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Needed at Surrey gallery, docents 'inspire kids through art' – Surrey Now-Leader



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.”

• RELATED STORY, from Nov. 14: Filipino-Canadian artists featured in new ‘Green’ exhibit in Surrey.

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.”

For more details and to apply, visit surrey.ca/artgallery or contact Chris Dawson-Murphy at artsvolunteer@surrey.ca or 604-501-5198.

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.”

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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.

• RELATED STORY: South Surrey artist Don Li-Leger remembered as a ‘gentle genius’

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.


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The Art Warehouse Is My New Creative Obsession – Huddle Today



SAINT JOHN – The cold weather and slippery sidewalks fail to deter patrons of The Art Warehouse on Prince William Street uptown creating art.

Since moving to Saint John last summer, I quickly became a hot chocolate aficionado and always had my ears perked up for spots to curl up an unwind in the city.

When I heard about the opening of a café/bar that would also be an art studio, offering the opportunity to flex one’s creativity while enjoying a hot drink or treat, I made a note to go as soon as it opened.

The front of the café was warm and cheerful with the hot drinks and alcoholic beverages painted on the wall behind the coffee bar with cozy window seats and tables available to sit and chat.

I bought my customary hot chocolate and treated myself to a cookie, enjoying the ambiance and paintings of fellow patrons on the walls before purchasing a small canvas.

The back of the building was set up with three rows of easels for patrons to sit down and try their hand at becoming the next Picasso, with small, medium, large and “pre-loved” canvases at their disposal. A gaggle of teenagers was busy drawing and painting while chatting among themselves.

Painting was very therapeutic to me as a child and I also had good memories of painting many clay pottery pieces at the Clay Café with my friends.

The paintbrushes, tiny glasses of water and huge containers of paint, where you can squeeze dollops of paint like condiments, felt so familiar and I soon let loose on my blank canvas.

The result was a rather abstract square of soothing, blues, greens and flecks of yellow instead of an object of scene. I had a blast mixing colours until they felt right to me and quickly remembered mixing too many colours together result in a brown sludge.

Before leaving, clutching my canvas so it wouldn’t be blown away by the wind, I learned from the Warehouse’s owner Hazel Cochran that they have acquired a liquor license. A delicious cocktail to have while painting my next “masterpiece” is more than enough to entice me back (and I have a feeling I will soon run out of wall space in my apartment…).

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The Catholic nun who made joyous, politically-charged Pop Art – CNN



Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

At the end of the turbulent 1960s, the US became enamored with Corita Kent, a nun who made joyous, politically charged and boldly colorful screen prints.

Featured on the cover of Newsweek in 1967 under the headline “The nun: Going modern,” she symbolized an evolving and more liberal Catholic Church. When she designed a stamp in 1985, the US Postal Service sold over 700 million of them.

“A lot of her works are about hope, and justice, and love,” said Nellie Scott, director of LA’s Corita Art Center, which was set up after Kent’s death to promote and preserve her legacy.

After Kent’s death in 1986, her popularity steadily declined. That changed in 2007, when artist and curator Julie Ault reignited scholarly interest in her punchy, text-driven silk screens through the book “Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita.”

Corita Kent pictured at a conference in the late 1960s. Credit: Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community

Like many other women artists, Kent’s place in art history has been more thoroughly revisited through major exhibitions during the last decade, and her work is held in the collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Last year, city authorities in Los Angeles, where she dedicated much of her life to teaching, named November 20 “Corita Kent Day” to mark what would have been her 101st birthday.

Most importantly, Kent has finally been credited for her contributions to Pop Art, a movement that male artists have long had a stronghold on.

“Not only were women discounted as producers of Pop, they were often hypersexualized as the represented objects of Pop Art,” wrote curator Susan Dackerman in “Corita Kent and the Language of Pop,” a 2015 book accompanying an exhibition of the same name. Andy Warhol, for instance, was known for using stars like Marilyn Monroe and Edie Sedgwick as his muses and objects of desire.
"Stop the Bombing," (1967) by Corita Kent.

“Stop the Bombing,” (1967) by Corita Kent. Credit: Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community

Kent’s long-standing comparisons to Warhol can be traced back to a formative moment in 1962, when she saw his career-launching series of 32 Campbell’s soup cans at Ferus Gallery in New York. She began thinking about consumerism, branding and text, and how to incorporate them into her practice, which was largely figurative and spiritual. Yet she had been prescient in her approach: Believing in accessible art, she adopted silk-screening around a decade before Warhol popularized the medium.

“How do you get your message (…) into the world as fast as possible?” Scott asked.

“(Printmaking) is really democratic. It’s something that can be done fairly quickly, and you’re able to put out multiples in the world.”

Born as Frances Elizabeth Kent in 1918, her creative spirit was encouraged by her father from a young age. She joined the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary aged 18, taking the name Mary Corita Kent. After earning degrees at what is now the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Southern California, she taught art at the Immaculate Heart College, and eventually became department head.

Kent taught at the art department of Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.

Kent taught at the art department of Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Credit: Fred Swartz/Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community

Kent was said to be an enthusiastic educator who demanded polished techniques from her students, though she did so using easy and approachable tools. She could often be found teaching on the streets of Los Angeles, her students armed with white cardstock that they cut holes into to form makeshift viewfinders.

With the world reduced to specific textures, colors and patterns, viewed through the cards’ 1-inch by 1-inch cut-outs, she taught them to see their surroundings differently.

In the set of 10 rules that Kent made for art and life, number four guided her own practice and her teachings: “Consider everything an experiment.”

Kent’s own artistic progression began with layered, colorful compositions featuring biblical motifs and eventually evolved to incorporate typography and wordplay, including poetry, religious texts and protest slogans. After seeing the aforementioned Warhol show, she looked to mass media and pop culture, using Wonder Bread’s branding to represent the holy body of Christ, or the General Mills logo as “the big G,” with theistic implications.

How do you fall in love with art?

She also grappled with racism and war. In 1965, following the Watts race riots in Los Angeles, Kent made “My people,” which combined front-page news of the deaths from the uprising with writings from Father Maurice Ouellet, a white Catholic priest and civil rights activist who demonstrated in Selma, Alabama. “I think that’s where you see her really look at what’s happening in the world,” Scott said. Two years later, Kent’s red, white and blue plea “stop the bombing,” against American involvement in the Vietnam War, began appearing at anti-war demonstrations.

Though Pope John XXIII had begun radically modernizing the Catholic Church in the 1960s, and Kent’s own progressive sect enthusiastically embraced change, she still faced pushback for her work. The Archbishop of Los Angeles at the time, Cardinal James McIntyre, was a staunchly traditional thorn in her side, and became incensed over her 1964 print that declared: “Mary Mother is the juiciest tomato of them all” — a reference to Del Monte’s tomato sauce slogan.

Kent ultimately left the church in 1968, with her entire order later following suit to become a nondenominational congregation. With Boston as her new home, her work became more secular. In 1969, she produced the series “Heroes + Sheroes,” which asked critical questions such as, “Why not give a damn about your fellow man?” as well as more optimistic declarations like, “Hope arouses as nothing else can arouse a passion for the possible.”

The 1964 print "The Juiciest Tomato of All," proved controversial with some members of the Church.

The 1964 print “The Juiciest Tomato of All,” proved controversial with some members of the Church. Credit: Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community

“Thinking through the work that she made after she left and spent the rest of her life in a more secular environment, (I think) that was ready to bubble out of her,” Scott said of Kent’s political works. “And that was probably something that she would not have been able to do while she was in habit.”

When Kent died in 1986, following three bouts of cancer, she left the majority of her estate to the Immaculate Heart Community, which founded the Corita Art Center 11 years later. Today, the center is planning an expanded facility to preserve and exhibit her art, and to introduce more people to her legacy: joyful, optimistic works that still ask difficult and necessary questions about human nature.

“It’s really hard not to be disheartened in the current climate, and then I’ll come to work and it will be whatever piece (of hers) I needed that day, or whatever quote,” Scott said. “I think that there is something about her message and her stirring of hope that people really resonate with. It’s something that they’re searching for, and I think we’ve had a swell of people wanting to experience it.”

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Invader's 'Rubik Mona Lisa' shatters estimate at Paris modern art auction – FRANCE 24



Issued on: 24/02/2020 – 08:15Modified: 24/02/2020 – 08:15

A French street artist’s interpretation of the Mona Lisa made of 330 Rubik’s Cubes sold for 480,200 euros ($520,680) on Sunday at a modern art auction in Paris, well above presale estimates of up to 150,000 euros, organisers Artcurial said.


The 2005 artwork by anonymous street artist Invader uses the plastic puzzles’ squares to create a mosaic of the Mona Lisa and her famous smile in garish colours.

The sale coincided with the closure of a blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the nearby Louvre museum, the home of the real Mona Lisa. That show marked the 500th anniversary of the death of the Renaissance master.

Invader is known for his mosaic tile works featuring pixelated versions of the 1978 Space Invaders video game characters, which “invade” cities around the world.

The Rubik Mona Lisa was created in 2005 and is the first in Invader’s “Rubikcubism” series, in which he recreates well-known Old Master works.

Invader, who defines himself as an UFA, an Unidentified Free Artist, wears a mask and insists on his face being pixilated for his rare appearances on camera.

He has a large following of fans who use a Smartphone app, “Flash Invaders”, to snap pictures of his mosaics if they’re authentically his, rack up points and compete with other players.


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