Drake Devonshire’s inaugural exhibition focuses on Canadian and international artists who are making direct connections to the past, referencing historic techniques, images and materials in works that are undeniably contemporary.
This parlour setting inspired us to look at books from a conceptual angle. Over the fireplace, Britain’sAbigail Reynolds takes a sculptural approach with two photo collages of book pages featuring ornate palace and museum architecture. Collaged together in a honeycomb pattern they expand the picture plane. While Wil Murray paints dramatic swirling abstract forms around a photo from a vintage German travel book.
Laurent Craste’s seemingly delicate ceramics, reminiscent of Victorian and Edwardian vases and urns take a dramatic turn by embracing an implied violence. Rather than shatter with the force of the hammer, it is absorbed into the vase creating a hybrid form. On either side of Craste’s piece are vintage works byAganetha Dyck. Best known for her sculptures involving honeycombs, these works from the 1970’s are diminutive beaded white sweaters; shrunk in the dryer they are at once minimal figurative sculptures and a domestic mishap.
A recent residency in Florence, Italy opened Rebecca Ladds’ eyes to traditional printmaking techniques, particularly intaglio plates. Here she presents a plate as an artwork in itself, full of the potential to produce hundreds of images, yet it remains a flawless virgin plate. David R Harper also references historic imagery by printing a renaissance painting on canvas and deftly embroidering over the central figure in a play of craft and minimalism.
Planning a diminutive exhibition in a traditional Edwardian parlour was a delightful challenge. I truly hope you enjoy this little show of contemporary works and let it inspire you to think more about how the past informs the present as you wander the new Drake Devonshire.
With a mix of fresh, unexpected artists and cogent themes, curator Kristy Trinier aims to showcase Alberta’s distinctive creative influence.