Medicine Hat Media

Art Everywhere Downtown This Friday!

The Esplanade Art Gallery is pleased to present two new exhibitions, Campbell Tinning: The Newfoundland Paintings and Landwash: Contemporary Newfoundland Art, on display until August 11. The opening reception on Friday, June 15, 2012 from 7 PM to 10 PM is part of the first Downtown Art Walk Roving Art Reception of the year.

Also, on Friday at 7 PM, the City’s Public Art Committee invites all to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the public art commission Reka (River) by Jess Riva Cooper and Rob MacInnis at Batus Park, on Second Street SE.

Campbell Tinning: The Newfoundland PaintingsCampbell Tinning: The Newfoundland Paintings

Campbell Tinning was born in Saskatoon, in 1910. After studying art in Regina and New York, in 1941 he joined the Canadian Army Reserves and became a War Artist in the Historical Section of the Canadian Army. Just prior to being sent overseas, his first Army assignment was to record the east coast defenses, and in late 1943, he was sent to St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was so impressed by this brief visit that he wrote in his diary that he wanted to return and paint there in peacetime – and indeed he did, in 1949, following his service in Italy in 1944-45 as War Artist. Thirteen large watercolours in this exhibition were produced by Tinning during that summer of 1949, painted at Port aux Basques in July, and at Port de Grave in August and September. Tinning settled in Montreal after the war, and exhibited widely in North America in both solo and group exhibitions, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Mendel Art Gallery. Posthumously, his work was included in the national touring exhibition Canvas of War: Masterpieces from the Canadian War Museum. Esplanade Art Curator Joanne Marion comments, “These are strikingly bold paintings that impress visitors – 63 years after being painted – with the rugged beauty of Newfoundland.” This exhibition was curated by Heather Smith, and its tour organized by the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery.

Landwash: Contemporary Newfoundland ArtLandwash: Contemporary Newfoundland Art

Jordan Bennett | David Blackwood | Will Gill | Growing Up, Up in Cove Collective

Christine Koch | The Shed Collective

“This group exhibition brings in an eclectic body of contemporary art from Newfoundland, all of which was chosen for its stirring reflections on Newfoundland’s distinctive heritage,” notes Esplanade Curator of Art Joanne Marion. Etchings by one of Newfoundland’s most famous artists, David Blackwood, conjure a starkly dramatic vision of a people characterized by risking life and limb to wrestle a living from an often cruelly beautiful ocean. Alberta native and long-time Newfoundlander Christine Koch’s Bonne Bay Nocturnes likewise paint mysterious and glorious views of the landwash, but with a more entranced eye. The Abbie Table Project collective (Growing Up, Up in Cove) is headed by performer, writer and comedian of TV’s CodCo fame Andy Jones, with artist Peter Brecken, and is an engaging and colourful illustration of the life and times of Abbie Ellis Whiffen and his family in the salt fishery of the 1920s to 1950s. The Dark Night of the Ugly Stick features one of Newfoundland’s most distinctive buildings, the ‘shed,’ and a moving animation of a solitary fisherman within. Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett’s sculpture and paintings vividly convey the creative intersection of contemporary life with his Mi’kmaq heritage, and Will Gill’s two video works, Cape Spear and Firefly, show magical light animating the distinctive land and sea of Newfoundland.

Reka (River)Reka (River)

In early 2011, the City of Medicine Hat’s Public Art Committee made an open call for proposals for a public art work in downtown Medicine Hat. The winning submission received a commission to cover all costs, from fabrication to installation, of the public work of art to be situated on 2nd Street SE, between South Railway Street SE and 5 Avenue SE. This area of the downtown has been identified as Medicine Hat’s Entertainment District in the City’s plan to revitalize downtown Medicine Hat. The artwork selected was the result of a recommendation from the Arts & Heritage Advisory Board to City Council as presented by the Public Art Committee.

The proposal selected was Reka (River), by Canadian artists Jess Riva Cooper and Rob MacInnis.  “Our initial inspiration occurred while flying into Medicine Hat. We saw the South Saskatchewan River elegantly curving and dissecting a landscape of emerald green circles. These circles are created by pivot irrigation, used on many farms throughout Alberta to irrigate crops,” say artists Cooper and MacInnis. Reka incorporates both functional and artistic elements by integrating bicycle racks and pedestrian seating. Fabrication of Reka has taken place entirely in Medicine Hat, and after more than a year of preparation and a month of installation, Reka will be ready on Friday for its official unveiling.

Join us at Batus Park, south entrance on 2nd St. SE for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of REKA on Friday June 15 at 7 PM, to kick off the Downtown Art Walk Roving Art Reception.

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