Shining examples of some of the finest works created by Central Alberta artists are on display at the Kiwanis Gallery through to December.
‘Rooted in the Arts II: The Alberta Foundation for the Arts Collection’ is currently being showcased in the gallery, which is located in the basement of the Red Deer Public Library downtown. A ‘First Friday’ event runs Nov. 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and musical entertainment will also highlight the evening.
Hosted by the Red Deer Arts Council and Red Deer Public Library, the exhibit runs through to Dec. 1.
“This is Central Alberta, and we are ‘rooted in the arts’,” said curator Diana Anderson with a smile. “There are an awful lot of really fine artists in this area, and have been for a long, long time.
“We have a very long artistic heritage here in Red Deer. People have been perusing art in this region for a very, very long time. And this show only represents the people who have been collected in the Alberta Foundation of the Arts. There are others who should be collected – there are so many up and coming artists that have been producing in this region that haven’t been collected yet.”
Anderson said she and the visual arts committee are proud to have been working with the staff at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts offices in Edmonton to bring this exhibit to Red Deer.
She is indeed the ideal person to put together the show – Anderson has known virtually every artist represented in the exhibit over the years.
“I’ve had not only a good working relationship with some of them, but long-term friendships as well. So I’ve been very privileged in a lot of ways to know 90 per cent of these people.”
Forty-six extraordinary pieces, from painting to ceramics to fibre art – are featured. “Many are early names in the Red Deer art community,” said Anderson. “Some of them also helped start the Red Deer Art Club.”
It’s laid out beautifully – Anderson has a lengthy history of setting up exhibits in Red Deer and her gift for showcasing works of art shines through at every turn.
“When a curator looks at the entire show, it’s all about what piece will tell the best story about the artist and the artist’s work,” she explains. “I see, in my imagination, how it will be presented to the public. From one piece to another, what makes the best story? I also look at things that are similar when I plan exhibitions.”
For example, if it’s a landscapes-oriented exhibition, Anderson will look for ‘breakdowns’ within the particular set of works. “Are there winter, spring, summer or fall themes? Are there buildings or people in them? What’s different about the pieces? I’ll then put those pieces together.
“I’m hoping when people are standing there looking at portraits from five different artists that they’ll start to subconsciously compare and contrast,” she says. “Why do I like this portrait and not that one? Why do I like all five? They start to have an internal dialogue, or a dialogue with someone who happens to be standing next to them which is what I love to see. Art is about talking to other people.”
This is the second ‘Rooted in the Arts’ exhibit in Red Deer – the first was held at the Harris-Warke Gallery during the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards Gala this past June.
Anderson also said the AFA is great to work with, as they followed the mandate of the show and provided wonderful examples from their extensive collections that represent local artists.