Calgary, Art Central

Saturday the Hound discovered two enclaves of art in her new city. Art Central (above), and 11th Avenue boast a number of diverse sources of sculpture and canvas (and pottery and ceramic too, but that’s another story). Of all the galleries I visited, Paul Kuhn and Newzones on 11th were favorites. They both have well designed, well lit spaces, and a strong curatorial presence. Newzones had two shows, both worth seeing. G’DDY UP!, a Stampede inspired western theme show, consists of eight artists various responses to all things western. All of the offerings were good, though you won’t find any radical reinterpretations. A few stood out: David Levinthal offers a handful of excellent Macro Poloroids of toys (always a Hound favorite…), Joshua Jensen-Nagle’s pigment prints are wonderful (moody, dark, like paintings seen through a dirty windscreen…), and Kevin Sonmor’s huge horse paintings were fun. See installation shots here. The other show I can’t recall the title of, but it included several abstract paintings (including one woman who does monochromes reminiscent of Marcia Hafif) that were exciting. Apparently the strongest of these artists will be featured in an upcoming show on young abstract artists in September.

Paul Kuhn’s website is not up to date so no use commenting on that…but there was a huge painting there of a horse as well as a series of paintings featuring various mountainous landscapes as well as a few cityscapes–Montreal for one. These were more of a departure than the work at Newzones. The landscapes more abstract, working the line in a variety of ways (cartography, smudge, squiggle), and the painting of the horse had ghost images under the surface, and layers that this viewer found both compelling and puzzling: not sure what the overall effect was supposed to be–and this isn’t new by any means–but I loved the gestures, the colour palette, and contrast between the very literal horse and the more temporal washes of color, texture, drip and image.
You can see the beautiful sheen of the flank (I hope that is flank…) here. It’s quite lovely. Worth the trip.

Other galleries–Axis Contemporary Art had some interesting work, and both Truck and TrepanierBaer look promising but alas they were closed! More on those later…

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