Surrey Art Gallery is looking for a few people to “inspire kids through art.”
Volunteer docents are needed to lead weekday school group tours of the gallery’s contemporary art exhibitions, at Bear Creek Park.
“Docents play an incredible role,” Chris Dawson-Murphy, volunteer program co-ordinator at Surrey Art Gallery, said in an appeal for help. “They encourage elementary school students to engage with art from a young age, helping them make connections between art and ideas.”
Docents interact with school students and help them explore a variety of art mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, video, sound art and mixed-media works.
For the volunteer work at Surrey Art Gallery, experience is not required.
For the current intake, the application deadline is Jan. 13, and docent training begins Jan. 31.
“All applicants with a desire to learn and contribute to the community, and who enjoy art and working with children, will be considered,” the appeal says. “New docents receive training and accompany senior docents on tours for the first three months. Ongoing training orients docents to new exhibits through lectures and workshops taught by curators, artists, and educators.”
Shelley Wilcox, a volunteer docent for three years and chair of the gallery’s docent committee, says lasting friendships are made among the volunteers.
“There is always something new to explore and you are constantly learning,” Wilcox said. “I look forward to new exhibitions and to our discussions at docent meetings. I really enjoy working with the docents and challenging myself to learn more about the art we are displaying. I found contemporary art confusing at times, but now I have a better understanding of how to relate to it.”
Surrey Art Gallery will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.
Opening Jan. 25, the gallery’s next feature exhibit is “Spindle Whorl,” a Vancouver Art Gallery-loaned showcase of 40 silkscreen prints and spindle whorls made by Musqueam artist Susan Point.
“While Point’s practice is informed by a profound respect for Coast Salish traditions,” says a post at surrey.ca, “she has pushed the boundaries of tradition in her desire to represent Salish culture in the contemporary world. When she embarked on her career, there were few precedents for an Indigenous woman carving or working with sculpture, as these were activities traditionally done by men. Nonetheless, as this exhibition shows, Point has continually pushed the traditional form of the spindle whorl in extraordinary new directions.”
— City of Surrey (@CityofSurrey) December 20, 2019
Also opening at the gallery on Jan. 25 is “Counting the Steps to the Sun,” a showcase of works by the late Don Li-Leger, a South Surrey-based artist and Surrey Civic Treasure award winner who died last May. The exhibit will offer patrons a chance to view some of Li-Leger’s paintings and video.
Li-Leger had a five-decade long art practice “marked by a deep and enduring curiosity for nature,” says an event advisory. “Over his career, he explored flora, fauna, and landscapes through a variety of media. This exhibition brings together selections of late video works alongside a series of paintings the artist made in response to the 2017 ‘super bloom’ of wildflowers in Southern California and Arizona. Vivid colours and abstraction point to Li-Leger’s enduring ecological vision, rooted in life and light.”
Li-Leger was also a caretaker of the PLOT community sharing garden in Newton, on a field south of the arena there.
Art Toronto art fair returns in person to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – The Globe and Mail
A year ago, on a dark October evening, Canadian art lovers got all dressed up, cracked open the Champagne, plated the nibbles and sat down at their computers to pretend they were attending the opening night of an art fair. Art Toronto, the annual fair that normally fills the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with 100 gallery booths and thousands of visitors, tried hard to offer a virtual version featuring viewing rooms and video interviews. There was a certain atmosphere – if you tried equally hard – but without the circulating crowds and the continuous chatter, it didn’t really feel like a fair.
This year, the chatter may be somewhat inhibited by masks but Art Toronto is back with an in-person event at the convention centre. More than 60 galleries are participating with physical booths as well as an online presence; another two dozen are offering simultaneous shows in their own premises for those who want to avoid any crowds.
You’ll need proof of vaccination to enter the convention centre and tickets are timed to the half-hour. Meanwhile, the swank opening-night preview, traditionally a fundraiser for the Art Gallery of Ontario, has been postponed until 2022.
Still, from Friday to Sunday, there will be real art in real physical spaces; for the digital skeptic or the neophyte collector, browsing is back.
And from all this, there emerges a theme too: Indigenous art. About a third of participating galleries happen to be showing work by Indigenous artists, from veterans such as the Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore to mid-career figures such as Maria Hupfield, an Anishinaabe artist now working in Brooklyn, N.Y., or the Toronto artist Jason Baerg, who is Cree and Métis and teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. This is coincidental, reflecting the interests of Canadian gallerists and collectors, rather than any specific direction from Art Toronto. It is a trend that includes fair stalwarts such as Montreal dealer Pierre-François Ouellette who has shown work by Meryl McMaster and Kent Monkman for years and the arrival of more galleries that specialize in First Nations art including the Indigenous-owned K Art from Buffalo, N.Y., and Vancouver’s Ceremonial Art.
It also happens to dovetail with the fair’s panel on decolonizing public collections, moderated by National Gallery of Canada curator Greg Hill. That is an online event, one of a series of interviews and discussions that can be watched at home. You can also visit the exhibitors online: Their VR booths on the Art Toronto website will remain up for a week after the physical event closes.
Another in-person option, however, is being offered by some of the participating galleries in Toronto who have banded together to produce a city-wide gallery week to coincide with the fair. Last year, photography dealer Stephen Bulger couldn’t stomach the idea of online-only and organized a small pop-up fair, inviting four galleries from across the country into his Dundas Street West headquarters and allowing masked visitors to step carefully inside. That idea has taken hold and, alongside Bulger, several more Toronto venues have visiting galleries in their spaces: the Olga Korper Gallery welcomes Calgary’s VIVIANEART; Robert Birch Contemporary hosts Montreal’s Art Mûr and Feheley Fine Arts has Vancouver’s Fazakas Gallery.
Although not officially affiliated with Art Toronto, the friendly art-week idea meshes with the cross-Canada scope of a fair that has always positioned itself as a national rather than metropolitan event. For example, this year, almost a third of the participating galleries are from Montreal. One of those galleries is Hugues Charbonneau’s, and that dealer is arriving already sold out of work by two artists, both of whom address issues of Black history and identity, the Haitian-Canadian Manuel Mathieu and the Congolese-Canadian Moridja Kitenge Banza.
You can’t really put a dollar figure on Art Toronto’s activity because sales are handled by the individual galleries: The barometer of its success is simply the number of galleries that choose to come back year after year. The pandemic may have hurt museums badly but as Charbonneau’s example shows the art market itself has prospered in recent months. In 2021 Art Toronto is exhibiting resilience.
Art Toronto runs Oct. 29-31 in person at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and online to Nov. 7. See arttoronto.ca for details.
Toronto Gallery Week runs Oct. 26-31. See torontogalleryweek.com for details.
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Golden Butterfly Studios features ancient art of filigree – Greenville Journal
By Allison Wells
Exquisite European art has made its way to Greenville with Golden Butterfly Studios. Handmade, fine silk filigree artwork is presented by Alek Kocevski in a tradition that’s thousands of years old.
Filigree art was started in the Middle East millennia ago and has been a time-honored tradition throughout eastern Europe, including Kocevski’s home country of North Macedonia. It was there he first encountered the intricate craftsmanship and decided to learn the trade. Fascinated by both the art itself and the art of making the filigree pieces, Kocevski decided to apprentice with a master in Macedonia before returning to South Carolina.
A Greenville resident for the past 20 years, he realized the art form was unknown in the United States and sought to showcase such mastery in the Upstate.
“I thought this would be a great thing to bring to the United States and it was a side job while I was in undergrad at Clemson,” Kocevski said.
After majoring in Biomedical Sciences at Clemson, he had planned to go to medical school but found he was unable to attend. That, Kocevski said, led him to pursue his passion for beautiful art.
Traditionally, filigree is made with silver and gold wire, taking up to a month to make a single piece and costing thousands of dollars. At Golden Butterfly Studios, the pieces are made using fine silk instead.
“This newer version with silk gives you the same elegance … but it’s more cost-effective and quicker,” Kocevski said.
Smaller pieces can be done in under 24 hours with larger ones taking less than a week. It’s also less expensive, making this long-standing European art more attainable.
Each design is sketched by hand before silk ever gets laid over the template. Then the silk is laid out in a precise pattern requiring a steady hand and an eye for detail. After the artist has completed the design, it’s shaped to give it a more 3-D look and placed inside a shadowbox for display.
According to Koceviski, his studio offers exclusive designs in butterflies and flowers right now as they are traditionally timeless and beautiful. He likened the life of a butterfly to that of a person: Both go through similar changes and transformations in life and butterflies represent the fragility of life.
“Simply put, they bring a smile to your face,” he said.
While a permanent storefront is not available at this time, Golden Butterfly Studios offers their pieces at events and art markets around Greenville. More info can be found at goldenbutterflystudios.com or on their social media pages.
25-foot column of sculpted vehicles towers above Kelowna Art Gallery – Kelowna Capital News – Kelowna Capital News
After three years of secrecy, the Kelowna Art Gallery unveiled its latest project Wednesday morning (Oct. 27) — a public art sculpture standing 25 feet tall outside of the gallery’s entrance.
Canadian artist Jed Lind’s Gold, Silver & Lead art piece is located at the corner of Water Street and Cawston Avenue and consists of seven sculptural vehicles — all modelled after the 1979 Honda Civic — stacked on top of one another.
“Our hope is that it will become a landmark within the downtown public space and that it will stimulate lively conversations about the visual arts in our community,” said Nataley Nagy, the Kelowna Art Gallery’s executive director.
Originally presented at the Toronto Sculpture Garden’s 30th-anniversary exhibit in 2011, the sculpture was donated to the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2019. In the piece, the cars deteriorate and disassemble as they climb up the sculpture.
“Like a stack of stones marking a trail, it represents a fork in the road where humanity could’ve chosen a simpler existence, yet here we are today,” said Lind.
Lind said he got the idea for the sculpture over a decade ago when he stumbled across an old print ad that featured American architect Buckminister Fuller standing in front of a white geodesic dome and a white 1979 Honda Civic, with a tagline that read, “The man who simplified housing bought a Honda Civic. We make it simple.”
“It is a quintessentially American idea that the automobile as the embodiment of freedom, power and escape,” said Lind. “The Honda Civic became popular in America after the 1973 oil crisis when the idea that resources were finite became to take root in the culture.”
He added that he hopes that the sculpture will further conversations about the environment, consumption and collective responsibility.
“Amidst the social and cultural awakening, and the material shortages that we now face, I hope that some viewers see the piece as a reminder that our resources are not infinite, nor are our emotions,” he said.
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