The Yukon Arts Centre teems with art this month.
You can check out the ATCO Play Your Part Art Contest, Anna Crawford’s photographic exhibit North, and Surface,a show of this year’s additions to the Yukon Permanent Art Collection.
As part of its support of cultural activities during the Arctic Winter Games, ATCO invited students in grades 1 to 12 to create artwork featuring the objectives of the Games, athletes in action or northern culture.
Two winners were selected from each grade, one from Whitehorse and one from schools in rural communities. Each winner received $1,000 to provide a field trip, cultural performance or art supplies for their whole class to enjoy.
It’s fun to check out the different characteristics of children’s art from grade to grade on the display boards at the Arts Centre.
From Grade 1 at Golden Horn, Mike Gwynne-Thompson’s skater frolics on a pond shiny with pencil marks applied in many directions. The clouds are given the same energetic treatment.
Pascale Dubois from Grade 7 at Kluane Lake School in Destruction Bay created a whimsical collage of carefully-clipped animals on a vast mountainous landscape. Asia Hyde, in Grade 9 at F. H. Collins, used stylized, controlled marks for her skiers, whose parallel lines evoke a clear sense of movement.
The Community Gallery features Surface, an exhibition of new acquisitions for the Yukon Permanent Art Collection Credit PHOTO: Jessica Vallenga
You can find Anna Crawford’s documentary photography show, North, in the Youth Gallery until March 31.
Sharply-focussed studies of industrial presence in Russia, Finland and Norway, with texts telling us what we’re seeing, alternate with soft, out-of-focus, almost abstract Northern landscapes.
They seem to invite us to reflect on the industrial scale resource extraction we’re considering for the Yukon.
The photos in the show are by Crawford as well as Ravdna Biret Marja Eira, who has taken compelling photos of the Saami reindeer herders. They have inhabited that northern land for a long time, adapting themselves around industrial developments. Crawford’s stories of her time spent with the Saami during the reindeer roundup give us a glimpse into this world, a kind of mirror to ours.
Until March 29, Surface covers the walls of the Community Gallery.
Garnet Meuthing, Yukon Government curator, invites us to consider the surfaces these artists have created in these works, and to cast our imaginations beyond those surfaces.
Some of the surfaces are carved. Ben Gribben’s ornamental paddle entitled “Diving Shark” includes abalone eyes and zigzag teeth. More mysteriously, a red right angle like a reverse L divides Blake Lepine’s carved basswood circle, “Listening for the Ancestors”.
Both use design elements from the contemporary Northwest coast tradition, stylized eyes, fins and feathers. In Lepine’s piece there are eyes within eyes.
Some are built up in layers. Meghan Hildebrand’s “Firewalking in the South Seas“ layers oil over collage and acrylic. The arches of windows, UFOs and palm trees swirl in an overall impression of an imagined place.
In Sylvie Martin’s “En tête-à-tête avec Gaïa” (Face to Face with Gaia), a red and orange orb almost sculpted out of paint forms the focal point in a mottled, cool green surface textured with paint dropped and spattered in a controlled way.
In Jean Taylor’s “Working With Grandmothers“, the three figures in the painting are creating a surface of their own—a button blanket, the black and red areas blue and brilliant crimson in the sunlight. It’s a surface that connects them, joining past and present in a cozy continuity.
Manu Keggenhof’s photograph, “Water: Change of Moods“, shows sky clearing and ice just starting to break up. This literal change in surface at the change of season is integral to our experience of the northern landscape.
Belinda Harrow invites us to consider the historic fur trade with her “Suite of 3 Drawings“, depicting fish, canoes, and beaver-shaped maps of Canada. Her “Hudson Bay Otter“ has two surfaces—fur,and cotton beaded with the Hudson’s Bay Company logo.
In Karen Rhebergen’s evocative batik, “I Will Build You a Home“, a young person, between girl and woman, stands between pink and black spaces.
She shingles the roof of a small gingerbread house with gumdrops in her capable hands. Childlike stick figures add texture to the pink space. One shoulder up, she slouches a bit in her turquoise shirt as she balances the candy, getting it to stick.
Rosemary Scanlon invites us into an imaginary world through her three-page watercolour, “Glacial Magic“. A series of full moons tracks across a night sky, feathery with granular washes.
Seemingly disconnected episodes occur across the snowy surface, with a medieval sense of perspective and narrative. Humans in long underwear with raven, lynx, bear and wolf heads dance around a tree holding hands.
A wood panelled station wagon sits with its back open. A line of mountaineers scales to a red flag. What is going on? This is where you can make up the story.
Don’t stay away because the main gallery will be closed to install Sleep of Reason, a group show curated by Jennifer Cane that opens March 22. There’s lots of art to see.