Diana Zasadny inspired by Waterton Lake for Shadows From Fire at casa


Lethbridge artist Diane Zasadny draws a lot of inspiration from Waterton Lake Park. So she decided to create art out of the tragedy of the Kenow Fires in Waterton Lake in 2007 for her new exhibit “Shadows From Fire” in the Upper concourse gallery and showcase. It is a combination of paintings, photography and her fist foray into wire sculpture which not only explore the devastation wrought by the wildfires, but also the rebirth of flora a year later.Diana Zasadny was inspired by the Waterton Lake fire for her new exhibit Shadows From the Fire. Photo by Richard Amery
“I’m inspired by hiking with my family and painting in Waterton Lake. I was actually evacuated from there while painting,” she said, setting up her works.

“I have four life sized wire sculptures of plants and animals. It’s my first time working with  sculpture,” Zasadny continued, who graduated from The Alberta College of Art and has been painting for over 20 years.

“The four paintings are very abstract and very similar to what I usually paint, she continued.
“I was distressed by what I saw happening, I painted the devastation but I also painted the regrowth,” she continued, listing an array of colourful flowers which grew from the ashes.

“In the winter of 2017, I explored the area where the Kenow Fire hit in Waterton. Walking through charred trees, bones, artifacts, ash and litter were exposed. The experience was upsetting, seeing my favourite sites diminished. On the way home from the park, I took a shovel full of ash which I mixed into my paint for the next year. In the original proposal for the exhibition, I planned a series of large scale drawings and paintings, depicting the change of the landscape. I imagined laying out an enormous sheet of paper or cloth in an open field and drawing out a scene in big sweeping gestures using a big graphite stick.

Then I wondered how to move the artwork without damaging it, thus I arrived at the idea of wire sculpture as an alternate means of making a line drawing. A trio of whitetail deer comprised the first sculpture, from there I decided to make this an exhibit using new materials. The sculptures focus on whimsical, larger than life plants and arrangements of deer. Over 2018, I sketched and photographed the explosive super bloom of wildflowers at Waterton, making several trips to document the scene. In August, I took the opportunity to try another new method for me, cyanotype printing. Photographic impressions of plants were created in the fire areas near the Bison Paddock and Maskinonge, documenting the renewal. Shadows from the Fire is an opportunity to challenge myself as an artist and explore materials outside of paint on canvas. It required imagination and problem solving that will hopefully enhance my practice,” according to her artists statement.

“I tried to convey a sense of play. They are very whimsical and a little bit of Alice in Wonderland surrealism,” she continued, adding she also explored 1800s photography  techniques of  Cyanotype printing, which captured the shadows of the subjects.

 The Main concourse features a celebration of 10 years of music photography from L.A. Beat by local writer and photographer Richard Amery. He drew on his many years of self taught experience shooting bands and musicians in often poorly lit rooms.

 While it is a shame to splash paint on perfectly good photographs, he drew inspiration from Detroit artist  Marcus Glenn, who creates captivating oil paintings of jazz musicians, adds bits of textiles to add a three dimensional effect.

 Richard Amery decided to apply a few of the techniques to photographs by gluing pieces of cardboard behind parts of the photographs, and enhanced them further by splashing paint on them while listening to the bands’ music. The goal is to draw  the audience into the moment  captured by the photo and perhaps inspire memories of that show and others. Most of the artists featured are from Lethbridge and southern Alberta or artists h who have played memorable shows in Lethbridge, with the exception being a shot of the Bottle Rockets and Jason and the Scorchers/ Dan Baird and Homemade Sin guitarist Warner Hodges.
 The opening reception is  7-9 pm., Saturday, April 27. The exhibits along with  Troy Nickle’s “Contours of Time” and Jamie-Lee Girodat’s exhibit  “Pluck” in the main gallery runs until June 8.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor