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Artist April Matisz’s new Trianon exhibit influenced by science and nature

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U of L BFA graduate April Matisz presents her first solo exhibition at the Trianon Gallery tonight, Feb. 13.


 Her exhibition blends her background  in biology with her love for ecology,  nature and Puerto Rico. She earned a BA in biology from the University of Victoria and worked as a field researcher.
“That also influenced me,” Matisz said.

April Matisz sets up her exhibit at the Trianon. Photo by Richard Amery
“When I graduated with my BFA from the University of Lethbridge in 2009, I moved to Puerto Rico which is where I developed this body of work,” she said.


 Her exhibition includes 17 oil paintings and 11 drawings  which reflect  her appreciation for how nature works together.
“I was influenced a lot by local landscapes, vegetation and the diversity of the landscape and vegetation,” she said, noting in addition to being influenced by Puerto Rico, she also drew inspiration from  the temperate climate and vegetation of Canada.


“ I was influenced by temperate vegetation of Canada as well as Boreal landscapes,” she said noting  it wasn’t just the individual components of the landscape itself that inspired her.


“I wasn’t as much interested plants, trees and rocks, as I was the relationship between them and the ecological process,” she said.


“ It’s a balance between science and a need for creativity,” she said, adding it also examines the process of how scientific hypothesis are produced.
More information about April Matisz as well as her artist statement can be found at http://www.aprilmatisz.net
 The official opening of the exhibit is at 9 p.m. (after the official opening of the next exhibits at SAAG) and runs until March 31.

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery opens two new exhibits tonight as well with a reception at 8 p.m.
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U of L art grads return with Bridges to Casa

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A group of old friends and classmates from the University of Lethbridge reunited for  the latest exhibit at Casa, Bridge: A Group Exhibition, which runs Jan. 9-Feb. 26.George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel are part of bridges; A group Exhibit at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
Izmer Ahmad, George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel were University of Lethbridge art students in the early ’90s and went their separate ways, until Hong Kong born, Victoria based artist George Ho contacted Lethbridge based painter Robert Bechtel about reuniting the old gang for an exhibit. The only artist unable to attend the opening is Malaysia based Izmer Ahmad who is teaching at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Bechtel, noting they were looking for a venue even before Casa was built, and when it was, they found their venue.


“They all went to school together in at the U of L in the early ’90s, some moved to other locations and some stayed. This brings them back to where they started,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.
“It brings people from diverse cultural backgrounds back to to our community,” he continued.
 The exhibit combines some of the works they did as students as well as more modern works which incorporate a range of styles and techniques includiing multi-media, painting and sculpture.


Japan born, Victoria based artist Yoko Takashima’s multi-media piece features mashups of  38 different people singing Simon and Garfunkel’s hit “ Bridge over Troubled Water,” in front of a background film of various images ranging from  serene oceanic scenes to atomic bomb explosions.
“It’s a self generating video of the 38 singers singing ‘Bridge over Troubled Water.’ It chooses eight of them randomly to make a choir. So the combination is different every time,” Takashima described.
 A friend of hers created the algorithm Max MSB used  to choose the different singers.

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Bridges brings back U of L graduates home to Casa

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Lethbridge welcomes back several artists who studied together at the University of Lethbridge in the  early ’90s.


Bridge: A Group Exhibition features the work of Izmer Ahmad, George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel. The opening reception is  7 p.m., Jan. 9. It runs until Feb. 26.
went their separate waYoko Takashima, George Ho and Robert Bechtel setting up Bridge at Casa. Photo by Richard Ameryys, until Hong Kong born, Victoria based artist George Ho contacted Lethbridge based painter Robert Bechtel about reuniting the old gang for an exhibit. The only artist unable to be here for the opening is Malaysia based Izmer Ahmad who is teaching at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.


 It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Bechtel, crediting George Ho for  getting the  ball rolling.
“ They all  went to school together in at the U of L in the ealy ’90s, some moved to other locations and some stayed. This brings them back to where they started,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.


“It brings people from diverse cultural backgrounds back to to our community,” he continued.


Japan born, Victoria based artist Yoko Takashima’s multi-media piece features mashups of  38 different people singing Simon and Garfunkel’s hit “ Bridge over Troubled Water,” in front of a background film of various images ranging from  serene oceanic scenes to atomic bomb explosions.

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Southern Alberta Art Gallery features new exhibits about MK Ultra and rats

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The Southern Alberta Art Gallery features new exhibits over the holiday season.

Nicole Hembroff examines “Cellar” at SAAG. Photo by Richard Amery
The main gallery features Sarah Anne Johnson’s exhibit “Dancing With The Doctor”— which was inspired by her grandmother’s experiences in a CIA program called MK Ultra which operated from the 50s-70s which studies altered mental states and brain function.


 Johnson build a  circular white room featuring  video footage of the artist, wearing a mask of her grandmother's face, in a variety of frantic situations.
“ MK Ultra was about mind control,” said SAAG communications coordinator Nicole Hembroff.


“There were unethical. They were subjected to hallucinogenic drugs and sleep deprivation. And there was verbal and sexual abuse,” she continued, noting the centrepiece of the exhibit is deliberately disorientating. patrons can wander around the exhibit, or climb a set of stairs and look down at it.


“It’s a representation of part of that experiment. She’s created a life sized reproduction of the halls of the hospital which  has a feeling of purgatory,” Hembroff said.
Johnson has done  few other exhibits including “House  on Fire”,  which featured a dollhouse with a variety of different disturbing rooms including a model of the big room featured  featured in “Dancing With the Doctor”

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