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L.A. Beat

New CASA exhibits explore darkness and catastrophe

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Two new exhibits from artists with Lethbridge roots open in the CASA Art Gallery, July 7.
  Shanell Papp’s “Opera Cave” featuring numerous piece of her textile based art as well as Brooklyn based sculptor Ryan Smitham’s “New Sculpture” run until Aug. 31.
“I wanted our first exhibit to show an overview of all of the artists in the community, so the community would have a sense of what people do. For our first exhibition I wanted a high standard of work and I wanted it to be an example to the community.Shanell Papp wears one of the balaclavas in her exhibit Opera Cave. Photo by Richard Amery I also wanted artists with a strong connection to the community,”  explained curator Darcy Logan.

For her first exhibit at CASA, Lethbridge based artist Shanell Papp wanted to explore her fascination with caves combined with her love of opera and  death and dark metal music for her exhibit which features a variety of balaclavas among other pieces.
“Caves are dark and lonely places. I was thinking of the type of people who might live in a cave as well as horror movies and  people who listen to heavy metal music. They may dress dangerously but they are really harmless,” she said.

 Her fascination with balaclavas follows a similar train of thought.

“When you see a balaclava, most people don’t think ‘hey a ski adventure,’ they think of criminals  or burglars or people who want to hide their identities,” she explained.

“It’s what I’m interested in,” she said adding while most people find things like flowers and landscapes fascinating, but shy away from darker subject matter, she’d rather explore subject matter other peRyan Smitham holds one of his sculptures for his exhibit New Sculpture. photo by Richard Ameryople don’t find worth their time or interest.

Bragg Creek born, Brooklyn based Ryan Smitham, spent six years at the University of Lethbridge several years ago and exhibited at the Bowman Arts Centre. This time he wanted to make a statement.
“I’m trying to create an environment,” he said.
 The exhibit will feature several handmade sculptures designed to represent algae, while the colours will represent a well known corporate brand plus 1,000 pendants hanging from the ceiling.
“Three down and  997 to go,” he said while installing his exhibit.

“It will look like a tornado. It’s an organic, spiral pattern. It will create a funnel cloud,” he said.
“ But it is an ambiguous form which is supposed to relate to a lot of different things,” he continued.
“It relates to catastrophe and the environment. It’s a contrast between creating a pleasant experience while discussing a larger issue,” he said.
 His last Lethbridge exhibit was in 2007 at the Bowman Arts Centre.

“The last exhibit was more multi-media. This is a much more complete installation,” he said.
 The opening reception for the new exhibits is Saturday, July 7  at 7 p.m.
 They will be at CASA until Aug. 31.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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