Ah, February… It’s a time when we start to feel like we’re finally reaching the end of winter and our hearts begin to melt as we surround ourselves with people whose warmth we admire. Whether with friends, lovers or going out to meet new people, a gallery can be a wonderful place to start. Open during the day, they usually have free or by-donation admission, a sophisticated atmosphere and an ability to draw upon different types of storytelling and bring up conversations that we don’t normally have in settings like a restaurant, café or loud music venue (which, of course, follow!)
U of C’s Nickle Arts offers a mystifying, quirky air with its new group show “Folly,” featuring artists Greg Payce, Laura Vickerson, Gloria Mok, MN Hutchinson, Walter May and writer/curator Diana Sherlock. This is the conclusion to a project that began in 2009 when they were invited to help develop a residency program at the historic, 18th-century Chateau Mathieu in Normandy, France. Constructed during the Enlightenment, the building spans the French Revolution, Napoleon, Nazis, the Battle of Normandy and more. Upon their arrival, evidence of inhabitance appeared far in the past and original pressings of books by iconic writers of the time, like Voltaire, remained on the shelves. Each of the artists found influence for work that now comprises this exhibition and you can also catch what is certain to be a fascinating pair of talks presented on February 13 at noon by Diana Sherlock, and then on March 27 at noon by ceramic artist Greg Payce (recent recipient of the prestigious Governor General’s award) and Laura Vickerson, who is famous for her textile-based installation art using thousands of rose petals.
Until the end of the month, you can head to ACAD’s Illingworth Kerr Gallery to see another show that Diana Sherlock has curated, called “In the Making,” which showcases astounding work by ACAD alumni Ward Bastian, Jolie Bird, Nicole Burisch, Hyang Cho, Dean Drever, MacKenzie Kelly-Frère, Stephen Holman, Robin Lambert, Wednesday Lupypciw, Brendan McGillicuddy, Tyler Rock, Jenna Stanton and Pavitra Wickramasinghe. The pieces are unified by a recurring intersection between contemporary craft and emerging digital media. It touches on things like 3D printing, Kafka, blown glass with sound-responsive sensors and is the first in a series of touring ACAD alumni shows that demonstrates some cutting edge local artists who are really getting people talking.
By Cait Lepla