Autumn is a period of changes, many of them beautiful and even artistic. It’s also a time when the Mendel Art Gallery brings in a new lot of exhibits for the fall season, all of which are on display now and will run until Jan. 5, 2014.
The first exhibit on the main floor is Rewilding Modernity, which aims to explore the influential art that came from the Emma Lake Workshop’s in the 1950s to 1970s. The gallery takes pieces from the Mendel’s own collection, local galleries and personal works from the artists themselves.
A major part of the work displayed is to show the modernist movement that Emma Lake influenced while looking at how contemporary artists are differentiating or holding true to these original pieces.
The infulx of artists to Saskatchewan during this highly influential time was due to the large amount of press the area received being that it was the only region to have elected government on a social platform.
Rewilding Modernity features many polarizing images that are meant to draw in the viewers and have them come to their own conclusions of what modernity means now and what it meant to past generations.
One of the main draws when first entering the gallery is the video installation that hits the ceiling, entitled “Sharpie,” which brings in thin streams of colour that move and fill the room.
Each area is filled with vibrancy and truly stands on its own, making it difficult to decipher from which era the pieces originated.
They Made A Day Be A Day Here, a second exhibit on display, brings to the forefront a selection of local and nearby artists in the early stages of their career. Guest curator Amy Fung noted that the pieces would be intricate and require a lot of physical effort to create.
Many are handcrafted and required a lot of tedious effort on the artists’ part. “Beyond Surrender,” a piece of paper weaving with a twist, was designed by artist Jennifer Bowes as she created an “I” shape with pages of one of her old journals. It offers an interesting exploration of confidentiality, as Bowes has cut up the pieces into small cup shapes so the journal is nearly unreadable, but it is still out in the open for all to read in fragmented form.
The show ensures the public can see all of the unique art coming from Saskatchewan artists by presenting diverse, content.
Another way that the pieces for the exhibit were chosen was through an initiative to explore artistic diversity from the female perspective. All of the artwork on display in They Made A Day Be A Day Here is produced by female artists to show that art can’t be so easily generalized.
A more unusual piece for the show is done by former University of Saskatchewan student Tammi Campbell, who essentially recreated her personal workspace to give viewers an idea of her working conditions while displaying her artwork in all its different stages of progression.
Artists by Artists is an ongoing project that unites a mentor artist with an emerging talent to work together on a show.
The fall season had senior artist Bruce Montcombroux and fledgling artist Cory Schewaga working on Galicia, a synthetic interactive wheatfield.
The construction is very mechanical and industrial, with many rods used to symbolize wheat, and is topped off with color for a more natural effect. Its interactivity comes from the use of cellphones to call a certain number to change the field’s height and colour.
Galicia looks to explore more direct ways of interactivity with art while taking influence from farming and prairie life.