Local gallery presents new works by notable Canadian artists
The latest exhibition filling the space of the Trépanier Baer gallery is quite simply titled “Sculpture”. It is a decidedly telling title for the collection on display: an eclectic assortment of sculptural works created by an impressive array of vastly different Canadian artists.
The pieces have in common an underlying contemporary sensibility and despite the fact that on the exterior they may have very little in common, they all seem to share a narrative: a distinctly Canadian ethos.
“I’ve been wanting to do a group sculpture exhibition for some time. I wanted to speak about how sculpture expresses itself. This show is representing the different approaches to that medium — using different materials, different subject matter,” says Yves Trépanier, who along with partner Kevin Baer is the owner of the gallery.
Trépanier is acutely aware of the current Canadian artistic landscape and maintains a marked sensitivity for the works he chooses to bring in and the implications they carry.
His gallery is an interesting hybrid. It is a commercial gallery that has all the charming and challenging qualities of any given distinguished art space, which is unique — at least in Calgary — where many commercial galleries still feature works that at best tread on the safe side, and at worst are bland and devoid of ingenuity.
“We simply don’t see enough sculpture in commercial galleries, as a rule. It’s hard to sell. People tend to like two-dimensional things, they’re easier to handle. Doing a show like this is difficult — it’s complex — but our gallery tends to take those kinds of risks on a regular basis and if you’re going to put on a great show you need to move out of your comfort zone,” says Trépanier.
The works are striking in their scope. A wide range of materials and textures are conjured, often in completely unexpected ways.
Sonny Assu’s piece (B)Longing, which appears at first glance to be made of wood, is actually revealed upon closer inspection to be cast completely of bronze, while James Carl’s jalousie is composed entirely of venetian blind slats that have bent into a remarkable curvilinear form reminiscent of an early Henry Moore sculpture. In stark contrast, Greg Murdock’s colourful geometric structures Polybedron IX and XIV evoke a congruous linearity, like a painting translated into three dimensions.
The artists themselves are just as diverse as their works. The artists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including men, women and indigenous artists; well-known, world-renowned sculptors, such as former ACAD graduate Evan Penny, feature alongside more up-and-coming artists such as DaveandJenn.
“These are all practicing Canadian artists. Some are young and emerging, others are very well established, some in mid career. We’ve got the gamut,” Trépanier says.
And despite its inherent risks, “Sculpture” certainly yields a high return, not simply in a monetary sense, but as another fine gesture in Calgary’s burgeoning art scene.
“Sculpture” runs at Trépanier Baer Gallery, 105 999 – 8 Street S.W., through Nov. 1. Admission is free.