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L.A. Beat

New exhibits at SAAG explore PLASMA and portals

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The Southern Alberta  Art Gallery has new exhibits for summer.

Grande Prairie area artist  Peter Van Tiesenhausen brings PLASMA  back to the SAAG main gallery. He is from Demmit, which is west of Grande Prairie near the B.C border.

 He spent Covid at home making art out of whatever he could find around his home and considering how important the element of carbon is to life.

“ Carbon is the basis of all life and plasma is the transference of energy,” he described, setting up his exhibit.

 There are a couple  main pieces to the installation, all from within 300 metres of his house.


Peter Van Tiesenhausen’s PLASMA opens at the SAAG this week. Photo by Richard Amery

 The most  prominent is a log  with a burnt out core surrounded by a structure constructed with sheets of paper from a paper mill from his scrap pile illustrating how carbon can change it‘s form.


“ I set the log on fire in my backyard and it went out. But it had reignited in the morning,” he observed.

, adding patrons to look at  the result through the paper sheet  frame.

“The fire  played a large role in the exhibit,” he said.

“I want people to interpret it in their own way,” he said.

 He will be at the reception on Friday night and will be at the SAAG, Saturday, July 9 to discuss his work.


“Peter Van Tiesenhausen  had a an exhibition called Deluge  here in the ”90s. So we’re grateful to have him back,” said SAAG interim curator Adam Whitford.


 Upstairs, Ontario  artists Ella Gonzales and Azedeh Elmizadah’s exhibit Soft Smoke is  not only their first exhibit at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, but made their first visit to Lethbridge to install it.

“ We were in grad school together. And we shared  interest in the topic of Cross Cultural migration,” said Elmizadeh.

Ella Gonzales and Azedeh Elmizadah’s exhibit Soft Smoke opens at the SAAG this week. Photo by Richard Amery


“ My work is autobiographical,” said  Gonzales, noting her works are not only paintings but also examines how art is displayed, so she put her works in displays influenced by bookshelves she had while growing up.

 Elmizidah’s paintings reflect the ideas of portals.


“They’re influenced by portals or apertures into other dimensions, ” she said.


 Also at the Southern Alberta Gallery, Kellen Spencer’s “ Unhomely” is in the Gallery Library. It explores the shapes of residential homes and breaks them into  unfamiliar building blocks.


The SAAG is also  hosting an exhibit “Project Spaces” at the Centre Village mall, which  features miniature galleries from a variety of artists analyzing the questions, intentions and interpretations at the core of art and exhibition making.


 There is an opening reception  at the SAAG, Friday June 8 at 7 p.m. But the exhibits run  until Sept. 4.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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