Open­ing re­cep­tion a suc­cess for last En Plein Air 2018

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Prairies - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The open­ing re­cep­tion of En Plein Air 2018 took place on Dec. 8 at the Dr. Fos­ter James Pen­ney Build­ing in Leth­bridge.

En Plein Air events have been around since 2013 and are a place for Al­berta artists (painters, sculp­tors, il­lus­tra­tors etc) to bring to­gether their works at a se­ries of stops across south­ern Al­berta.

En Plein Air Days was hosted on May 13, June 17, and the last one be­fore this De­cem­ber one in Leth­bridge was July 22 at the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge’s Coutts Cen­tre near Nan­ton and was at­tended by over 100 vis­ual artists.

The Courts Cen­tre Arts Fes­ti­val, which was hosted by the Fac­ulty of Fine Arts, was also hosted at the Coutts Cen­tre on July 22.

“We have an ex­hi­bi­tion every year,” John Ox­ley, man­ager of the En Plein Gallery, said. “The artists come to­gether in the sum­mer of each year on spe­cial days that we set aside for them to show their work. They can go to the Coutts Cen­tre or other spa­ces at any time to cre­ate art­work and then in the fall, we start invit­ing them to sub­mit art­works to this ex­hi­bi­tion.”

82 works by 36 artists were fea­tured at the re­cep­tion and the dis­plays in­cluded paint­ings; a set of bead­work, and pho­tog­ra­phy done by lo­cal artist Jan­ice Wil­son; a sculp­ture piece, and a unique tread­mill piece.

Sev­eral of the artists got the in­spi­ra­tion for their art­work from things they dis­cov­ered while vis­it­ing the Coutts Cen­tre, which was do­nated to the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge by Dr. Jim Coutts in 2011. Al­though Dr. Coutts passed away in 2013, his land and legacy is still ap­pre­ci­ated by artists around Al­berta.

An artist named Jan­ice Wil­son, who was in three pre­vi­ous shows, ex­hib­ited three pieces done en­tirely with beads, three pho­to­graphs, and a paint­ing. An­other artist named Heather Mac­don­ald-Sorochan, who was in­clud­ing her­self in the ex­hi­bi­tion for the first time, cre­ated a piece called Herb Gar­den and Gate is on sale at the ex­hi­bi­tion for $300.

In­ter­ested buy­ers can con­tact Mac­don­ald-Sorochan at [email protected]

The tread­mill piece, done by an artist named Anony­mous Smith, fea­tures de­signs im­printed on the belt of a tread­mill and the de­signs changed as the belt ran con­tin­u­ously. Due to safety con­cerns, the piece was cor­doned off by a wooden fence dur­ing the show. The piece, ti­tled A Walk In Na­ture, for sale and priced at $675.00. Any­one who wishes to pur­chase the piece can con­tact Smith at [email protected]

“My thought be­hind it was how we hu­mans work to con­tain na­ture through fences and other re­stric­tions,” Smith said. “The idea be­hind the piece was me try­ing to an­swer the ques­tion of where a paint­ing can be and what it can be on. An­other ques­tion I wanted to an­swer was: why can’t we use the floor as an ex­pres­sive medium for a pic­to­rial de­vice?”

Derek Olsen, the Dean of Fine Arts at the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge, was present at the open­ing re­cep­tion and had pos­i­tive words for ev­ery­one in­volved in mak­ing this year’s ex­hi­bi­tion a re­al­ity.

“I want to ex­press sin­cere grat­i­tude and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the artists for all the work that's gone into what you're see­ing here to­day,” Olsen said. “The artists made many trips to the Coutts cen­ter, they par­tic­i­pated in the Coutts Arts Fes­ti­val, and they spent a great deal of time pre­par­ing their art in time for this ex­hi­bi­tion.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion runs un­til De­cem­ber 24 at the Pen­ney Build­ing and any­one is wel­come to come view it dur­ing busi­ness hours.

Anony­mous (Will) Smith shows his tread­mill piece, A Walk In Na­ture, the open­ing re­cep­tion of En Plein Air 2018.

Lo­cal artist, Jan­ice Wil­son, shows her pho­to­graphs, acrylic paint­ing, and bead­work ex­hibits the open­ing re­cep­tion of En Plein Air 2018.

Pho­tos by Heather Cameron

Sarah Hil­liard, As­sis­tant to the Dean of Fine Arts at the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge, looks at paint­ings by Bev Muen­dela, at the open­ing re­cep­tion of En Plein Air 2018.

Lo­cal artist, De­bra Ward shows her na­ture paint­ings at the open­ing re­cep­tion of En Plein Air 2018.

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