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