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Painting by Dean Smale

Painting by Dean Smale

In this issue of Art Exposure I will be talking about Dean Smale – a Medicine Hat based musician, artist, and teacher for the Visual Communications course at the Medicine Hat College.

Dean is undoubtedly an amazing painter. His paintings are highly realistic, going so far as to depict the flow of blood under the papery skin of an elderly subject in some cases. They say that you cannot paint every leaf on a tree, but Dean only takes that statement as a challenge. Many of the subjects of his paintings are rendered in the nude, or are elderly, but in many cases both. His painting style involves building up textures, light, and shadows by using many layers of paint: undoubtedly a lengthy process.

In Dean’s paintings only by peering deep into his work can all the connections be made. For instance, in the portrait to the side, the woman’s earrings are hourglasses that have run out; a symbol of her age.

His illustrations are often amusing, but if you lack a modern or youthful sense of humour, they will just seem very perverse. Similar to his paintings close observation of Dean’s illustrations is required to see what is going on, since body parts can be so easily disguised.

His exhibits can often be seen in Medicine Hat, but are frequently in cities such as Edmonton and Calgary. Dean’s work has  even be seen in American galleries.

As a teacher, Dean encourages his students to produce good work at any cost. In one instance he went so far as to tell me that I should quit my job and rob a bank, all in an effort to spend more time creating art. I am pretty sure he was joking… or was he?

In addition to visual arts, Dean is also an accomplished guitarist. It is not unusual to see him perform at Visual Communications art shows. I have heard his style of playing described as “Way the f- out there! I don’t even know what to call it!”

Check out the galleries after the jump:

THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »

The Chicken Angel, oil on panel, 2009, 122 x 122 cm

The Chicken Angel, oil on panel, 2009, 122 x 122 cm

Already mentioned a lot on this site is this week’s art exposure topic: Maureen Newton.

Maureen Newton, owner of Inspire Studio & Gallery, was born and raised in Medicine Hat. If you have seen her talk at all, usually at one of her receptions, she usually tells bits and pieces of growing up and how art took a part in her life very early on and stuck there all throughout her life. She started her art education watching her father, who was also an artist. She spent many hours watching him drawing and painting.

Although she is quite focused on oil painting as seen by her latest reception, “This is for the Birds” which ran at the Esplanade during Alberta Art Days she actually originally received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge in 1986 majoring in printmaking as well as painting. Her artwork has been displayed locally at the Cultural Centre Gallery and nationally in Vancouver, Kingston, and Toronto. You can also spot some of her work in the Medicine Hat College Vera Bracken Library.

Inspire Studio & Gallery acts as a place to showcase her work as well as many other local artist’s works. It also doubles as her work space where she paints and creates her art.

The Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre is pleased to announce that the artists’ proposals for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts competition for the commission of a public work of art are on display until January 28th.

On Alberta Arts Day, September 6th, 2008, the Honourable Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, announced a partnership between the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) and the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre to commission a work of art in Medicine Hat. The partnership was accepted on behalf of the City of Medicine Hat by Mayor Norm Boucher.

The AFA collection committee has approved a three-year grant totaling $150,000 in support of this commission. The work of art will be part of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts collection but will be located as a long-term installation in front of the north face of the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. The commissioned artwork will be for the enjoyment of the downtown community, the Medicine Hat public and visitors alike.

Five well-established, professional artists from across Alberta were selected, in consultation with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts staff, to submit proposals for this commission. THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »

James Marshall in action

James Marshall in action

Unless you are a complete shut-in, everyone in Medicine Hat should be familiar with the elaborate brick murals that are scattered across the city. From the downtown Dairy Queen to Herald School to City Hall, James Marshall’s impressive artwork has been thrilling the eyes since the early 1980s.

Marshall was born and raised in the Hat, and his family has lived here since the 1800s. With a love of art that developed during childhood with the help of his father and school art teachers, Marshall became one of the most prominent artistic forces Southern Alberta has to offer. But before he began sculpting brick, James was most well known for his pen and ink drawings of Albertan historical sites. After starting Grassroots Studios with his wife, Lorine, the couple were commissioned to create pottery, small sculpture, and historical drawings. Thanks to the Saamis Rotary Club Marshall had the chance to create his first brick mural, “Saamis the Legend”. After being commissioned for a mural in Ontario, Marshall was recognized in an architectural magazine allowing his career to skyrocket: the rest is history.

The physical exertion of creating murals has forced Marshall to slow down, but he continues to be involved in the community by raising awareness of the historical wealth of this area. His efforts to save the numerous historical sites Medicine Hat has to offer will ensure that his impact on this community will last as long as the murals he has created.

Photo from The Designer Toy Store

Photo from The Designer Toy Store

Although I wasn’t initially familiar with the name “Frank Kozik”, the mustachioed rabbits, er labbits, that have been appearing around town did seem familiar. Around a year ago I was introduced to Kozik’s work through some of the design sites that I visit on a daily basis, but forgot about the showcase of his work, which included his labbits. Thanks to a Medicine Hat Media commentator we now know that the rabbits that were appearing around town were not your average rabbits, they were labbits by Frank Kozik.

Frank Kozik is not a Canadian, and possibly has never even been to the Hat, let alone Alberta. So I’m kind of breaking the mold a little bit here by doing a non-Alberta/Medicine Hat related Art Exposure edition. But a fan of his work lives in this city, and out of whatever motivation spray paints his iconic labbits around town. Why? Boredom? The thrill? Either way, I like it because it is a form of expression different from the typical gang-graffiti that loses itself in its esoteric representation – the labbits, on the other hand, represent something visual and iconic. But let me backtrack a little bit: I am not condoning graffiti in any way, shape, or form. All that I am saying is that I see more merit in this type of graffiti than the standard swear word/gang signature. It is still vandalism and will still get removed, there’s no way around that.

Click here to check our previous “Rabbits with Moustaches” post

Like Mother: Like Daughter

'Peacock' graphite on paper 24"x34" by Levi Gogolinski

Like Mother: Like Daughter is an upcoming art reception being hosted at Inspire Studio & Gallery. It’s taking place this Friday, November 20th, 2009 and will start at 7PM. Chances are if you are into the Medicine Hat art scene, you already know where Inspire Studio & Gallery is, but if you don’t it’s located downtown at 659 2nd Street S.E. on the second floor of the building.

The event will feature artwork from Melissa and Levi Gogolinski. Even though the title suggests a likeness between the two, there is quite a contrast between Melissa’s and Levi’s artwork. The event is taking place in conjunction with Framing & Art Centre and Sandfly Gallery & Gifts “Christmas Art Reception”. People are encouraged to walk from location to location and enjoy the art. Entertainment, refreshments, and food will also provided.

Facebook Event

Call 403-580-1808 or email for more information.

Fall 2009 Classes

Fall 2009 Classes

Art classes for kids are beggining this week(end) at the Inspire Studio & Gallery and there are still spots available. The following programs are available on Saturdays:

  • Art Inspirations for 4-6 year olds – 1PM-2PM
  • Drawing and Painting Dragons and Mythical Creatures for 7-12 year olds – 10AM-11:30AM

Both classes are being taught by Stephanie Della-Longa, an accomplished local artist, and graduate of the Medicine Hat College’s Visual Communications program. On Fridays, there will also be another class entitled Art for Teens for 13+ year olds with Candice Arnold from 6PM-7:30PM. The classes last for 8 weeks and the prices include all supplies.

For more information, visit the Inspire Studio & Gallery classes page or contact Maureen Newton, the owner and coordinator of Inspire, at 403-580-1808. While you are at it, you can also join the Inspire Studio & Gallery Facebook group (there’s lots of information about the classes there).

Alberta Arts Days Poster

Alberta Arts Days Poster

Alberta Arts Days is the celebration of art in many forms all across Alberta. From September 18th – 20th there are over 500 events in 100 different communities. Medicine Hat has been chosen to be a focal point for many of the events in Southern Alberta.

Don’t forget, the reception for Maureen Newton’s “This is for the Birds” art show is Thursday September 17th (today) at 7:00pm. Reception is free of charge! The show started August 22nd and will run up until Sunday, October 11th, 2009 – so if you miss the reception, you still have time. It’s definitely worth checking out and events at the Esplanade on the 19th are FREE.

You can visit for more details, they also have a Facebook group where other places are advertising how each community is celebrating. Even though I’ll be doing some work at the Esplanade for the Artisans Fair, I might just go over to the Tyrrell Museum and check out what’s going on over there this weekend. For a full (huge) listing of events and the details, go to the event listing page for Medicine Hat.

Here’s a listing of some of what is going on: THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »

With the recently implemented Medicine Hat Media option of using a Web-based feed, I want to mention a feed that I set up a month or so ago to allow listening to hour-long CBC Radio 2 Podcasts of mainly Canadian talent. You may also download the MP3 file directly to your computer from the feed as well.

One that I would like to mention is the podcast on October 7th, 2008 that features the famous Country artist, Corb Lund of Taber.

Alberta Health Services wants to move Medicine Hat’s Ambulance Dispatch to Calgary. City Council and many hatters believe this is a terrible idea and another snub on our region. A petition on this issue has been created to have AHS re-think their decision.

If we can get a decent amount of signatures on the petition, city council will present this petition to the province. Click here to sign the petition!

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