June 25, 2009

Winnipeg Work - art shown in Edmonton

Showing at the McMullen Gallery in Edmonton from April through June this year, I contributed three pieces to the Articulation show on "Urban Textures" inspired by our study session back in 2006 to the city in the centre of Canada (horizontally at least!)

One piece, called "Motif de Fleur" as a nod to the French settlers, is based upon the Bas Relief flowers that decorated the outer walls of the stately banks where, in early 1900 Winnipeg, twenty banks once lined Main Street.

This art has been hand and machine stitched upon archival tissue paper; coloured with chalk and oil pastels; then tea dyed to age the finished piece. Golds of different types and colours were then added as a final gilding.

Another piece is inspired by the immigrants who came to Canada at the turn of the century. Called "Gateway To The West" it tells the story of European immigrants who sailed to Canada landing in either Halifax or Montreal, boarded trains for Winnipeg, then spent time there accumulating household goods before heading out in wagons to their new lives on Government issued homesteads on the Canadian Prairies. Winnipeg truly was the gateway to the west for them.

My family was among these in the 1890s. Both my mother's and father's families moved from the same small village on the Austria/Ukraine border to a small town in central Alberta. This piece shows statistics of the different cultures who were coming west. Squares are hand painted and stamped reminiscent of the plowed fields; the saying "Come to Canada, the land of your future" is written out in various languages that would have been used in Europe to promote immigration; and the names of countries who sent the most settlers are scattered throughout.

My third piece shows the different types of lilies that can be cultivated in Winnipeg's prairie climate. The many different gardens in Assiniboine Park shows locals and visitors to the city the vast range of flowers that can be grown in their global temperate zone.

Again this piece is done on tissue paper, machine stitched, hand coloured, with borders of stitched, melted felt.

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