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L.A. Beat

Local artists explore everything from graffiti to nature in new exhibits at Casa

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Seven art new exhibitions open at Casa this weekend, all featuring southern Alberta and Lethbridge based artists.

 While there will be an opening  reception at Casa from 7-9 p.m. for the new exhibits, due to covid, there won’t be food and drinks served.


Jason Trotter presents his new exhibit “The Existencilist” at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“ Lethbridge has such a strong art community, I’m just proud to be part of it,” said Jason Trotter, taking a break from setting up his exhibition “The Existencilist,” in the Casa main Gallery.


“ Lethbridge has got to be  the  biggest art community per capita in the province if not the country, he said, adding, he, like  many Lethbridge artists spent the pandemic creating.

He has been part of the local art community since 2011 when he was part of the Potemkin collective.


Trotter is a popular local  stencil artist, inspired by street artists like Banksy, who works in stencils on metal.


 His work is usually on display at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, often of local musicians Shaela Miller, Ryland Moranz and Owl Acoustic lounge owner Steven Foord.


Graffiti on rail cars inspired  “The Existencilist,” which features an array of Alberta historical  themes  and images stencilled on images of grain cars.

Subjects include everything from the Fort Macleod buffalo, an owl, which has a personal connection for Trotter, a hobo coin,  Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon and Rocky and Bullwinkle villain Boris Badenov. 

“ He was always tying damsels to train tracks,” Trotter observed.


Local folk musician John Wort Hannam adorns another piece.

“Maybe he’ll be inspired to write a song,” Trotter said.


A couple of the pieces are a little meta as they feature images of spray painters, including one exploring a western theme with two spray painters dressed as cowboys in the midst of a pitched gunfight.

“Kudos to places like Casa and The Trianon and the Owl  for supporting local artists,” he said adding he hopes local artists will inspire younger artists.

Casa curator Darcy Logan is excited to open a new set of local exhibits.

“ Jason Trotter is a stencil artist who has applied that technique to  telling Southern Alberta stories  and putting them on bent metal,” Logan summarized, adding another popular local artist Leila Armstrong’s “Burrows and  Bungalows,” is in the second half of the main gallery.


“ The focus of her exhibit is urban wildlife. She’s used collage and paintings.  She even has a taxidermied raccoon going through a garbage can, that really looks like it spilled garbage on the floor,” Logan described.

A familiar artist Shanell Papp, who dominated  the main gallery with a gigantic hand crocheted skeleton that went viral online in September, brings Ossuary to the projects space outside the main gallery.

“She’s created  fabric skulls to reflect our mortality. In Europe an ossuary is a container or room where bones were placed,” Logan noted. n Ossuary, Papp creates a place of healing and contemplation using a multitude of crocheted skulls as building material.


The Passage Gallery has a nature theme with Isabel Robertson’s “Flora & Fauna”

“ She’s painted house plants and birds,”Logan said.

 U of L student Maria Riviere presents The Dancers in the Student Showcase.

“She is inspired by art history. It is really colourful and dynamic,” Logan said.


Upstairs in the The Concourse Gallery a group show curated by Lorraine Lee entitled No Voices includes work form numerous local artists including work from Alexis Bialobzyski, Vaughan Coupland, Claire Hatton, Shauna Hayward, Rick Gillis, Jeanne Kollee, Laurel Krause, Lorraine Lee, Jana MacKenzie, Kathleen Moors, Sheila Shaw and Frater Tham.


“Lorraine Lee asked  the artists to interpret a poem she wrote. So we have everything from painting to sculpture.”


“It’s amazing how the artists responded so differently to the same subject.” Logan said.


 The exhibits open with a reception at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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