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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.


Whoop Up Days 2022 welcomes back rodeo and connects with community

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Whoop Up Days, is slowly, but surely returning to what it was in pre- Covid and pre construction levels.

“ We can’t wait to welcome everybody back to Whoop up Day, Aug. 22-27,” said  Exhibition Park CEO Mike Warkentin.


Exhibition Park CEO Mike Warkentin.

“ It’s still not back to 100 per cent, but we’re excited to reach a lot more people,” he said, adding they are working with the Blackfoot Confederacy to organize a pow wow.


 While there still won’t be a mainstage music program because of construction of the new Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre, there will still be several stages for live local music including a smaller stage for buskers and a saloon atmosphere inside Heritage Hall.


“ We want to make sure that when we can do it, we can roll out a music program properly,” Warkentin continued, noting the musical line up has not been announced, however it will be all local.


 Local artists will also be featured in  La Galleria–a curated, creative space recognizing the local visual art community, and the artists who capture what it means to live, work and play in Southern Alberta. Artists can display and sell their artwork while guests shop, enjoy the wine bar and signature food offerings from our culinary team.


New SAAG Exhibitions explore community and country

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 The Southern Alberta Art Gallery explores country and community with their four new exhibits, which opened, Feb.18.

 They run until April 24.


Emily Neufeld’s “Prairie Invasions: A Hymn is at SAAG until April 24. Photo by Richard Amery

“ All of these exhibits have a rural theme,” summarized interim curator Adam Whitford.


Emily Neufeld’s “ Prairie Invasions: A Hymn is in the main gallery.


 The North Vancouver based artist grew up on a farm near Red Deer.


“ It is about colonizers of Canada, when the government was giving away free land to get them to settle in the west,” Whitford said.


The exhibit includes  photography, sculpture and  360 light boxes of photography, reflecting the land, abandoned farmhouses, and what looks like reproductions of wallpaper on old rural houses and a wall made out of grass.


“We’re very proud to bring this exhibition to the SAAG,” Whitford said.


Neufeld will be speaking this afternoon, Saturday, Feb. 19 from 3-4 p.m about her exhibition.

Upstairs,  Vancouver born, Sunshine Coast artist Les Ramsay’s “ Excitation Station” takes a more lighthearted look at community through sculpture, needlepoint and embroidery.


 The exhibit features a variety of vividly coloured  items included painted driftwood which are inspired by decoy fish.


Local artists explore everything from graffiti to nature in new exhibits at Casa

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Seven art new exhibitions open at Casa this weekend, all featuring southern Alberta and Lethbridge based artists.

 While there will be an opening  reception at Casa from 7-9 p.m. for the new exhibits, due to covid, there won’t be food and drinks served.


Jason Trotter presents his new exhibit “The Existencilist” at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“ Lethbridge has such a strong art community, I’m just proud to be part of it,” said Jason Trotter, taking a break from setting up his exhibition “The Existencilist,” in the Casa main Gallery.


“ Lethbridge has got to be  the  biggest art community per capita in the province if not the country, he said, adding, he, like  many Lethbridge artists spent the pandemic creating.

He has been part of the local art community since 2011 when he was part of the Potemkin collective.


Trotter is a popular local  stencil artist, inspired by street artists like Banksy, who works in stencils on metal.


 His work is usually on display at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, often of local musicians Shaela Miller, Ryland Moranz and Owl Acoustic lounge owner Steven Foord.


Graffiti on rail cars inspired  “The Existencilist,” which features an array of Alberta historical  themes  and images stencilled on images of grain cars.

Subjects include everything from the Fort Macleod buffalo, an owl, which has a personal connection for Trotter, a hobo coin,  Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon and Rocky and Bullwinkle villain Boris Badenov. 

“ He was always tying damsels to train tracks,” Trotter observed.


Local folk musician John Wort Hannam adorns another piece.

“Maybe he’ll be inspired to write a song,” Trotter said.


A couple of the pieces are a little meta as they feature images of spray painters, including one exploring a western theme with two spray painters dressed as cowboys in the midst of a pitched gunfight.

“Kudos to places like Casa and The Trianon and the Owl  for supporting local artists,” he said adding he hopes local artists will inspire younger artists.

Casa curator Darcy Logan is excited to open a new set of local exhibits.

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