July is a time when Calgarians come together to celebrate aspects of our cultural history. While there are opportunities to take in the careful recollections at Fort Calgary or the Glenbow, it might also be interesting to think about our own positions in what will soon become the past.
Western-themed art has a presence, but some of its countercultural interpretations have especially appealed to Calgarians over recent years. The New Gallery will be showing Jon Langford’s “A 7” Retrospective,” which includes his mixed-media prints that formed the visual identity for Calgary Folk Fest in 2009 and 2010. His worn looking, symbol-laden paintings of skull-faced cowboys and blindfolded musicians have a playful irony in their ominous content and bright bold colours, which have also provided cover art for bands, such as Langford’s own the Mekons.
With an even deeper history here, artist Eric Moschopedis will be introducing his odd interpretation of our current state, in “A Revolution Come and Gone Only to be Brought Back Again Someday,” showing at Pith in Inglewood from July 20 in a group show alongside Sharon Stevens and Mia Rushton. On display in glass vials, he has painstakingly collected hairs from over 150 professional local artists working in various media and stored them in a mobile bicycle lab. The idea is that if some strange phenomena were to happen where Calgary’s artistic community suddenly disappeared, it will serve as a database of what once was in our golden age as the Cultural Capital of Canada 2012 and provide the reserves to instantly regenerate everyone using more advanced technologies. While collecting the hair of artists, he also photographed their name written on the back of one hand (in conversation-starting permanent marker), to be used in a separate exhibit happening later. Although performance-focused, Moschopedis has contributed to opening major arts spaces in the city and he explains that, “social engagement is my primary practice, so it’s the first time we’re trying to generate ephemera specific for an art gallery context.”
Another interesting record of artistic activity is Daniel J. Kirk’s “Kavernous Isolata II,” which outlines evidence of three days he spent alone without food or human contact in a cave in Turkey painting a mural. Raising questions about graffiti and records of humankind, he transformed the interior walls with a gorgeous swirling artifact that can be seen in the EPCOR Centre +15 until July 26.
By Cait LeplaAB, Alberta, Art