PAVED Arts

There is always something boundary-pushing, something unique and innovative happening at PAVED Arts. And hey, with an acronym that covers various multi-media formats – Photography, Audio, Video, Electronic, and Digital – it is no wonder!

PAVED is home to creative and performance work alike. The main floor of the building is a designated exhibit space. But take a walk upstairs and you will enter a large room where workshops, shows, and all kinds of art events take place. I saw a multidisciplinary performance in this space that combined audio and visual work, featuring some of the Saskatoon Symphony musicians—it was incredible. Further down the hall you will see a number of smaller rooms designed solely for artistic development. These creative ‘offices’ are open to PAVED members and offer ridiculously affordable rates for audio, video, and photo production and editing.

The current exhibition on the main level is called “Resolution”, and showcases three local artists responding to a common theme—the beauty, history, and the pure (and sometimes frightening) desolation of the Saskatchewan prairies. Sure, the Canadian nature art/poetry/writing thing may seem a bit overdone, but have you ever seen an up- close photo of a dead coyote on a Saskatchewan highway? Or a photo developed in coffee solution? These are the kind of out-of-the-box ideas you can expect to see at PAVED.

Karla Griffin, Stephanie Norris and Barbara Reimer make up
“Resolution” with David Lariviere, Artistic Director of PAVED acting as event curator. After seeing the exhibition, I arrange a phone chat with Barbara and we discuss the ways in which the artists’ work ties together, as well as her own personal journey with photography.

One thing that stood out for me in the exhibit was the vintage aesthetic: Barbara’s work had been developed in coffee solution while Stephanie’s collection of photographs, Saskatchewan Galaxies Volume I-IV, had been embossed onto rag paper. These print and display techniques gave the pieces in the gallery an aged appearance I appreciated immediately. For Barbara, the use of coffee solution “puts a veil on and kind of shows the negative again. You see ghosting of the edges,” which she clarifies as “the faded away bit.” (Oh! I like the term ‘ghosting’.) Barbara adds, “It gives the work an ephemeral quality”.

Barbara bounces back and forth between the old and new of photography—old- school film and modern digital. I tell her that from my own experience of using film to take pictures (ah, good ol’ disposable cameras), and now mostly using the camera on my smartphone, I can only imagine just how major this transition would have been for professional photographers working in the industry. She talks of how the digital process, though it certainly has its advantages, does not have the “physicality” that developing film-based photography does. Nor does it have the same originality: “Every print is an original with digital,” Barbara says. “You don’t have the physical negative anymore. You just reproduce a file”.

While conveying her love for antiques, Barbara tells me about the “mammoth” of a camera she uses that weighs in at 20lbs, not including the tripod. We talk of how even the process of shooting with an old camera is an entirely different experience than shooting with a smartphone or other high-definition digital camera. You become more connected with what you are shooting because you are less concerned with technology.

The argument over quality in ‘old versus new’ also comes up a lot in the world of professional photography; Barbara and I both agree that newer doesn’t always mean better. Some of my favorite art photography comes from Helmet Newton’s Polaroid series. But what can I say? I like nudity at its most raw. A real moment captured in a rough image is more appealing to me than a perfectly controlled digitization of that story.

Stop by PAVED Arts for a visit and be on the lookout for upcoming exhibitions, workshops, performances, and other events. This place hosts some of the finest creative and performing artists here in Saskatoon! And who knows, maybe one day there will be a show packed full of racy Polaroids! 

AKA Artist Run

She sits in the back corner of the room, playing with dolls, rearranging their bodies, giving them warrior helmets and spikey hairdos. She is unassuming, an artist in her workshop. Her name is Laura Hosaluk, and she is the current artist-in-residence at AKA gallery.

It’s funny how my work brings me here, to Laura. She and I go back years—two wild and free women wandering Saskatoon, searching for truth. We talk of days long since past, the music and art that brought us together in friendship, and the many ways the pursuit of art has shaped who we are today. The journey is about growth. All ways. We talk of human relationship, which for both of us is a painful and beautiful source of creative inspiration. And we talk of how when that shit just gets too painful, too messy, we turn to nature again and find inspiration in Her.

Laura’s current project deals with human anatomy through the refurbishing of ceramic child dolls. Her desk is covered in all kinds of antique treasures. Laura tells me they are mostly ‘found objects’, traces of the left-behind, something a person used and then discarded. When Laura comes across these objects, they “surrender themselves” to her, as if the objects want to become a part of her artistic vision. Laura speaks of the “generosity of the objects” and how working with them becomes a sort of “communion”.

As a young girl, Laura worked with wood through surface design and finishing alongside her father, Michael Hosaluk, an accomplished artist here in Saskatoon. This education provided Laura with the tools to create art on her own while exploring a variety of mediums from painting to sculpture to construction. She also remembers her weekly Sunday ritual of attending flea markets, going through piles of history to find the perfect recycled treasure. “I come from a long line of ‘garage salers’. It’s a cult”, she says, smiling at memories. “I’m sure my work would be much different if it was church I was going to every Sunday morning”.

I ask Laura about her artistic process of ‘revamping’ these dolls. How did she know which object to use and how to work it into the bodies of the dolls? Laura describes the experience: “I guess it’s sitting with something long enough to see beyond the object’s original function and finding a new narrative”. She then pulls out a rusty old saw tool with two long, serrated edges. Laura holds the saw vertically and shows me how the bladed legs become human legs just by looking at them a certain way. I laugh. It was like being a kid again, imagining life beyond conventionality.

Laura’s residency at AKA goes from March 7th to April 20th and will end with an exhibition at Slate Gallery in Regina. From June 7th- 9th she will lead the “Particle Mandala” project at the Saskatoon Children’s Festival with Joseph Naytowhow and Lori Petruskevich. Together, they will build a mandala made of organic materials that will be dismantled and returned to earth once it is finished. The intention is to create something beautiful without attachment to the end product. Build. Then destroy. Laura and I talk about the importance of this non-attachment in our own

artistic endeavors. She acknowledges, “When the final product outweighs the process, it’s no longer about the process. It’s about control”.

Laura sells or gifts the majority of her pieces. Rather than holding on to her creations, she finds beauty in the idea of someone else having them up in their home. Laura’s paintings, dolls, and other unique creations are for sale at www.laurahosaluk.com.

Stop in at AKA to visit Laura and check out the amazing current installation Bells & Airplanes by Michal Gignac, a Saskatoon-based artist now living and drawing inspiration from life in the Yukon.

Frances Morrison Library/SCYAP/Art Placement

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, 
you can always go downtown.”
Petula Clark

        Or, if you want to check out some of Saskatoon’s local art, regardless of whether you are alone or feeling lonely, you can always go downtown! Today I am headed to SCYAP, Art Placement, and the Frances Morrison Public Library to see what our city has to offer. 

    SCYAP, an acronym for Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming, is about as urban as you can get with an art space. In a lofty old building on 3rd Avenue South, SCYAP is home to a gallery and creative workspace that feels like a New York arts hub where beatniks and street cats would hang out. I love it here. 

    A wall of boxes titled, “newspaper”, “foam”, “small pieces of leather”, and even “chunks of vinyl” are filled with just some of the art supplies available for anyone who wants to use them! Yes, anyone! Not just youth! Any arty-minded soul can come in for free drop-in use of the space on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-9:00pm and Saturdays from 1:00-6:00pm.  

    The gallery side of SCYAP is just as nifty as the workspace. Even the floor has a street look, with curbs bearing the signature yellow paint stripe.     A group of high school students come in and frolic about the gallery. They are comfortable here, laughing and smiling and looking cool with their hands in their pockets. SCYAP is designed for youth, but anybody with an appreciation for art and urban culture would fall in love with this place. Shows in the gallery change every three weeks, so there is always a lot to see.  

    Across the street and down the back alley is Art Placement, located next to Diva’s Nightclub. Art Placement is another trendy, refurbished century-old building. Like SCYAP, the gallery is also filled with teenagers enjoying their freedom out of the florescent lights and hard desks of our present-day torture chambers….er… school classrooms. (But really, WHY are classrooms always as uncomfortable as possible?) I watch the students take in the art together, and remember how exciting field trips were at that age. 

    I speak with the gallery manager, Linda Stark about the upcoming exhibit at Art Placement. Joanne Lyons, an established artist based here in Saskatoon, will be showing her mixed media exhibition, “Shadow Dance” from March 31 – April 21 with the reception held on April 2nd at 2pm and an artist talk April 9th also at 2pm. From what I understand, Joanne is very inspired by the natural world. I know she has done some interdisciplinary work at PAVED combining sound and visual arts, so I am curious to see what she has been cooking up!
    My last stop is the Frances Morrison library. I head upstairs and say hello to the librarians. I ask for my passport stamp and say, “Is there anything you can tell me about the current exhibit? I’m writing about it for the Art Passports.” The one lady tells me that the show features photographs from the library’s historical archives. The other librarian chirps in excitedly, “And it’s all bakery-themed! I call it, ‘a little slice of Saskatoon’!” Oh, you cheeky librarian. 

    Well, they were right about the photos. Doughnuts galore! Just looking at the photos gives me a hankering for Spudnuts and Long Johns. 

    Back in the day during the “Golden Age of Bakeries”, you could actually get an order delivered to your house on a horse-drawn carriage; photographs of McGavin’s and other Saskatoon bakeries from the early 1900s show just that. I learn that1954 was the last horse-drawn bakery wagon here. 

    Another black-and-white photograph features the ‘McGavin Girls’, attractive, pin-up style ladies packaging bread and other doughy delicacies on a production line. A well-suited gentleman, who I assume is the boss, looks on approvingly. (He loves his job.) 

    Vintage photos of Christie’s Mayfair Bakery are also in the collection. For those of you who don’t know, this bakery is still around today with two locations! 

    In a photograph from 1929, I recognize a building from 2nd Avenue and Queen Street with the sign on top, “Don’t Say Bread, Say McGavin’s”. Ah! So that’s where the sign that has always confused Saskatooners came from! “Don’t Say Bread, Say Earls” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. 

    Well, I must be off now. It’s time I satisfied my doughnut craving. Keep visiting the galleries and collecting stamps! My passport will be full soon!

College and Kenderdine Art Galleries

    The dark and heavy sounds of High on Fire’s new album, Luminiferous blasts through my headphones. I wander through the University Administration building, one of my favorite places on campus, and sip my coffee while moving to the sounds of bloody guitar solos. Today I am headed to the Kenderdine and College Art Galleries to check out the re-visit exhibition divided between all three spaces. 

    From what I can see, the purpose behind re-visit is to display popular art techniques of the last century—suprematism, figuration, and automatism are some of the styles. I have no idea what they mean but there is background information provided next to the pieces, and I can soon gather for myself what some of these terms mean. 

    It’s really interesting how music can influence an artistic experience. George Rouault’s 1927 expressionist piece, “Onward the Dead” is a perfect visual for the loud gritty metal permeating through my ears. Rouault’s skeletons rise from graves into a black, dusty landscape. Death everywhere. I wonder if I would have the same feelings toward the art without the music? I would hang this piece in my bedroom next to my skull candle. 

    Next to “Onward the Dead” is a large oil-on-canvas portrait of a man featured in a number of positions, sporting one of the greatest handlebar moustaches I have ever seen! The piece by Andy Fabo is called “Dislocation”, from 1978. It definitely has that late 70s-80s leather jackets and bad attitudes kind of feel. 

    Janet Werner’s “Imposter” is a colorful contrast to Rouault and Fabo, but just as complementary to the music. A busty, gypsy-like woman staring defiantly into the camera while holding two cats is just another way of saying heavy metal. Werner is a Canadian artist born in Winnipeg, now living in Montreal. 

    Speaking of Montreal, over in College Art Gallery Two a documentary from 1954 plays on repeat. “Artist in Montreal” is a hilariously classic program with a monotone narrator saying things like, “The young artist found this tree and decided to turn it into a piece of abstract sculpture. He hopes to add a little light to the city”. I love it when narrators try for enthusiasm but full flat. I sit watching the film, laughing by myself. 

    My final gallery visit is to Kenderdine, strangely located in the Agriculture building. Seriously? The Ag building is the swankest place on campus—glass elevators and a pond with live goldfish—and they get an art gallery too? 

    In the Kenderdine, I am pulled into “Hands of History” a DVD from 1994 about artist Jane Ash Poitras. She is talking about how when she was a little girl, her art teacher at school was making the class draw stick figures. Poitras refused because she felt the figures were unnatural, having been exposed to Indigenous artistic portrayals of women with full breasts and curves. Next to the DVD is a wild mixed media piece, also by Poitras, called “Untitled (from Peyote Experience New Mexico). I’d like to meet this woman. A real rock n’ roll rebel. 

    I hope when you are reading this you get inspired to get off the couch, throw on your headphones, pick your favorite music of the moment, and check out the campus galleries and other art galleries listed in the passports. That is all. 

Tara Stadnyk

 

    

            

Gordon Snelgrove Gallery

February 16

Why are there not more art exhibitions in the dark? Turning lights off and casting a simple and directive lamp on each piece would give people the visual pleasure of experiencing art one-on-one without distractions from other people in the gallery. At the Gordon Snelgrove campus gallery, three MFA students and I do just that to engage with the subverted wonderland installation that is Elizabeth Babyn’s “Interconnected Refuge”.

There is plastic everywhere: saran wrap, bags, and veils all twisted and hung together to shape today’s inescapable consumerist culture. Dreamy light from Elizabeth’s projector video colors the translucent textures in the space. I feel like I have walked into some kind of vision quest.

Elizabeth and the other students with me—Riisa Gundesen and George Gingras—are all part of a joint show with MFA grads from Lethbridge. Much of the work that is up in the Snelgrove represents what these students are currently exploring in their own artistic mediums, but some of the pieces are older works as well.  

Next to Elizabeth’s ‘refuge’ is a pathway of illuminated globes on the floor. Again, another glow-in-the-dark series! (I love this). I discover that the surfaces are petri dishes that have been covered in snail tracks! Wow! The artist’s name is Sarah Stringam and her work, aptly named “Snail Saunter”.

In the center of the gallery, George Gingras’ work hangs across from Corinna Wolf’s, and it is easy to see why. As artists who both draw inspiration from their own Metis heritage, George and Corinna depict animal spirits and their relationships to human beings. I find the pieces intensely provocative but soothing at the same time. George tells me about his pieces: “These are actually from a few years ago. What I am working on currently right now is more to do with muscular physique. “ He shows me a few images of work in-progress taken in his studio. 

The human body is a source of inspiration for Riisa as well whose visceral paintings stop me in my tracks. Riisa explores the “selfie” and its societal connotations. She describes how selfies have been viewed as a “silly thing that silly girls do”. Her paintings are modeled after 15th century art styling, but the women she features are holding smartphones and taking selfies. The view from my end is candid. Riisa goes on to explain that she is interested in the “pretense of the nude, the glamourizing and sexualizing that goes into the naked body to make it socially acceptable.” Her painting titled “Nike”, after the Greek goddess of victory, is a graphic portrayal of plastic surgery. It actually makes my skin crawl. But I’ve always been a fan of art that makes me uncomfortable.

Other MFA students being showcased at the Snelgrove include Anahita Akhavan, Andrei Feheregyhazi, Shona Fitz-Gerald Laing, Jessica Morgun, and Megan Morman.

The Kenderdine and St. Thomas More galleries are also located on campus and are a part of the YXE Art Passports. (re)visit: interpreting the collection is a series divided between both College Art Gallery spaces and the Kenderdine Art Gallery. Between all these galleries, there is plenty of art to take in and three more stamps to collect on your passport!

Tara Stadnyk

Void Gallery

Stepping into Void gallery is like walking into the living room of your artsy friend’s house. I am greeted warmly by Michael Peterson, owner of Void, who shows me to a seat across his desk. We drink coffee and dive into conversation on the inner workings of the gallery.

My first question to him is “where did the name Void come from?” Michael tells me that the original space was a basement on Clarence and 8th Street (the same building as 8th Street Books & Comics). “It was hard to find,” he says. “And the three of us who started the gallery had a joke about how descending the stairs to the basement gallery was like walking into the ‘void’.”

Void was founded in 2012 by Michael, a printmaker who received his BFA at the University of Saskatchewan and MA at Emily Carr, along with Kris Kershaw, an abstract artist, and Nelson Fraser, a metal artist and jury member of the Craft Council. The gallery remained at the 8th Street location for three years then made a shift in the summer of 2015 to a building on Avenue B in Riversdale.

Void is a commercial-focused gallery that supports emerging artists. Michael explains, “It is very difficult for these artists to get into commercial galleries because you often need sales history to get in. But where do you start? How and where are you supposed to sell your work in the beginning?” Void offers a solution to this challenge. “The gallery accepts submissions at any time. The program committee reviews submissions then contacts artists whose work will then be displayed for commercial sale.”

But another way the owners felt they could support emerging artists was by building a workspace for them, a space that serves as a temporary location where artists can conceive a project then disband afterward without the worries of long-term rental agreements.

Michael leads me upstairs to “The Creative Commons”, a 1250- squarefoot room that right away evokes images of Andy Warhol’s Factory in my mind. The space contains equipment for printmaking including an etching press, a massive piece of machinery with a cost that can prevent many artists from dappling in printmaking in the first place. The etching press and other tools in The Creative Commons are open to use if artists are interested in booking the space.

Michael is also working on installing a small stage in the far corner of the room for musicians and poets to perform. As a musician myself, I thought about how lovely it would be to host an intimate performance here like a fundraiser or CD release party, where people are there ‘for the music’. Michael and I also talk about the potential of hosting multidisciplinary events in the space. “Some of my favorite shows I have attended were interdisciplinary events that combined visual, performance, and sound art,” I say. Michael agrees and adds, “There are more shows with overlap between artistic mediums than we realize.”

Rental fees are still being worked out but the space will be available for longer period bookings or day/night event bookings. The Creative

Commons will be open March 2016. Artists are encouraged to contact Michael at info@voidgallery.ca if they are interested. He is already scheduling bookings for the year.

Void is a must-see destination for artists and art lovers in Saskatoon. One can appreciate and purchase work that is for sale in the main level of Void that includes paintings by Sandra Knoss, a farmer from Rockglen, fine art jewelry by Mary Lynn Podiluk, and even beeswax candles made out of 3D print molds by Vivian Orr. There is also a great selection of smaller items like posters, cards, and patches that would all make beautiful gifts. For the visual or performing artist, there are incredible opportunities for creating a project or showcasing your art through an event in The Creative Commons upstairs. Whatever your purpose, Void Gallery & The Creative Commons offer something for anyone interested in adding to Saskatoon’s underground and mainstream art scenes. 

Tara Stadnyk

Wanuskewin

I drive in to Wanuskewin Heritage Park and feel myself begin to relax. The site encapsulates everything I find beautiful about Saskatchewan. There is just something special about this place. Even the Cree word wānaskēwin means “being at peace with oneself”.

When I enter the gallery the first thing I notice is the familiar fragrance of sweetgrass lingering in the air from a smudge. I am reminded of traditional ceremonies I have attended in my life and the lessons I received from Indigenous elders at these gatherings. I smile at the memory. The gallery is a bright, open space with panoramic views of the snow-covered prairie plains and South Saskatchewan River.

Wanuskewin Park’s curator, Felicia Gay meets with me to discuss the current exhibitions. Together we enter a large room that is entirely devoted to four established local artists, two of whose names I recognize immediately. Tasha Hubbard was my Indigenous Literature professor, a woman whose lectures and involvement in the community inspired me greatly. Tasha’s short film “Buffalo Calling” plays on the wall.

Next to her film is the work of Ruth Cuthand, the other artist whose name I have heard before. Her paintings depict religious narratives Ruth was exposed to as a child, Mormon passages in their original form before they were revised to become more politically correct. The cartoonish style Ruth adapts from Dick and Jane gives the work a chilling power.

Across the space, however, there is a contrasting portrayal of western religion and Indigenous peoples in Sherry Farrell Racette’s work. Racette illustrates the history of Kateri, an Indigenous woman who was one miracle away from being canonized as a saint.

Archer Pechawis is the fourth artist featured in the exhibition. His digital presentation “Horse” is the story of the Battle of Bighorn as told through the perspective of a horse.

Felicia then directs me to the second gallery space that is entirely devoted to emerging artists. The room is filled with the colorful, eye- catching work of Kim Soo Goodtrack, a Lakota woman from Woodmountain Reserve. Felicia tells me that Kim’s great grandmother travelled with Sitting Bull to settle in Saskatchewan.

Next Felicia and I sit down to chat more about the arts scene in Saskatoon. In our conversation, she points out the apprehension felt by Indigenous peoples in visiting art galleries. I ask her to explain more. “Art galleries are very white male-centered spaces,” she says. “And Indigenous people feel uncomfortable about attending them.” Truthfully, this is something I had never thought about, and it hurt to hear. Art should be accessible for everyone.

We talk more about the purpose of Wanuskewin and its relationship to the community. Felicia tells me “it is important that Wanuskewin is not seen as a museum but as an art gallery.” We discuss Indigenous presence in the area that reaches back as far as six thousand years, and how the culture is not lost with the history. It is alive today, and the artistic work of contemporary artists is a reflection of that. For this reason, Wanuskewin

must not be considered a museum but a space for honoring and continuing the present Indigenous conversation.

My visit to Wanuskewin left me with an increased awareness to my community and home here on the Saskatchewan prairies. It is my hope that more people visit this space not only for the peace it brings the mind and renewal to the soul, but for the knowledge it provides. 

Tara Stadnyk