JANUARY 25, 2016
Based in centres from Fort McMurray (Megan Green) to Lethbridge (Roy Caussy), the artists range from those who have done installations on Rocky Mountain golf courses (Miruna Dragan) to those who have created digital scenes based on their day-job experiences in the Alberta oilsands (Kristopher Karklin).
For the first time ever, the biennial will be preceded by a series of workshops for all the artists, to take place at the Banff Centre in summer 2016. This series, called the Alberta Biennial Sessions, will allow the artists to further develop their artworks and expound upon the exhibition themes.
Here is the complete list of artists to be featured in the 2017 Alberta Biennial:
Ashley Bedet b. Calgary, based in Calgary
Devon Beggs b. Edmonton, based in Edmonton
Andrew Buszchak b. Brantford, Ontario, based in Edmonton
Roy Caussy b. Hamilton, Ontario, based in Lethbridge
Mark Clintberg b. Edmonton, based in Calgary
Gerry Dotto b. Edmonton, based in Sherwood Park
Miruna Dragan b. Bucharest, Romania, based in Calgary
Craig Fahner & Neal Moignard b. Calgary, based in Calgary & b. Adelaide, Australia, based in Calgary
Svea Ferguson b. Calgary, based in Calgary
Megan Green b. St. John’s, Newfoundland, based in Fort McMurray
Tia Halliday b. Calgary, based in Calgary
Tamara LeeAnne Himmelspach b. Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, based in Saddle Lake Cree Nation/Calgary
Kristopher Karklin b. Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, based in Calgary
Taryn Kneteman b. Edmonton, based in Edmonton
Kristopher Lindskoog b. Edmonton, based in Calgary
Jay Mosher b. Red Deer, based in Calgary
Wil Murray b. Calgary, based in Okotoks/ Berlin, Germany
Paul Robert b. Calgary, based in Calgary
Marigold Santos b. Manila, Philippines, based in Calgary/ Montréal
Parker Thiessen b. Beaverlodge, based in Edmonton
Justin Waddell b. Toronto, Ontario, based in Calgary
Nicole Kelly Westman b. Red Deer, based in Calgary
These selections were based on more than 260 applications and 4,500 kilometres of research travel.
The upcoming biennial is based in partnership between the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Banff Centre’s Walter Phillips Gallery—the curators are Kristy Trinier of the AGA and Peta Rake of the Walter Phillips.
The exhibition will exist in two parts and open first in the summer of 2017 at the Walter Phillips Gallery and at the Art Gallery of Alberta on September 22, 2017.
Since its inception in 1996, the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art has served to promote Alberta artists across the country and brings national attention to Alberta’s art scene.
Kristy Trinier curated “Future Station,” the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, while Peta Rake has curated exhibitions at the Oakland Museum of California, the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco and the Esker Foundation in Calgary, among other shows.
Cassette tapes have had a rough go in the past couple of decades, falling from their place as the pinnacle of audio recording to an obsolete media, and their demise was the subject of Parker Thiessen’s latest stop-motion short film Fin d’une époque (End of an Era).
“The concept is basically just a cassette. [It] starts in the grass, crawls up to a four-track recorder, sticks itself in and then starts spitting its guts out and kind of sets itself on fire—sort of finally letting go that it’s an obsolete media,” Thiessen explains over the phone following standing in on CJSR, where he regularly hosts a show called Ruining Radio.
The film won Thiessen The Spirit of FAVA Award, a special jury prize given out at this year’s FAVA Fest and he plans to create a stop-motion sequel that sees the cassette seek its revenge—much like he feels it has in the music industry recently with bands issuing cassette releases alongside digital.
Music happens to be another large portion of Thiessen’s workload, along with a lengthy list of other endeavours such as graphic design, curating the monthly experimental music showcase Ramshackle Day Parade and working as FAVA’s rentals coordinator. In addition to performing as part of the psychedelic bands Krang and Zebra Pulse, Thiessen directs music videos.
“I really like experimental music a lot,” he adds. Thiessen graduated from the design studies diploma program (motion image major) at MacEwan University in 2010 and went on to work as a cameraman at CityTV for three years after graduation. “It tends to lend itself really well to the visual element and it’s already quite abstract, so you’re free to create.”
Thiessen has produced music videos for Born Gold (“Grip”), Eamon McGrath (“Dark End of the Street”) and Wand (“There is a Place”), to name a few and he is currently in the midst of videos for Pizzeria, Jom Comyn and Rhythm of Cruelty. Of course, being a musician himself often helps Thiessen understand and determine what will work for a band and what will not.
“I think you just kind of think, ‘Is this something I would want to do a music video of?’” says Parker, citing Nick Cave as one of his ideal video collaborations for his dark, southern-gothic vibe. “You see the music video from the perspective of a musician instead of the perspective of a filmmaker sometimes … you’re not necessarily thinking as much about having a story or something like that, [you’re] more just thinking about the visuals that go along with that music.”
But Thiessen doesn’t see his varied resumé as anything out of the ordinary in Edmonton’s arts community. It’s rare you’ll meet someone who doesn’t do a multitude of things within the creative sphere and Thiessen says it allows Edmonton to be a city that makes it easy to bring projects to fruition.
“I play in a couple of bands, so doing music videos is kind of a natural transition for me, and I do graphic design, so doing things like album covers and posters and stuff like that. It sort of all revolves around the music aspect, but it all kind of works together really well,” he says, adding parts of the multi-tasking-ethos could be credited to our never-ending winters. “If you’re a creative person you’re kind of forced to come up with things to create. It’s a very DIY city. I know even the people that are kind of higher up—a lot of the bigger bands, bigger graphic designers and bigger filmmakers—are also very approachable and they’ll help you and that kind of thing. Opportunities are everything in the city if you look for them.”
Fin d’une époque (End of an Era): https://vimeo.com/88486744
Music video for Rhythm of Cruelty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DZWQ93Lig4