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Jeanne Kollee’s Unter Dem Messer at Casa among new art exhibits opening

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Lethbridge artist Jeanne Kollee  explores Germany in the early twentieth century through abstract expressionism in her new exhibit Unter dem Messer which runs at Casa June 25-Sept. 2.
“It’s my  interpretation of  early 1900s-20s and 30s Germany during the Weimar republic,” Kollee said.Jeanne Kollee examines one of her paintings in Unter Dem Messer at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

 She was inspired to produce the colourful works by reading Otto Friedrich’s book “ DeLuge — A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s.”
“ I used the colour palettes of artists like Otto Dix and Wassily Kandinsky for this project,” she said adding she was inspired by the conditions faced by artists of the time.
“It was a frustrating time for  artists, writers and actors trying to get their message across to people. It was a time of revolution and worker’s strikes. A lot of art was considered degenerate and debauchery. There were cabaret shows done in the nude,” she said, adding the artists had a lot of tough times to be inspired by.

“ Inflation was high. It was a time of reparations that had to be be paid after the First World War  but they couldn’t afford to pay them, so they printed more money which lead to higher inflation,“ said Kollee , who has German ancestry going back to the 1600s and has visited Frankfurt and Aachen.

“ So I was trying to visualize what they would have seen,” she said  she  expects audiences to read the titles of the work and interpret the works individually.
 She said her works are very textured as she liberally layered the colour palette of the day with a palette knife.
 All the works  were done over the past two years. So it was a project of intent,” she said.
Casa also opens  Pass it On, June 25.

“ Five local artists (Amy Dodic, Donna Gallant, barb Goodman, Angela H’Wood and Karina Mark) selected an item and painted a still life. When they were done, they passed it on to the next artist until the cycle was complete,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.

“ So there are 25 paintings. and the items they chose are on display too so you can see the source material,” he continued.

“It’s interesting to see the unique interpretations of each item. It’s a simple item, but there are five radically different  interpretations,” he said.
 The opening reception for both exhibits  is at 7 p.m., June 25.

 But before that, new exhibitions also open at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and Trianon Galleries tonight, June 24.
The SAAG features Germany born, Winnipeg based artist Holger Kalberg’s new exhibit the Colony with an opening reception at 7 p.m., June 24.


SOAR festival gives young artists wings

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 It is no secret that Lethbridge has an amazing arts scene  full of  super creative people.

So the second edition of SOAR takes flight in the first weekend of June to not only let  young artists aged 18-35 show what they can do during three cabaret nights at Casa, June 2 and 4, but also share some of their expertise during a series of symposiums simultaneously happening that week.

Muffy McKay looks at a couple of  works created by Kiley Grenberg and Arianna Richardson which will be part of the M.A.P.S art exhibit as part of the SOAR festival this year. Photo by Richard Amery
“We started SOAR in conjunction with the Lt. Governor’s Awards and part of hosting the event was to create an ongoing project that was sustainable, so we began SOAR for young emerging artists,” said Allied Arts Council projects co-ordinator Muffy McKay.

Local visual artists also have an event happening with M.A.P.S ( Making Art in Peculiar Spaces) which begins at the Casa Gallery on Friday. Patrons will take a tour of the downtown where original works in identical wooden boxes will be installed.
“ Last year we had the exhibition Loose Leaves, which exhibited work on paper,” McKay said.

“ This year we created plexiglass boxes for young artists to showcase their works,” she added, noting Casa curator Darcy Logan put out a call for artists to participate in M.A.P.S.

The SOAR cabarets  feature an array of entertainment including music, dance, drama, comedy and magic.The first SOAR cabaret on Wednesday, June 1 features Griffin Cork, Justin Many Fingers and Newman Mentalism.

 Cabaret 2, June 2 features Sundari, Tanya Plonka, The Bear, Kristin Krein and The Waif.
 Cabaret 3, June 4 features Improv with David Gabert, dance from Claire Lint and magician Ben Price
Admission to each cabaret night is $10 with performances beginning at 7 p.m.


Nishikaze embracing Japanese culture for long weekend

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It is Nishikaze time again in Lethbridge as the fifth annual Nishikaze Anime Festival takes over the University of Lethbridge over the May long weekend, May 20 and 21.

Cynthia Cradduck is excited to bring an expanded Nishikaze back including  a matsuri market which feature games like Plinko. Photo by Richard Amery
As always Nishikaze, a celebration of Japanese culture focused on anime, features cosplay, photo opportunities, anime screenings, Cafe Ayako, a charity auction and an expanded  marketplace inspired by Japanese street festivals called matsuri.

“There will be more Japanese culture this year,” said organizer Cynthia Cradduck.

“We’re expanding. We’re trying things we haven’t done before,” Cradduck said, noting the matsuri is the biggest change this year.

“Think of a Japanese marketplace. It’s like a home town fair on a sidewalk with people selling  food and trinkets,” she continued. adding whole most of the events will be in Markin Hall at the university, the marketplace will be on the track in the U of L gym. There will be a Taiko drum group plus food, Japanese tea, crafts and games based on Japanese game shows including a Plinko board.

“There will be a scooping game based on the goldfish game where you have to scoop up as many  as you can with a paper scoop before it falls apart, though we won’t be using goldfish, we’ll be scooping balls of paper. And there will be a hook game where you use a paper hook to catch prizes,” she said.


Casa’s new exhibits focus on crafts and music

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It will be a busy weekend at Casa with four new crafty art exhibits opening on Saturday, April 30.Casa curator Darcy Logan plays with a clay rain shaker which is part of Musicality, opening this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
“Musicality” is a milestone exhibit for the Old Man River Potter’s Guild, which turns 50 years old this year.

“That's a pretty serious milestone for  any arts organization in Lethbridge,” observed Casa curator Darcy Logan.

 The artists  Bridgitte Berke, Natalie Brewster, Louise Cormier, Karen Dormaar, Craig Fawcett, Rosemary Foder, Caroline Freeman, Vicki Gibson, Elaine Harrison, Sandra McKay, Gail Mckenzie, Eileen Schuler, Olivia Sieniewicz, Donna Schenher and Heather Sorochan really embraced the exhibit’s theme.

 Many  of them opted  to build actual functional instruments, including flutes, rain shakers, musical cups and even a  mandolin.

 Logan said patrons will be able to try some of the instruments out at the opening reception, April 30 at 7 p.m. Signs will be posted next to ones the can‘t.

 Another artist created a mosaic of music incorporating pennies and dimes.

“ They are all new pieces created just for this exhibit,” Logan said.
He was impressed with the artists’ work.
“The mandolin is fretted and everything,” he said.

“With a theme like musicality you will have as many different interpretations of it as there are people participating,” he observed.

The other exhibit in the main gallery, “Hanging By A Thread”  is a family affair featuring works from a couple groups of Canmore based ladies, their daughters and grand daughters.

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