University of Alberta Alumni Exhibition: Brain Storms

Nika Blasser, Waterfall Palindrome, 2015, digital video 2:21 (loop)

Nika Blasser, Waterfall Palindrome, 2015, digital video 2:21 (loop)

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.

Waterfall Palindrome installation view

Muted Forces exhibition at Harcourt House

Installation view of Floating World Series in Muted Forces exhibition

Installation view of Floating World Series in Muted Forces exhibition

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.

Statement

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.

Blue Mountain Series, silver leaf, ink, acrylic and salt on panel, 8 x 10 inches each (shown in a grid of all 10 works), 2015

Blue Mountain Series, silver leaf, ink, acrylic and salt on panel, 8 x 10 inches each (shown in a grid of all 10 works), 2015

Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art

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Earlier today I got to see the talented crew at the Art Gallery of Alberta putting the finishing touches on installing my video in the 2015 Biennial. I also had a quick sneak peek at the rest of the show and I am very honoured to be a part of this exhibition. Curator Kristy Trinier has done a stellar job putting together a dynamic group of artists for this year’s biennial.

Fish Griwkowsky published a great preview of the show in the Edmonton Journal. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s opening night celebrations!

Read more about Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art on the AGA’s website.