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L.A. Beat

From Shakespeare to family: Casa opens a variety of new exhibits

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Casa opens a whopping seven new exhibits this weekend.
Casa has undergone a few changes for exhibits.
 Adrianna “ the Hobbyist” Richardson is the first artist to utilize the new PROJEctspace space.
“ One of the large cabinets on the main floor is open to emerging artists to do site specific exhibitions,” said Casa Curator Darcy Logan, noting that means the space itself is now a part of the exhibits rather than just  a place to display exhibits.

Darcy Logan contemplates Sins&insecrities at casa. Photo by Richard Amery
“So the artist can respond to the commitment of space,” he said, adding it is similar in spirit  to  the cabinet of Queeriosties at the former Bowman art gallery.
“ But she has created an exhibit about the excess of consumerism and disposable culture. She’s used found objects and artfully recontextualized them.”
 There are two big exhibits in the main gallery which are related to issues of feminism and family.
“Karen Campbells’s “My Lilac Shadow,” features colourful coloured pencil drawings inspired by personal struggles, the popular and well respected local artist has faced in her life. It is her first exhibit  at casa.

“It is a real meditative and contemplative response to family illness and subsequent convalescent care,” Logan summarized.
“It reflects all the time spent in reflection while in a hospital,” he said, adding the exhibit is quite colourful in spite of the morbid theme.
“Often you need colour and light when you’re in a hospital,” he said.

The other main gallery exhibit, “sins&insecurities,”  features self portraits of photographer and artist Karla Mather-Cocks as well as an interactive and performance component.
“It explores the idea of negotiating the diverse facets of life. Specifically the guilt of of trying to balance being a free spirit and artist while at the same time as being a mother.
“ There will also be a an opportunity for gallery visitors to anonymously  write down their sins and insecurities,” he said adding  at the end of the exhibit, she will burn them as an allegory of sins and insecurities keeping people from celebrating their lives.

In the opening foyer, local artists  Alicia Barbieri and McKenzie Bond Holloway’s “The Ophelia Studies,”  was inspired by not only Shakespeare’s character of Ophelia in Hamlet, but by artist depictions of the character.

“ They are a recent graduate of the U of L who went on an artists retreat at the Gushul Retreat in the Crowsnest Pass and an interdisciplinary  student at the University of Lethbridge. They restaged some of the famous paintings of Ophelia from the nineteenth century,” Logan said.
“Ophelia is usually portrayed as a tragic figure by male artists. They are trying to disrupt that perception,” Logan said.

Upstairs, John Chief Calf and his students present Nitsokowaiksi.
“John Chief Calf was the FNMI liaison for the District 51 school division. It  features different perspectives on reconciliation. There is a variety of works including  photography, acrylic and pencil drawings,” Logan continued.

Also upstairs, Tanya Melnyk demonstrates some rarely used techniques in her exhibit “Valleys and Views in Wax.”
“It uses the process of adding pigment to wax and dripping it on  the canvass. it]s an interesting technique, so  I encourage people to come and check it out,” Logan said.

Last, but not least, local artist Leila Armstrong exhibits the first part of her PHd thesis in the Digital Gallery.
“Backyard Wilderness” is all about urban wildlife.
“It is only one part of her exhibition. It is about the intersection of  people and urban wildlife.  There will also be billboards and an exhibition at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre,” Logan said.

The opening reception for the new exhibits is 7-9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7. They  are on display until Oct. 19.

— by Richard Amery ,L.A. Beat Editor
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