Raina Enss, Ghost, video installation and found object (detail)
Ydessa Hendles and Michael Audain are synonymous with a superlative commitment to Canadian art: enter Jim Hill and his 15,000 square foot new-build Esker Foundation gallery mounting its inaugural exhibition The New Alberta Contemporaries. Guest curated by Caterina Pizanias, 47 artists, recently graduated from various undergrad, masters & PhD programs at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, present a broad mix of work providing a look at the current climate and what might become future currency.
Everything about this package is win-win. The opening show risks new art, there are smart works among the something-for-everyone composite, and even if you don’t dance to the beat of the show, the gallery itself is an architectural gem. Views across Inglewood rooftops to mature trees on the banks of the Bow, give way to a stunning backdrop of downtown Calgary. Entry is free and there’s a raft of public programs.
Turning to the art, Colin Lyons’ print series Industrial Palimpsest includes a copper sulphate bath and an engineered object similar to those he depicts, a steel pulley coated with fragile crystalline forms. Stephanie Murray’s eerie yet beautiful structure of fungoid porcelain and detritus suggests we’re all vulnerable to unknown forms of growth. And Raina Enss’ video installation Ghost conjures relationships connecting our selves to the built environment. As with many time-based projects, you really need to sit with the work. The same is true for The New Alberta Contemporaries and Esker: promotional material cannot supplant the first-hand experience. You need to see it to not just believe it, but also feel how the bar for art and culture in Western Canada has grown to new heights.
Esker Foundation: http://www.eskerfoundation.com/exhibitions.html
The New Alberta Contemporaries continues until August 29.
Dick Averns is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose exhibitions and performances have been presented internationally. He is currently artist in residence at The Pembina Institute, supported by Calgary 2012 – Cultural Capital of Canada. Dick teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design, and his writing appears in Canadian Art, Front, On Site Review and many catalogues. He is Akimblog’s Calgary correspondent.
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Posted by Emily Barnett, on 2012-06-26 12:00:44Thanks for the article Dick! I agree with you The space is amazing, the inaugural show is well curated with a diversity of strong emerging talent, and Raina Enns' media piece is a real highlight of the exhibition. She is certainly an artist to watch.