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Whyte celebrates women artists

A new art show opens Saturday at the Whyte Museum, with the focus on Alberta’s women artists. With an opening reception at 1 p.m. with artists in attendance, the show runs from June 4 to Aug. 2.

A new art show opens Saturday at the Whyte Museum, with the focus on Alberta’s women artists.

With an opening reception at 1 p.m. with artists in attendance, the show runs from June 4 to Aug. 2.

“This particular one was a themed show directed specifically at women Alberta artists, and the reason we chose that was because we’re having a major exhibition in our main gallery, which is women explorers of the Canadian Rockies,” said Lorraine Noel-Clark, manager of retail operations.

“So to complement our women explorers, we thought it would be nice to have the work of women artists, how they depict the natural environment and how they use the environment as the inspiration for their artwork.”

The museum holds art shows of this nature seven times a year and they are juried opportunities for Alberta artists to exhibit their work. For this show, there were nearly 40 submissions.

“We got a whole range of different media, including stained glass, porcelain, paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolour,” said Noel-Clark. “It really was a broad scope of entries that we received.”

In total, 19 artists were selected for inclusion in the show.

“It’s really a very diverse group of women artists,” she said. “We felt that the range really was reflective of the beauty of the Alberta landscape and really did complement the show that was upstairs.

“It was a difficult selection process for the jury because there was such a good range of work, so we had to limit it to just a few pieces per artist. We’re quite excited to see what’s come together as far as representing the scope of women artists’ work in the valley and beyond.”

The show will include the works of four artists from Banff: Christine Ford, Véronique Bottaro Gay-Fraret, Jannis Allan Hare and Beth Woolley Monod; five artists from Canmore: Patti Dyment, Helena Knos, Zelda Nelson, Louise Olinger, Lilianna Robertson; and 10 artists from throughout the rest of the province: Mindy Andrews, Louise Blank, Larissa Blokhuis, Joan Cobb-Beaumont, Christine Elmgren, Irén Gibson, Jean Pilch, Linda Anderson Stewart, Mary Swain and Hedda Zahner.

“Locally, we have Beth Woolley Monod, who is a glass artist; another is Joan Cobb-Beaumont,” said Noel-Clark. “We have glass artists who work in etching, sandblasting and stained glass, so it’s really diverse.

“Some of the local painters included in the show are watercolourists Zelda Nelson and Jannis Allan Hare.”

Much of the show’s content will be landscapes and wildlife, whether in the traditional sense, or as abstracted interpretations.

“The show really represents very personal interpretations of the Canadian Rockies – it’s not restricted to the more traditional in terms of presentation,” said Noel-Clark. “There are things which I think are exquisitely beautiful and things that are also pushing the boundaries of what we would normally include in our art sales.

“It’s probably our most ambitious art show and sale in the sense that we’ve brought together not only a variety of media, but subject matter, and sometimes it’s quite difficult as a curator to make a decision about what is included and how to display it, so that it complements the other works in the show” she explained. “But also, we felt that the quality of the artwork that was submitted by the ladies was so strong that we hated to leave anybody out, which is why so many artists were selected.”

Normally a show of this nature is restricted to 10-12 artists, a goal which is becoming much more difficult to attain, as the shows are experiencing an ever-increasing number of submissions.

“The museum started this whole art consignment program two-and-a-half years ago, and at first we only had a few submissions – it was very average for us to get 15-20 submissions,” she said. “Now we’re easily getting 30-40 every time we do a call for a new art show, and that’s showing me the word is out to the community.”

The next shows will be a blossoms and botanicals show in August, followed by a colours of fall show in October and then a craft sale leading up to Christmas.

“We’re really hoping to get the word out to local artists and the community to come see this work,” said Noel-Clark.

Information for upcoming calls for submission will be available on the museum’s website as of mid-June.


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