(updated July 2016)
Visual Arts Alberta Gallery SCHEDULE (July 2016 – fall 2016)
June 10 – August 20, 2016
CATTLE CALL: both galleries
An Art Gallery of Alberta Travelling Exhibition (TREX) supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts featuring artwork from the collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
August 31 – November 26, 2016
ART + ACTIVISM: both galleries (Mary Joyce, Paula Kirman and Juan Lopezdabdoub)
by Chris W. Carson
Think of Goya’s The Third of May 1808, Picasso’s Guernica and the iconic photograph of the girl running from a napalm attack by Huynh Cong Ut of the Associated Press. Think of how these images changed all of us. The ideas presented in these political artworks can transform people that view them and it is people, as individuals and collectively, that modify the society.
ART + ACTIVISM features the artwork of three Edmonton based artists: Mary Joyce, Paula Kirman and Juan Lopezdabdoub. All three artists are political and make art to change people’s lives. All three artists accept that there is a social responsibility in being an artist and that responsibility is of paramount importance – there is no frivolous subject matter here. Instead, the works created by these artists are about ideas and in the words of Mary Joyce, “ideas influence people and artists are well trained to communicate.”
Both Mary Joyce and Paula Kirman deal with the Art of Protest. With her camera, Kirman captures fleeting moments of people coming together for a cause. Kirman makes a conscious choice to document events that give voice to her own values, so she focuses her camera on issues (peace, the environment and human rights) that are progressive and where there is potential to change the world around us for the better. For Kirman, “protest is an outlet for art” with theatrics mixed with media spectacle. By photographing these staged events, Kirman is making her art out of the art of the protest.
With the tools of a labourer, Mary Joyce commemorates protest marches showing the courage and self-sacrifice of individuals coming together for a cause. Joyce refuses to show horror. Joyce views this period in our history (the new millennium) as one of the dirtiest. She does not want to depict the evil but rather focuses on “the fight against evil.” Joyce firmly believes that “paintings need to be seen.” By bringing these paintings out of the closet, “art will change people.”
Of the three artists, perhaps Juan Lopezdabdoub is the most narrative and didactic in his approach to artmaking. In his artist statement, Lopezdabdoub states clearly that his art is about “the impact of imperialistic politics on people’s lives.” Lopezdabdoub uses art historical references creating paintings with stories about imperialistic policies, the ludicrous nature of bureaucracy and cultural dislocation. Lopezdabdoub creates art to highlight the injustices that he sees around him.
For Joyce, Kirman and Lopezdabdoub, political art needs to be seen and experienced. That age old phrase “you shouldn’t talk about religion and politics,” simply does not apply to those artists that want to change our world for the better.
DECEMBER 2016 – 2017
Visual Arts Alberta- CARFAC is planning to move sometimes after December 2016, so there are no long term planned activities scheduled for the Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC Project Space.