Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bobbi Clackson-Walker Under the Influence

My first visit to Bobbi 's show at the St. Thomas more gallery, was with an artist friend, who although not active in the field currently, enjoys and talks incessantly about art. We took in the exhibit, me taking photos and notes, and Tatwa, enjoying the show. As we looked at the various pieces we talked about composition, color use and other design elements as well and "how does she do that? "comments. 
My second visit ,  shorter and quieter and gave me pause and reflection of the our planet's messiness. 

Bobbi's show" Under the Influence" is about environment, both Geological and Spiritual. It is the sum of her fears about the human condition. When so much of the environmental thinking is looking to future, Clackson's show reminds us that looking to the past is critical and through this show she encapsulates the many issues that we must study, understand and hopefully solve.

Technical and marketing Savvy
Clackson's marketing and advertising background has allowed her freedom  to play with various media to get her point across. In an age where Image has practically taken over the language, she used the complexity of mixed media and simplicity of visual message to make her statement.
" This is unlike anything I've done before. I wanted to manipulate the mediums to give breadth to the ideas and not just relate a factual news item."
They Live like us
Mixed Media on Board mounted on Paper

Layered Visual vignette
I have painted with Bobbi  and watched  her experiments with. many materials and technique to bring about the desired effects.  The piece below, part of a twosome at the show is visually stunning in their sophisticated detail and has many layers, and diptych of photographs. My friend Tatwa really liked this.
A Change in weather
Bobbi Clackson -Walker
Mixed Media Mounted On Board
A change in Weather -detail above
The Nostalgia and Sadness in  multiple layers of landscape. I would have liked to see these in larger proportions/ canvas size.
The Bold intentionality of the exhibit did have an impact on me. It is this" in your face depiction of what ails us as a society, contrasting with almost restrained sobriety about the world around her.
Bobbi is a Jazz musician/singer, part -time art instructor, a new grandmother. She is married to an Anthropology/Architectural  professor and keen to make a contribution through her art. In this exhibit she has the seeds of many future exhibits. Go get 'em Bobbi. For my part I would like to write another piece on your art and next time it shall be at the beginning of the show.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Naughty Bits at the Francis Morisson

The event came to my attention on the 14th, Valentines day, although it took place on the 15th , day after the love day is celebrated.  I was amused and sure enough joined the audience at 7 pm sharp with  my camera ready. The line up for the readings included Leonard Cohen, Yann Martel, Yeats, Margaret Atwood and others whom I did not remember or know.
The Four Actors were Yvette Nolan, currently the Writer in Residence at the Francis Morrison, Rob Roy, Arron Naytowhow and Sharon Bakker. All Four made this a memorable evening for me.

All Four read from the Play "The Real Thing" by Tom Stoppard. The scene involved two lovers married to other's spouse, playing a word game of sexual tension. Annie played by Yvette Nolan was enchanting ..depicting, energy,intellect and open pursuit of her desire.

Rob Roy in a voice, that carries, is intimate and groans with sexual angst, read from  Leonard Cohen's Spice Box. I was transported back...way back when I listened to and read  Cohen with and without friends or lovers.One of my favorites of Cohen:

"I perceived the outline of your breasts
through your Hallowe'en costume
I knew you were falling in love with me
because no other man could perceive
the advance of your bosom into his imagination
It was a rupture of your unusual modesty
for me and me alone
through which you impressed upon my shapeless hunger
the incomparable and final outline of your breasts
like two deep fossil shells"

Leonard Cohen from the  Energy of slaves

Rob and Arron read from Bent by Martin Sherman, a play about Nazi persecution. The reading scene involved a charged dialogue between two lovers in a concentration camp, when Horst and Max share their love through words." death comes alive and passes on when we love"

The Specially Naughty bits were:
Yvette Nolan
Leda and the Swan by W B Yeats read by Yvette Nolan:
Sharon Bakker
My last Erotic poem by lorna by Sharon Bakker
AND Rob Roy with knitted brows, hand gestures and a vocal variety reading Yann Martel's  descriptive anatomical monologue from "Self" as no Kama Sutra could. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jan Norris Seated on the Earth at STM Saskatoon

 So it was at the Thomas More Gallery on 8th January on an unusually warm  and sunny day that I learned about the depth of Jan Norris's art and its connection to Zen Buddhism. Now the title of the show made a huge sense.

Right after graduating with a Philosophy degree, Jan Norris, at age 25 became a Zen Buddhist and moved to Los Angeles Zen Centre. At the New york zen Community centre she met her husband, reared two children, became active in environmental issues facing the globe, ran a bake shop, publishing place, earned a degree in fine arts and learned to paint.
 She still spends time in the Zen ashrams.  In 2009 she went to live at the Buddhist Monastery in France. Later part of that stay, she spent four days  in Paris at Musée d'Orsay

The Zen Influence

The Exhibit is curated by Linda Stark, of the STM gallery.

Gazing at the flowers
of the morning glory
I eat my breakfast. --Basho

Zen is coming face to face with oneself in a direct way though the practice of zen zen (Meditation)
It abandons true to life perspective, and works with artificial space relations which make one think beyond reality into the essence of reality. This concept of essence as opposed to illusion is basic to Zen art in all phases

Little Pond
watercolor on paper by Jan Norris

 Looking  at this painting I can almost feel the process at work It is almost as if she sets aside the rational side of her mind and trusts the power of her intuition. She thus goes beyond the ego based dimension. She composes spontaneously, using marks and gestures in the direction of her own sensibility.
Windy Poplars, Watercolor on Paper by Jan Norris

She has also been an active environmentalist for decades, working with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Sierra Club of Canada. Jan Norris' car free blog is a very interesting read.

At the reception

Seated on the Earth by Jan Norris  will be on show at the STM until March 3rd, 2012.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bevin Bradley one on one

I think that writing about art for an audience is risky, unless one takes the view that everything that one says in an article like this, has to be relevant, truthful and honest.  So, the issue for me is ,- for my reaction to the art to be honestly related to an audience, that I constantly remember the rule: do not impress just reveal.
So with that out of the way, First thing I can unreservedly say about Bevin Bradley 's paintings is that they engage you directly and honestly. As such it is easier for me to write about Bevin's stuff.  Oh I still need to spend time in thinking, researching, learning... but it is easier because  I am impacted at the visceral level.
The very first time I looked at Bevin's paintings was in 2007, at the Francis Morrison Gallery, I bought/ acquired a piece. Not my first choice, but most of the other paintings had been spoken for.

Bevin Bradley at the Stall Gallery

 Painting Balloons upside down
Question:  What does art mean to you?

Bevin: "Creating something out of nothing, something, taking risks, looking for a different perspective."
after a pause...".I enjoy the process...of building contrasts and compliments to life."

Question: Being a mother...has it changed the way you look at or do art?

Bevin:," Can't just paint, have to schedule time for it...I am fascinated the way my daughter(Riel) paints and draws. She recently drew balloons upside down. I was amazed. Children's creativity is ....the other day she described the snow falling"...
"Mummy look at the feather on my shoe"

Question: Who is your Favourite artist?

Bevin:, " Gustav Klimt... no no it is Louise Nevelson"


"Now that's true, I have called my shots on Earth. I have had a blueprint on my life and that's why I am positive about it. Now you can see that I'm a bit shy and I can get hurt by dropping a handkerchief - I can croak or something - but where my creation is, I am totally one piece."
Louise Nevelson
Acrylic and Varnish on Canvas
Bevin Bradley-2011

The collage of hand writings and other items is not left as is transformed into two dimensional painting. Everything is evolving before your eyes. It is in the present. The architectural shapes move and meld intuitively into each other and draw the viewer to look behind. The process of art making becomes the composition. It is authentic.

More of Bevin's work is on exhibit at the Stall gallery , which she owns and operaqtes with  Roberta Ross (Parner and Artist)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bobbi Clackson-walker and Sheila Angelstad at the Francis Morrison

I had intended to make a visit of the exhibit with Bobbi accompanying, mainly,  to arrive at a better understanding of the process of Riffing. This was not to be . Bobbi was in New York and by the time I got my act together there was just one evening left for me to see the show. I had viewed the exhibit briefly when it opened and was more than intrigued  and  as I mentioned  before, to get a handle on this idea of "riffing." So there I was, on the evening of 8th December, camera in hand flitting from one side of the Exhibit to the other checking to see if there was more to this than a cute angle.
I finally settled on "interpretation" as the meaning of the title of Bobbi and Sheila's Exhibit. They looked at each others art pieces and made improvisations. So far so good. I chose two by Bobbi and one by Sheila. Only one from Sheila, because I know little to nothing about digital art.Time to take pictures and settle on a couple for my piece. First, here is one of Bobbi's painting.

Acrylic and other Media on Canvas
Shapes, forms organised in cubistic fashion on  irregular planes of resonant blues, greys and  yellows. The enjoyment increases by the slow eyeing of the painting. When you are close up...the color, shapes seem to belong to the canvas. I recently looked at some of Alexander Calder's art and this piece reminds me of his work. I have seen Bobbi work. She pursues originality as well  as a no bounds approach to making art. Being a Musician, and if I remember correctly a lover of Jazz, she must have enjoyed the whole idea and this process of Riffing.


 As  I perused through the various paintings , I was drawn to the point of view offered by both artists,  of each others work. I put my Camera down and decided to take a deeper look. The result was beautiful. The art mattered and so did the color balance and all that we like to base our likes on or not, and what became even more apparent, was the reflection it provided.  The pieces I saw riffed showed a respect of each others art. This is not competition... no ...this was collaboration to arrive at some communicate at a deeper level with the art and in that paying a tribute to each other.

At the lake
Acrylic and Acrylic Gel on paper

At the Lake ( Riffed)
Archival Ink Print
Sheila Angelstad

The two pieces above are a fine example of what Riffing is all about. Let's see if i write Riffing once more ....may be it will have a sticky effect ...and I'll get to see more of these in Saskatoon.