Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fibre-Glass: Art in Calgary

I was humbled when after my second performance, Eleanor Boyden, who won both the Peoples Choice, and the Jury award for her fibre art at a Balancing Acts Exhibition, gave me some fantastic pieces of her fabric jewelry. See image above.

I returned to Prince’s Island Park on my last day as I was completely enamored with the marble sculpture of flower, leaf, dragonfly, fish, particularly the way the sun shone through the different colored marbles, and that the marbles can be rotated in their sockets by rubbing your hand across them to reveal different facets of color. It was minus 29 degrees with the wind chill factor. It completely drained the 2 hour battery on my video camera in 8 minutes! But I managed to get a few stills in before it died, see above.

Sculpture by: Lori Sobkowich. “Four pixilated images created with approximately 15,000 glass marbles which are captured in perforated and riveted steel framing. These images of flora and fauna are elevated to eye level on four simple concrete forms which are situated at right angles to each other. The theme encompasses the ecological aspects a visitor to Prince’s Island might encounter—water, air and land. The images themselves are a contemporary version of the traditional stained glass panel, making the changing direction and quality of the natural light as much an element of the sculpture as the glass, metal and stone”. To quote the Calgary public art media package.

The snow and bare tree trunks seemed to have turned even the creatures to white and black. I met three cute white birds who flew all around my walking stick and bear-eared hat, considering alighting. Two black squirrels met high on a tree, communed for awhile nose to nose. Another perched in a cleft trying to open an acorn it had retrieved from it's winter stash, with no success, as the acorn was clearly frozen. I thought how much harder a squirrel's life may be than mine, but then again I don't have fur for frozen temperatures, so maybe we are much the same...?

I was excited to discover while I was there not one but two Judy Chicago Exhibitions were on in Calgary! She has been and still is at 70 such a leader for women in art. I was particularly inspired by some of her recent glass works (see image above from her website), as well as the sheer size of her tapestries, and that one project took several years and 150 women sewing to complete! Now that’s visionary! An accompanying exhibition of fibre art by local women artists was equally as intriguing - She Will Always Be Younger Than Us.

Also on while I was there an exhibition by Paul Wong, one of VIVO Media Arts founders, called 2 Hot 2 Handle at the Glenbow Museum. An interesting take on Alberta’s cowboy/cowgirl culture drawing on historical bronze statues and new video work. He has some innovative installations coming up in Vancouver in February/March 2010.

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