November is that unfortunate month stuck somewhere between Halloween and Christmas, like an awkward teenager, not knowing who they really are. If that's how you're feeling, you're in luck! Calgary's art scene this month knows it's so awesome and its confidence will overwhelm you. Visit all the events and you'll know the meaning of life before Christmas.
One unmissable stop on your trek of self discovery is the Glenbow Museum's "Through the Looking Glass," before it closes Nov. 16. It is curated by the Glenbow's President and CEO, Jeff Spalding. Inspired by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, visitors are promised a warped sense of time and space as they journey through the exhibit.
In conjunction with the show, Dennis Oppenheim's controversial piece, "Device to Root out Evil" is being showcased offsite. It is a sculpture of an upside down church on loan from Vancouver's Benefic Foundation. Come see it located in Calgary's creative community of Ramsay, at 24th Ave. and Spiller Rd. S.E.
"Portrait of the Artist," also at the Glenbow, has a very Facebook network feel to it. Featured is Sarah Jane Holtom, with "One Hundred Portraits of Calgary Artists," who painted quick oil sketches of 100 artists in three months in 2006. Holtom selected the first three sitters, each of whom picked three more artists, and so on. The work provokes consideration of the community and intricate web of relationships of a particular time and place and the uniqueness of each individual.
If you are keen to see the products of the soul searching of your fellow peers and instructors, the Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary's own art gallery, will be presenting "The Annual Department of Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition" starting Nov. 21.
Speaking of finding yourself, Eric Louie, at his self-named studio in Art Central, 100 Seventh Ave. S.W., has been experimenting with a new phase in his oil paintings. Many of his previous works captured realistic scenes of city life like people in train stations, night clubs and bars, on large imposing canvases. Recently, the ACAD graduate has been finding inspiration through his grandfather, a Second World War veteran. The new paintings show fighter planes from WWII on backdrops of whimsical skies. Louie, who generated the series of works in only a month and half, sees the new pieces as a development.
"The series is a work in progress," he says. "Its intensity distracts you from the subject matter."
Louie's work has the ability to reflect today's impression of conflict just as well as that of our grandparents'.
"It manifests our sensation of war: confusion, intensity, abstract conceptually and physically," he says.
The planes, toy-like in appearance and size include the Enola Gay B-29, the very plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
"It's symbolic of ending of war, change, detente," he explains. "It's a horrible symbol, but it's interesting."
If you are in need of drinking away your war woes, hit up the free wine and cheese at TRUCK contemporary art gallery. This cool place is in the lower level of one of Calgary's most historic buildings, the Grain Exchange Building at 815 First St. S.W. They're opening "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly," featuring John Will, Richard Smolinski and Kris Lindskoog. The opening reception is this Friday at 8 p.m.
Another great opening is happening Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Triangle Gallery on 104, 800 Macleod Trail S.E. The show, called "Looking Ahead: 20th Anniversary of the Artists' Circle of Calgary," pays tribute to the artists that donated to the gallery two decades ago, putting it on its feet. Today there is a new group of initiates in the circle that help keep the gallery going and juxtapose with the older artists to reflect the evolution of contemporary art in Calgary and western Canada.
In the meantime, you can partake in one of two exciting literary events happening tonight. For artists who seek to find themselves through their own writing, the Alexandra Writers' Society offers an exciting opportunity to workshop your work with published authors. It's happening at 6:30 p.m. at Arts on Atlantic Gallery, 1312A Ninth Ave. S.E. and costs $5.
For those who prefer taking a laid back approach to their art education, "Landing at Night" is featuring Deborah Miller as she reads from her latest poetry collection at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Calgary Public Library by Olympic Plaza. The event is free.
If you can't make this poetry reading, take note that Tubby Dog 1022 17th Ave. S.W. has poets read their works on the first Tuesday of the every month. The next one will be Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.
And finally, if you still haven't found the importance of your being after all these events, maybe you just need some good old fashioned star gazing. The cosmos are the oldest form of art we appreciate, created by Mother Nature herself. Every Friday, the Telus World of Science invites the public for some free viewing from their observatory at 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. You may be taken over with such great awe of the insignificance of your existence you'll forget you were looking for it in the first place. And isn't that all we can truly ask for of art, anyway?