Kelly Andres, Ingrid Bachman, James Graham, Allison Hrabluik, Annie Martin, Rita McKeough, Kerri Reid, Lyla Rye, Doug Scholes   Into The Streets:Avenues for Art

May 3, 2009 - September 26, 2009

This new exhibition program brings artwork out of the gallery and into the city.  Throughout the spring and summer, artists from across the country have been invited to create work, engage communities and challenge our perception of art and the roles of art institutions.  Exhibitions, performances, open studios and other events will take place in venues ranging from storefront windows to back alleys and will reflect upon ideas currently surfacing with the renovation and expansion of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.  Into the Streets strives to present notions of maintenance, repair, labour, perpetual growth and entropy within an expanded arena of public art and artistic practice.

The first wave of projects is scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 3rd in conjunction with Art’s Alive & Well in the Schools and will feature works by Kerri Reid, Rita McKeough and Lyla Rye. A special edition of In Conversation is scheduled from 3–5pm offering visitors an occasion to have informal dialogue with the artist and others about each project.

Making use of the new storefront gallery & open studio space, Kerri Reid will be exhibiting Small Things Forgotten, a collection of reconstituted dust piles gathered from the debris produced during the SAAG’s renovation.   Elegantly displayed on shelves, each pile will be paired with a laboriously executed drawing or “portrait” of itself.  Further investigating her interest in labour and the arbitration of values, Reid will scour the neighbourhood in search of abandoned and dysfunctional handmade objects that she purports to restore physically and/or metaphorically through a process of discovery, drawings, cast multiples or other transformative gestures.

Kerri Reid is a visual artist currently based in Toronto, where she teaches at the Toronto School of Art. Born and raised in Vancouver, she studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the University of Guelph.  Her recent work involves a series of restorative gestures with discarded mundane objects and can include dust, wicker, ceramics, drawing, photography, woodwork, painting, and faxing, as well as interactions with the free curbside economy, Craigslist, and eBay.  She has exhibited in both group and solo shows throughout Canada and recently participated in a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.

Rita McKeough moves to the street to revisit her now infamous performative work, Alternator (2008). Powered by the  turning of a car wheel, the artist has rigged a series of miniaturized oil pumpjacks (a.k.a. nodding donkeys, grasshopper pumps, thirsty birds) to frantically suck up the ubiquitous, but overlooked puddles, leaks and stains of oil peppered across our city’s asphalt.   With a sly critique of our increasingly insatiable lust for oil, McKeough’s performance reveals a self-destructive reliance only heightened by our current economic crisis.

Rita McKeough has been working as an interdisciplinary artist for over 30 years, and has contributed to Canada’s strong reputation in performance and installation art.  Her practice has consistently interacted with architectural spaces and implicated architectural systems, often destroying and consuming the walls themselves. She is currently an instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design and taught for several years at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  McKeough was one of nine recipients of the 2009 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. 

Lyla Rye’s video work Democonstruct (2007) began with her relating the concurrent demolition of the Kodak factory to the construction of a new section of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Each building revealed exposed views of architectural interiors that reminded Rye of the structure of her daughter’s dollhouse. The video shows a never-ending layering of construction, renovation and demolition at a wide range of scales. Through this layering, the activities begin to merge and what is being constructed and what is being demolished comes into question.

Lyla Rye is an installation artist with degrees from York University and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has had exhibitions across Canada as well as internationally in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Berlin and Adelaide.  Rye’s work explores the perception of space by creating video and sculptural installations that use subtly illogical situations that throw the viewer slightly off balance - optically, physically and psychologically.  In doing so, situations are created where subliminal assumptions about space can surface and be examined.

On June 27th, local artist Kelly Andres will launch a new bicycle work that incorporates electronic media, navigational techniques, and direct participation.  Entitled Flock, a collection of modified bicycles will be made available at the gallery for the visitor to embark on what might best be described as a synchronized journey around the city of Lethbridge.  Flock is an experimental system for bicycles modeled on the flocking behaviors of birds.

Kelly Andres is an interdisciplinary artist who considers technology, portability and location to create situations for sensory experiences. By incorporating banal objects along with electronic media, Andres deploys simple systems, objects and performances that allow participants to explore and interact with the immediate environment. In addition to numerous residencies, Andres’ work has been exhibited internationally from New York to Madrid.  She completed an Interdisciplinary MA at the University of Lethbridge in 2008 and will begin a PhD at Concordia University, Montreal, in Fall 2009.

Working across a range of materials, techniques and ideas, Ingrid Bachmann routinely strives to highlight the extraordinary in the everyday. For her project in Lethbridge, Bachmann is developing a new work that reflects upon the importance of the High Level Bridge and Water Tower built for the coal mining industry at the turn of the last century.  Two of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, her site-specific work will examine the relationship they bear with the community today and historically.
Ingrid Bachmann sees her work as an artist as akin to the job of a dowser - searching for improbable, if not impossible things  that are out of sight but present in the world around us.   She often works in existing locations with found or discarded objects and life forms (humans, hermit crabs and tectonic plates) combined with cutting edge technology.  Bachmann received her MA from the The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois and presently acts as Associate Professor and Graduate Programme Director at Concordia University in Montreal.

James Graham's installation, Unforgivable, uses many commonly available commercial products - and specifically those of the French cosmetic giant L'Oreal - to draw connections back to their French fascist and anti-Semitic origins.  Opening in the storefront gallery on June 27th, the exhibition will examine the troubled history of Vichy, France.  Long known for the healing powers of its mineralized volcanic waters, Vichy is also inescapably associated with the Nazi collaborationist government which began to aggressively erase the liberal social gains made by the Third Republic.  France's current-day struggles to acknowledge this past have been awkward and unresolved.

James Graham studied art at the Victoria College of Art, Emily Carr College of Art, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  He has had numerous installation-based shows at galleries across Canada and in Iceland. James has written for many art publications and has been the director of several parallel and University Art Galleries.   Specializing in 3D computer visualization, Graham is a founding member of the University of Lethbridge Department of New Media, where he has taught since 1999; he is currently Chair of the Department.

Throughout the summer Annie Martin will continue her practice of Listening Walks, conducting a series of excursions throughout downtown Lethbridge and neighbouring communities. These walks will provide an opportunity to be inquisitive about our shared urban spaces, and to listen differently to the everyday. This unique auditory experiment is founded on sound walking as developed by Hildegarde Westerkamp. Meet Annie at the SAAG (324 -5th Street South) for three specially tailored walks and hear the city in a new way. 

Annie Martin is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Lethbridge. She completed her MFA at Concordia University in Montreal during which she began her work exploring perceptual sensitivity and multisensory experience, sound environments, and the experiential aspects and aesthetics of technology. In addition to her critical writing and curatorial activities, she has exhibited her installations, video and audio works across Canada, the USA, and the UK.  Martin works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge.

In August, Allison Hrabluik will approach multiple offsite locations throughout the city in her exploration of the production and unorthodox distribution of a comic book.   Bearing both droll satire and unexpected pathos, the publication introduces an anthropomorphic cast of Pomme-Frites engaged in a battle for their lives
Allison Hrabluik is a Vancouver based artist. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Canada and internationally. Other multiple and offsite projects include PENELOPE! (Artspeak, Vancouver); Letter to the Editor (Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver); Dekker and Family Inc. (MARTa Herford, Germany) Home Haircuts (Art Metropole, Toronto), and Heavy Pets (Glasgow, Scotland).

Montreal artist and University of Lethbridge alumnus Doug Scholes’ new work Acts applied mostly for good practical reasons will locate six urban sites in Lethbridge to be maintained over the course of six weeks.  The chosen sites will be cleaned of detritus and repairs will be performed if/when necessary.  Multiples cast in beeswax of an item of detritus from each site will be made in a workshop at the SAAG.  The casts will be replaced on the original site in the form of a small monument (i.e. a monument of beeswax disposable coffee cups).  In conjunction with the SAAG, the project will involve a local social service organization to animate the project and help locate sites.  

With a fixation on fixing, Scholes’ artistic practice explores the relationships between objects, their environments and maintenance. Sculptural and performance installations provide a platform that engages the dichotomy between maintenance and deterioration. He has exhibited at the MacLaren Art Center, Art City Festival, Trianon Gallery, Bau-Xi Gallery, and at the Darling Foundry; is a member of the artist collective CRUM and a board member at Dare-Dare. Scholes received an MFA from UQAM in 2001.

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