In June, I hung a site-specific installation with large-scale (8 feet x 5 feet) translucent ink drawings in the windows of the Pendleton Center for the Arts. I wanted to use the architecture of the gallery in a way that would shift the environment as you walk into the room–creating the feeling of a visual sanctuary.
Blasser’s work generates an environment of quiet contemplation, revealing moments of poetic clarity where nature and artistic agency are fluidly intertwined. In light mirror | mirror shadow Blasser explores dualities through visual palindromes akin to the infamous Rorschach psychology test, with each drawing reflecting the altered shadow of its other half.
Last fall I was invited to give an artist talk at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. They have a small, but strong art program and I had a great time doing studio visits with their students. I was invited back for an exhibition for January – February of 2016 at the Nightingale Gallery on campus. It was nice to have the opportunity to share my work in person to many of the same students who saw my lecture a few months prior. Professor Cory Peeke organizes the gallery space; here’s a link to his press release for the exhibition, and a link to an article in a local paper.
The University of Alberta Museums Galleries at Enterprise Square coordinated a massive exhibition of U of A arts entitled: Brain Storms UAlberta Creates. The exhibition was mounted in two parts, opening on September 25, 2015 and closing on January 23, 2016. Over 100 works of art were featured including a video that I made in 2015: Waterfall Palindrome (on display for the full 4 months of the show). I got to visit Enterprise Square galleries while the team at Museums & Collections was installing the exhibition, but had to leave town before the show opened. Here are a couple of installation shots of my video in a black box space. The University of Alberta is such a major cultural shaper of the arts in Alberta–it is really interesting to see such a large-cross section of alumni that have made, and are continuing to make, contributions to the visual arts and education throughout the province and beyond.
From September 17 – October 16 I am honoured to have a solo exhibition in the main gallery at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre. You may view images of these paintings and drawings here.
The paintings in Muted Forces explore the idea of landscape through layering and materials that are visibly impacted by time, much in the way that the world around us has been formed. My work is permeated by attentiveness to material dynamism; how simple components can be used to reveal, rupture or redeploy our perceptual awareness. I have an ongoing interest in the intermingling of a contemplative hand with reclamations made by the forces of nature.
This series of paintings developed out of an earlier series of “saltscapes” which were made only with salt and pigment on paper; here I have added more mediation and increased the complexity of the images through layering disparate materials. The first layer is textured and often topographical in nature, which is then highlighted by either copper or silver leaf. This layer of reflectivity creates a luminous base and a dynamic interaction with light—a continual motif in my practice. Multiple layers of ink and paint provide visual structure and atmosphere over the leaf. Finally, I paint areas of salt water over the surface, allowing crystalline structures to emerge as the water evaporates. The salt crystals form with somewhat unpredictable results; this element of chance—and the tension created between things that I can control versus things that I cannot—is also a perpetual inspiration for my artwork.
These works encapsulate a literal crystallization of time while enfolding concepts of duration, transformation and ultimately revealing the hand of nature.
I have designed a Blurb book to compliment my show with various images from my studio practice. Here is a 40 page preview (the full book is currently 100 pages) of the gallery copy. I will make a scaled down and less expensive version available soon. Please check it out:
This book features some of the process works that Nika Blasser made during the last two years of her graduate work in the visual arts at the University of Alberta. It contains photographs, pages from sketchbooks and documentation of some of the works made for her master’s thesis exhibition in December 2012.