstract works “search for essence, for some central meaning in what is seen, for a distillation of the character, mood or spirit of nature’s aspects.”[2] In a 1984 interview with George Moppett, Graff explains his intimate relationship with nature: “It seemed people could come and go, but the prairie grass would continue blowing and changing with the seasons. It was there before we came; it will be there after. One becomes very much aware of the fleeting aspect of one’s own existence.”[3] In the book Abstract Painting in Canada, Ronald Niggard describes the conceptual basis of abstract painting: “the painter [takes] something away from the world in order to generalize it, distort it, intensify it.”[4] For the last fifty-five years, Graff has done just that. He personifies the meaning of artist, creating raw expressions of vulnerability: instinctive and unassuming.

For more information on the program and location of exhibitions please visit TREXPROGRAMSOUTHEAST.CA

[1] Nasgaard, Ronald, Abstract Painting in Canada (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2007).

[2] Baur, John I.H, Nature in Abstraction, (New York: the Macmillan Company, 1958),

[3] Brennan, Brian, “Les Graff — Homage,” Galleries West, April 30, 2007,—homage/

[4] Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada.


When We Were Young

“We go from birth to death, from first to last. We are young before we grow old, stimulus always precedes response, and there is no return to yesterday. The sole exception is memory.”

-Jill Price, from The Woman Who Can’t Forget


Susan Knight When The Bough Breaks (from the exhibition When We Were Young) Digitally manipulated photograph 30 x 24 inches, 2015

When We Were Young features the work of five talented female artists from Medicine Hat. Each artist was invited to interpret and respond to the theme “when we were young.” The works explore the innocence and joy of childhood, relationships with siblings, and the unexpected and sometimes traumatic experiences of youth. Participating artists Jessica Plattner, Susan Knight, Safira Lachapelle, Kat Valenzuela, and Wendy Stuck have created works through a variety of approaches: oil painting, photography, mixed media assemblage, and drawing. The results are a diverse collection of unique interpretations that celebrate both the complexities and simplicities of youth.

The theme/title refers to the past, influencing each artist to recollect memories which then inspired their concepts. In his book The Making of Memory, Steven Rose describes how memory influences our sense of self: “Memory defines who we are and shapes the way we act more closely than any other single aspect of our personhood. We know who we are, and who other people are in terms of memory.”[1] Each of the participating artists was inspired by memories, but from radically different points of view. For example,

Plattner has borrowed elements from previous paintings and incorporated memories of her childhood in Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. She explains, “My brother and I spent much of our time playing long running games of make-believe which existed in imaginary spaces: underground hide-outs, castles, abandoned labyrinths.” Plattner’s work evokes a surreal/real aesthetic; she’s created invented landscapes inhabited by children and animals in precarious situations. A muted blue colour palette enhances an emotionally charged atmosphere layered with narratives about risk-taking and fearlessness. Kathryn Valenzuela, like Plattner, wanted to capture the explorative nature and simplicity of childhood in her large black-and-white photos. She explains, “I wanted to portray those moments when children are intuitively at one with the physical environment and have that feeling of blissful freedom.” Valenzuela’s precision and impeccable timing capture compositions that are the ultimate expressions of innocence and joy. You can hear the sprinklers and feel the humidity in Late Summer Days, a photograph of Valenzuela’s daughter blissfully jumping on the backyard trampoline. But beyond the portrayal of innocence is the unassuming After the Rain, a photo of Valenzuela’s son standing in the middle of a park walking trail wearing an oversized hat. He cuddles a large branch that has fallen after a storm. His expression speaks to the underrated genius children possess, embodying a sense of “wise beyond his years.” In comparison to the figurative works in the exhibition are Wendy Struck’s assemblage paintings. Struck is an avid collector, and uses her collection of found objects to create three-dimensional paintings. She layers components of landscape and architecture with found objects, text, and photo-transfers that create a dream-like visual memoir. Miniature white wooden houses are juxtaposed with doors opening to blackness, symbolizing idealized memories of childhood and its sometimes-difficult realities.

For more information on the program and location of exhibitions please visit TREXPROGRAMSOUTHEAST.CA

[1] Rose, Steven, The Making of Memory (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1.





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