SIGHTS SET HIGH WITH NEW ART SPACES
Now that Stampede is over, there seems to be a sense of more space in Calgary. Interestingly, this isn’t just felt on the streets, it’s popping up in the form of some new art spaces, too!
Taking the train to the Stampede, you might have noticed a small hundred-year-old brick building just off Macleod Trail. Donning storefront paintings for a psychic, a door with an Egyptian head and a rusted creaking boot sign, the only part occupied is the new Avalanche gallery at 1235 Macleod Trail SE, still sporting an enticing old hot dog decal. Organizers Nate McLeod and Cassandra Paul (both of Bakery Collective) decided to open this venue after Seafood Market came to a final peak and the time came for new developments on the property. While their interest lies inherently in painting, the space is dedicated to more experimental site-specific installations and things that are unconventional for other commercial galleries. Their first show was Jesse Stillwell’s Nightrider, featuring honeycomb-shaped paintings that were fastened to or leaned against the walls. Prints designed by the artists to correspond with their show are sold, but this month is more unusual. The current exhibit at Avalanche is a collaborative project by two well-respected top-secret artists going by the alias “Ondis,” who will be working with mixed media, spray paints and skin bronzer for a show called Vapour running all month on Saturdays from 12 – 4 p.m.
Sticking with a mountain theme, it’s worth hiking into Inglewood to check out the spectacular scenery at the Esker Foundation (444, 1011 9 Ave. SE). Just over the river, the name is a term for a type of ridge seen on the Northern muskeg and also seems to reference the Hill family who are generously founding it. At a time when they could show absolutely anything to form an identity, they have curated New Alberta Contemporaries and boldly exposed a full horizon of what’s potentially to come, with all 44 of the artists having recently graduated from arts programs throughout the province and working in about every medium under the sun, including painting, sculpture, performance and photography.
Whether it was the train or the gallery, there is a rumbling happening in our arts community that will be felt near and far. With the same invigoration of freshly fallen snow on a mountain, one might say we’re in for quite a ride.
By Cait LeplaAB, Alberta, Art