The Penticton Art Gallery opened its latest exhibits on Friday, Jan. 24. The three different exhibitions will be open to the public until March 15.
In the main gallery, the artists of the Penticton Indian Band’s En’owkin Centre had the centre stage with their Messages from the tmxʷulaʔxʷ and the sqəlxʷɬcawt Renewed.
The art on display is a mix of students and their teachers from the En’owkin Centre’s National Aboriginal Professional Artist Training program. This year’s exhibition features eight first-year students and nine second-year students, alongside some selected pieces from their teachers, alumni and one invited artist, many of who are having the first public showing of their works.
“For a lot of our students it’s the first time it is the first experience they have in being able to showcase their work in a contemporary art gallery that is a public art gallery with more well-known national shows,” said Michelle Jack, one of the professors at the En’owkin Centre.
“It’s a huge opportunity to them, that opens their eyes to what is available in the greater contemporary art world, and how it works to showcase those things and what goes into the curatorial process.”
The students at the En’owkin Centre come not only from the Penticton Indian Band and the other bands in the Okanagan, but from other bands far and wide.
“We have a lot of people from across Canada who come to the En’owkin Centre to study and do the NAPAT. ” said Jack.
“There used to be a lot more aboriginal centres like ours, but due to funding stipulations and all of that. We’re not federally funded, we have to do grants and all of those things to make our programs run. Because of that a lot of secondary institutions like En’owkin in other parts of the country have had to close their doors.”
The artists at the En’owkin Centre have a wide variety of styles and mediums, from painting using traditional pigments to sculpture and more modern forms of art such as photography.
“Last year we had a piece and everyone was saying, ‘Oh, that’s a really traditional pattern,’ and [Joe Feddersen] was, that’s ‘Parking Lot A,’” said Jack.
“It was the parking lot pattern painting, how they paint the spaces, and he made a pattern of that for his basket. So he’s thinking of modern ways and what we see as would be patterns and petroglyphs, and that’s just one example of the mesh of the traditional and contemporary.”
Walking through the front door of the gallery, the first thing that will first catch your eye will most likely be the small prints lining the main hall. These pieces are the pages from local publish Theytus Books’ printing of Zoe and the Fawn, a children’s book written by local Indigenous author Catherine Jameson, and illustrated by Julie Flett.
Jameson is herself an alum of the En’owkin Centre, with her book being the product of her time there.
“One of our projects was to interview a six-year-old, and my niece at the time, Zoe, was six. This story was the one she told me, with some creative changes,” said Jameson at the talk on Saturday.
The story in Zoe and the Fawn follows young Zoe and her father, as they go outside to take care of a newborn fowl, and see a lonely fawn outside. As they look for the fawn’s mother, they find many other animals along the way.
The words in the Sy’ilx language are emphasized with the colour of Zoe’s boots, along with the English translation to help readers learn as they read along.
Copies of the book are also available at the gallery’s shop.
The third exhibition currently on display in the Project Room gallery features the works of two very different artists, with Scott Price’s found material sculptures of rusted metal, stone and wood a sharp contrast to Corrinne Thiessen’s at-times grotesque paintings of once-human figures.
Price does not approach his work with an eye for a single meaning, but rather lets the pieces speak for themselves.
“I don’t know what I’m looking for,” said Price during the artists’ talks on Jan. 25. “If the ball in [the Project Room] talks to you of big or small, of the microscopic or the cosmic. If by having the void in it, that talks to you of breaking down or building him. All those things speak to me. Whether I’m looking for those fascinating things in nature and including them in my art, I can’t answer that question.”
Thiessen and Price were selected as part of the Penticton Art Gallery’s 13th year of collaboration with Island Mountain Arts and the Toni Onley Artist Project to highlight a Canadian artist. This year, the decision was so close between the two, that they were both selected to showcase their works.
The three exhibits at the Penticton Art Gallery are on display until March 15. The Gallery will also be hosting the third annual Loving Mugs chili-cook off fundraiser on Feb. 20.
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Western researchers give stories of trauma meaning through art – CBC.ca
With the help of volunteer artists, two Western University professors turned a research project on cognitive behavioural therapy for women who had experienced trauma into visual art in an effort to give meaning to what usually becomes numbers in a study.
Through the London Health Sciences Centre, the two professors conducted an intervention study looking at the effectiveness of PATH, a pilot project consisting of trauma and violence informed cognitive behavioural therapy for pregnant women who have experienced violence or abuse.
“When you’re having a baby, there’s a lot of people touching your body and you don’t have a lot of control over it in that situation and if you’ve been through a violent relationship or you’ve experienced abuse that can be challenging and really triggering,” said health studies professor Tara Mantler, who co-investigated the project with nursing professor Kimberly Jackson.
“This intervention gave the women their voices back and it got all the [health care] providers in the room to think about the way they treat women and by that, provide them with more autonomy, so they could better cope with the experience,” Mantler added.
Jackson says the results of the pilot project were positive, but the funding for the program was eventually cut. And while they were able to share their work with researchers, they felt they needed to reach an audience beyond academia.
The two professors teamed up with Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy, a creative researcher at Brock University, who helped them transpose the women’s experiences through the program into works of art.
“The numbers tell an interesting story if you’re an academic, but we found that a lot of the meaning from the journey to recovery for these women was being lost. That’s why we wanted it to be visual,” said Mantler.
Through reading the transcripts of each woman’s experience, O’Keefe-McCarthy created four artistic themes that were developed into poems, which laid the groundwork for visual artists to make ten art pieces.
“It was important for us to have an embodied experience to have a glimpse into what the journey through the program was like for women,” Mantler said.
The art illustrates the women’s transformation from trauma to healing as they went through their pregnancies with new coping mechanisms.
Back in October, the research and artwork was showcased for the general public and the result was very gratifying, according to Jackson.
“We were overwhelmed with how moved people have been when they’ve seen the art, so for us it’s been amazing to bring the voices of these women to light in a very meaningful and powerful way,” she said.
Those interested in seeing the work will still get a chance to do so during the Legacy 2020 research conference at Western University in May, but after that, the art will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to a women’s shelter.
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…).
The Catholic nun who made joyous, politically-charged Pop Art – 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.
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
Most importantly, Kent has finally been credited for her contributions to Pop Art, a movement that male artists have long had a stronghold on.
“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. 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.
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. 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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