Betty Kaser: Drawing in Space

The Red Head Gallery, Toronto

Rear: Space IX, collage with Mylar print, 4′ x 2′8″, 2022. Front: Space VIII, plywood, 12′ x 8″ x 8″, 2023. Photo: Michel Boucher.

Betty Kaser: Drawing in Space – An Installation

August 9 – August 19, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 12, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The Red Head Gallery, Toronto

Artist’s Statement
Growing up I was all but lost in the big sky of the Canadian prairies with the huge empty landscape stretching out to infinity around me. My long standing interest in space and my way of seeing comes from this landscape mapped into my imagination early in life.

Informed by this vision, the installation is broad in scope encompassing all the dimensions of the gallery: the walls, the floor, the ceiling and lighting, the placement of objects, as well as the boundless space of the mind. Soaring to the ceiling, a large column draws everything together.

As a child, and now in the studio, the sky and the horizon hold me in a comforting embrace. I try to reshape the great prairie space with my work, to reimagine that solid horizon resting where the earth meets the sky. Within the gallery, my horizon can rest where the floor meets the walls and a landscape I know emerges in a space I have recreated, a quiet place of potential, of solace, of peace.

Left/Rear: Space I, plywood, black gesso, white gesso, string (stitched fabric), 9′ x 10′ x 4″, 2021. Right/Front: Space II, plywood, white gesso, driftwood, electric insulator, 5′ x 8″ x 4″, 2021. Photo: Michel Boucher.

About the Artist
Betty Kaser’s life-long visual arts practice, and her parallel career in urban planning have uniquely inspired and mutually pollinated each other.

Graduating from York University, Toronto in 1972 with a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies, Kaser became a vanguard in the early 1980s Toronto artist community, converting two-storey disused factories into condominiums for purchase by artists as permanent, affordable live-work studios.

Kaser’s cross-discipline engagement with space, and her sensitivity to it, involving both the artistic and the practical, can be witnessed throughout her art practice evolving from early work in painting through to the present in sculpture and installation.

Left: Space VI, plywood, black and white gesso, mirrored Plexiglass, 4′ x 2′4″ x 4′7″, 2022. Right: Space VII, plywood, black gesso, driftwood, 6′ x 9″ x 4″, 2023. Photo: Michel Boucher.

Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo, group and invitational exhibitions. Solo exhibitions include: Glendon Gallery of York University (1986), Praxis Gallery (1998), followed by “The Space Between” and “Fragile Attachment,” Engine Gallery (2004, 2005), “At Least We’re Somewhere,” Brayham Contemporary Gallery (2009), “Seeing into Darkness,” Black Cat Artspace (2014), and “Space: A Dialogue between Landscape and Architecture,” The Red Head Gallery (2018).

Responding to Kaser’s 2018 exhibition at The Red Head Gallery, viewer Sandra Laronde, executive and artistic director of Toronto’s Red Sky Performance, commented, “Chi-miigwech for the walk through and down an essentialist path into the Canadian prairies.”

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