Upon us is a time of turkey feasting dinners, pumpkin pies and candy intended for costumed children- which can result in an undesired increase in your waistline. The only solution is to satisfy your cravings for pleasure with something calorie-free and active. The perfect plan: fat-burning strolls through art galleries and bookstores to fill your mind with artistic goodies. Just steer clear of the free wine and cheese.
The University of Calgary's own art gallery, the Nickel Arts Museum will be fortunate enough to host the show "The Regina Five Years" by Ted Godwin this month. This respected artist taught at the University of Regina and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his important contributions to Canadian art and was part of a North American avant-garde movement. The show focuses on works created during a dynamic time in the '60s when Godwin worked with a group of artists, the Regina Five. At the time of the works, this Calgary-born artist was hit with an explosive need to try new ideas and push his own boundaries and those of society.
An event that also prides itself on being cutting edge and unexpected is the Mountain Standard Time festival, a biennial event that brings together over 30 artists in a variety of exhibitions, discussion and workshops. You can check out the opening reception of "Art Snob Solution Phase 2: The Age of Mechanical Reproduction" tomorrow night, featuring the Cedar Tavern Singers from Lethbridge. It exhibits a gamut of works, including videos and objects that "evoke a love for and a satirizing of both the ambitions of Modern Art History and the DIY ethos of folk and lo-fi indie music." The show starts at 8 p.m. at Stride Gallery, 1004 MacLeod Trail SE.
On the thought of festivals, it doesn't get much bigger than this for literary arts: WordFest, the International Writers Festival, is running Oct 14–19. The festival's mandate is to enhance quality of life by having literary events that are accessible and populist to all age groups. In other words, even the average Joe can get some literary love. Last year, over 12,000 people participated in the event that has hosted well-known writers such as Margaret Atwood and Timothy Findley. One of the 65 events is the Poetry Bash, a WordFest favourite. See it Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. at Vertigo Theatre.
An art exhibit with enough attention to stand on its own is the unique and quirky "The Art of Dr. Seuss Retrospective Art Tour" at ARTEVO Galleries 514-11th Ave. SW. It's getting a lot of attention because rumours have surfaced that Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, had an extensive secret collection of mature works created for his own pleasure. The works, including nudes that have been shown to select people, are less erotic than we may have hoped. Critics say they have maintained their true whimsical Seuss nature. Nonetheless, this may entice you to see the show, featuring over 200 images, in a whole new light.
If you are hesitant to the whole concept of visiting different venues, or perhaps you don't need to watch your girlish figure, you can shelter yourself from the harsh winds at Art Central, the all-in-one arts complex in downtown, on 1st St. and 7th Ave SE. This art hub has a cafe with espressos that could impress even the snootiest of coffee snobs, a diner inspired restaurant and dozens of galleries, studios and shops. Among them are three that are sure to please.
If you are a fan of environmentally friendly art, Darcy Lundgen at Da.De Gallery has your fix. This stylish guy shreds junk mail and magazines to create texture for his canvases and then covers them in green friendly paint, creating abstract designs. Lundgen considers his art progressive for Calgary's taste.
"I feel like we are on the verge of something new and different," he says. "People are becoming more open to trying different things, but there is still a large conservative feel."
Lundgen is a multi-talented artist, making blueprints for home designs, interior design and fashion. He's now working on a chandelier sculptural piece integrating used Evian glass water bottles designed by Christain Lacroix. You can stop by to see the artist in action, working at the gallery, but be prepared.
"It's a total mess in here," he says. "I always work on the floor."
However, if you would rather go to an art opening, visit Keystone Gallery on Oct. 15 to see Mychael Barrett's new show. His work is assured to be a crowd pleaser.
"The U of C people might like his work, especially those in the english department," says director Daniel Lindley."
Some of the works make reference to well known artists such as Shakespeare, Monet, Russo and David in a cartoon style. One of his works, "Love Over London," has even been featured in Galleries West Magazine.
Another artist at the complex that works in a cartoon style is Chris Peterson at the Nation Gallery. His current show, inspired by a trip to Paris, contains acrylic works of masquerades, quirky characters and his own outings. He hunts down antique frames to showcase his works and uses saturated colours and iconic symbols to evoke the feel of authentic Paris.
Finally, don't forget that Art Central is alive with musicians, gallery openings, events and lots of free food on ever first Thursday of the month.
If all that doesn't keep your waistline trim, you may just have to hit the gym (gasp!).