The title for First Flowers refers to both the history of a specific plant, (magnolias originated over 65 million years ago and are one the few species of primitive flowers to grow continuously since,) and to the fact that they bloom so early in the spring, the branches full of flowers before the trees leaf out. These wall mounted bronze and steel sculptures are like wallpaper come to life, growing out of the wall, recreating the barrier that actual tree branches create within the architecture of the gallery. The temporality and fragility of the flora captured in the metallic permanence of bronze further emphasizes the tension between what is natural and what is altered or constructed. So much of what most people think of as nature (gardens, parks, fields and forests) has been created by humans, or is the by-product of human activity. First Flowers ventures into landscape sculpture, where the works themselves render landscape (a human construct) from elements inspired by the natural world.
This exhibition looks at the utopian imagination of the back-to-the-land movement, and considers both its ambitions and its failures, to see what we might recuperate from this history almost forty years later. Organized in collaboration with Cape Breton University Art Gallery and curated by Amish Morrell and Pan Wendt.
Dan Steeves: The Memory of Pain, curated by Tom Smart, and organized by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, examines the universal relationship between art, pain, and hope through meditative black and white etchings based on a visit to the sobering site of the World War II concentration camp at Mauthausen, Austria, and a personal trauma that afflicted the Sackville-based artist’s family. Steeves’ personal struggle and its lingering memories are points of departure for a compelling artistic exploration of an encounter with pain and suffering and its transformative, mortal aspects.
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 5, 6 – 8 pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, February 15, 2 pm
The project Suburban Sublime situates a mystical narrative within suburbia. Suburbia is a seemingly bland and uneventful place. Yet paradoxically, this banality can incubate something curious and wondrous, such as the luminous events transpiring within these pictures. Are the events supernatural? Spiritual? Threatening? That remains to be seen. The sublime can be found within the depths of the paradox.
About the Artist: Christopher Jordan is a photographic artist and teacher. Conceptually, Jordan works with a variety of techniques to create landscape imagery of both real and imaginary places. He is most interested in how depictions of place serve as vehicles for reflection, memory and meditation. Jordan’s work has been exhibited nationally and is held in several private collections. Jordan holds a faculty position at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He earned his MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004.
Site-specific installation by Canadian conceptual artist engages with the earliest acquisitions in the Gallery’s collection.
Stephen May was born in Témiscaming, Quebec in 1957. In 1976, after one year of study in the Photographic Arts Program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, Stephen began to attend art classes at the Ottawa School of Art. Three years later he enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University, from which he graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During his fourth year of study, while in the process of creating a landscape painting, he came to understand the relationship between the success of a painting and the spirit of the painter. Stephen realized that drawing and painting were the media most natural to him. His convictions in that respect remain strong to this day.
Following his formal education, Stephen traveled through Europe for eight months exploring collections of great art to deepen his appreciation and knowledge. On his return from Europe, he accepted a seasonal position with Theatre New Brunswick as a prop builder, allowing him five months per year to pursue painting full time. After being awarded a Canada Council “B” grant in 1992, Stephen was able to take a one-year sabbatical from Theatre New Brunswick which provided a stepping stone to his decision to resign and paint full time, which he has been successfully doing since 1996.
Stephen has been a resident of Fredericton since 1984. In that time, he has exhibited extensively, been an active member of the arts community both professionally and as a volunteer, raised two daughters, and been formally recognized as one of the province’s most respected painters. Gallery 78 has represented Stephen since he assumed residency in Fredericton, and has presented many solo and group exhibitions of his work. In 2006 the Beaverbrook Art Gallery presented Stephen May: Embodiments, a solo retrospective, and in April 2007 Stephen was awarded the prestigious Miller Brittain Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.
I really just try and make good paintings and drawings, beautiful ones. What that means, exactly, I’m not sure. When it happens, though, it tends to be obvious.
The 18th century French painter, Chardin, said you use colours, but you paint with feeling. If I can just manage to paint respectfully, lovingly, like him, that would be enough.
Andrzej Maciejewski’s large black and white photographic portraits of potatoes blend the humorous and the serious, the commonplace and the monumental. Celebrating that which often goes unnoticed, the potatoes are chosen for their diverse shapes and textures which easily lend themselves to abstraction.
Paolo Almario’s mon/ton is a media installation that allows us to interpret notions of being through spatial representation. Using digital technology such as computers, various sensors and software to modulate, automate, codify, treat and materialise digital information, Almario tries to decode systems of identity or what he calls the spatiality of being. During his ten-day residency in Moncton, the artist will create a video installation using digital information gathered at the Peticodiac River. mon/ton is the first show in a new series of partnerships between artists run centres Galerie Sans Nom (Moncton) and Le Lobe (Saguenay) promoting creative exchange through further partnership with the FICFA and Regard sur le court métrage Saguenay film festivals. Aptly titled DIALOGUEs, it is made possible through the generous support of the Conseil des arts de Saguenay.
ProletariART 2015 is the CBU Art Gallery’s fourth annual community exhibition. More than 135 artists from all over Cape Breton island responded to the call for entries. Works were created using a variety of materials from traditional art and craft media to found objects and household items. In addition to works by children, youth, professional and emerging artists, this year’s ProletariART includes a number of collaborations by community groups.
At the heart of the community exhibition is the drive to create and share experiences with others. Come visit the CBU Art Gallery and celebrate the diversity and creativity in our community.
For The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery Division’s first interdisciplinary residency, Canadian visual artist Tanya St-Pierre produced a new body of digital collages drawing upon her extensive research carried out in The Rooms Provincial Archives. Exploring women’s work during the first and second world wars in Newfoundland and Labrador, this new series of research-based works is concerned with notions of digital heritage, the rupturing of historical context, and the rendering of poetry within new ideas of narrativity.