May 17th, 2024

Southern Alberta Art Gallery opens three new exhibits

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 1, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Southern Alberta Art Gallery interim curator Adam Whitford has opened three new exhibits highlighting an international artist, as well as two local artists' work


The Southern Alberta Art Gallery is offering three new exhibitions that will be on display until February 6 which highlights the works of one Swedish and two southern Alberta artists.
The exhibits can be found in three different areas of the gallery. Under the Vast Sky by Swedish artist Britta Marakatt-Labba is in the main gallery, Body Longing by Mandy Espezel is located in the upper gallery space, and There Were Nothing But Pedigrees All Around Us by Luke Johnson is located in the library.
Britta Marakatt-Labba is a Swedish North Sápmi. Sápmi are the Indigenous peoples of Sweden and Norway. Her exhibition represents the biggest retrospective of the most comprehensive collection of her work to date.
“We are fortunate to be able to have it here in Lethbridge,” said Adam Whitford, interim curator for Southern Alberta Art Gallery.
Whitford added that the artist’s works touch on different themes like Sápmi mythology, cosmology, global warming and climate issues, everyday scenes of Sápmi people and cultures and traditions as well as more contemporary issues.
Mandy Espezel is a Lethbridge-based artist and University of Lethbridge professor who completes painting installations. Body Longing appeals to the value of lived experience and the body as a field of sense and emotion.
“In conceiving the exhibition with Mandy, she is very interested in creating a whole painting in the gallery space, not just paintings on canvas that are hung on the wall,” said Whitford.
He added that they really relate to the gallery space, and she has drawn paintings that come outside of the canvas paintings and interact with the Carnegie library space that is the upper gallery.
In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the historic Carnegie library building on January 23, 2022, artist Luke Johnson re-examined SAAG’s publication history, experimenting with tangential image research among its holdings.
“I brought Luke in at this specific time because he does a lot of work with library collections and the interactions that happen in a library,” said Whitford.
Beginning with a dozen SAAG publications from 1979 to 2012, Luke Johnson found mentions of their titles, or those same arrangement of words, in publications decades older. There Were Nothing But Pedigrees All Around Us features a series of postcards.
“These images are presented as postcards that people can take away from the exhibition, as sort of a reflection on the weird things that you find in libraries that maybe you also take with you,” said Whitford.
SAAG’s publication history is represented as an investigative game for visitors, offering new encounters with forgotten books. Visitors are invited to trace each image back to the original book and exhibition which provoked its discovery.

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