July 22 – September 3, 2022
The Main Gallery
Affirming and Transforming
Contemporary visual arts community in Calgary is a pluralistic phenomenon, identifiable by the rich diversity of artistic styles, individual goals, and innovative studio practices. The Calgary-based Group 9 is indicative of the stylistic and conceptual pluralism in the visual arts milieu of this city. Since its inception in October 2016, Group 9 has evolved and matured under its guiding principles of Unity in Diversity/Diversity in Unity: united in the belief in the Group artistic activities and diverse in background, age, and practice. There is an evolving dynamism evident.
The Group 9 was formed by nine Calgary-based artists with the intention to provide the forum for artistic, conceptual, and philosophical debates on the current state of contemporary visual culture in Canada and around the globe, and to visually articulate and address their concerns through series of regular art exhibitions and publication projects. After six successful exhibitions in public and commercial art galleries in Western Canada, the Group is proud of its accomplishments and looks forward to opportunities for exhibiting nationally and internationally.
Following the difficult period of restricted public access during the Covid-19 pandemic, Group 9 has adopted a positive outlook and has worked toward a vision entitled “Affirming and Transforming”. This exhibition displays works reflecting the results of resilience and fortitude with a vision of affirming the role of the visual arts in our changing society. The Group believes that art is an essential part of all learning, that it is an expression of humanity transforming a world of wonder coupled with challenge. The Group is an interaction in diversity, intensely curious about the world in which we find ourselves today. The members are molded by their unique experiences and individuality, and collectively strive to understand the function of art within today’s world.
The exhibition “Group 9: Affirming and Transforming” is not intended as a comprehensive academic analysis of artmaking in Calgary. It rather offers a quick snapshot of studio trends in Calgary and celebrates the distinctive vision and conceptual direction of each exhibiting artist. The impressive roster of work ranges from the colour-field abstract paintings of Seka Owen and Almut Dale, through lyrical abstraction of Cindy Delpart, gestural abstraction of Gregory Pyra, to the post-Structuralist compositions of David Harrison. These works are strategically balanced with the metaphoric works by Jean Pederson (paintings and drawings), Aaron Sidorenko (painting) and Cameron Roberts (sculpture), and the landscape-based, semi-abstract compositions of Susan Kristoferson.
The exhibition embraces the rich philosophical and conceptual diversity in a collection of over 30 works by nine Calgary-based visual artists and art educators. These exemplary works, alluding to basic truth, draw from human experiences which are condensed into fundamental visual metaphors and signs. Their works – in all their richness and diversity – serve not only to reflect stylistic and formalistic trends and directions in the Calgary’s visual arts milieu and the region, but also allow the artists the opportunity to add their voices to a larger discourse, namely that of major international trends.
Asta was born in Germany and had her primary and secondary schooling during and after the Second World War. She lived 8 years in London, England and moved to Calgary in 1966. She studied at Alberta College of Art with a completion of a Diploma in Fine Arts in 1982 and continued at the University of Calgary with a BFA in 1989.
All my works are based on philosophical thoughts, life experiences and the environment. The intension is an exploration of form and colour in an intuitive and fluid manner. Compassion and love is red and presents goodness, satisfaction, determination and courage. Yellow is the colour of transformation that creates a sense of luminosity and spirituality. Bright colours create a positive emotion and this affirmation is a very important part in my work. In some works I added text to emphasize a point.
Cindy Delpart was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1954. She studied Graphic Design in Toronto, Ontario and in 1978 settled in Calgary. Over the years she attended part-time studies at Alberta College of Art and Design, as well as, numerous workshops and residencies at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan and Taos, New Mexico. Delpart has participated in numerous solo and group shows in both Canada and the Unites States. In addition to Alberta Foundations for the Arts her work can be found in many private and corporate collections, including: Cenovus Energy, Conoco Phillips, UFA Co-op, Encana and Pason Systems. Delpart is represented at Masters Gallery in Calgary.
Abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell believed artists present their own feelings and emotions directly on the canvas. For me, abstract expressionism is all about conveying to canvas the power and passion of my inner self, energized by my response to the prairie landscape. Painting in its best moments takes me from the physical world to a place of personal imagination and introspection.
David worked as an art educator in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada and has been a sessional instructor at both the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge.
An active member of both the Alberta Society of Artists and the Society of Canadian Artists, David has been successful in having work accepted into national and international juried exhibition as well as juried provincial traveling exhibitions. He has won national awards for his work. He attended two Emma Lake workshops.
David works with ‘alien material’ in the form of deteriorating urban graffiti. His work with newly harvested materials uses subtle colours and textures in reorganizing and preparing them into complex geometric matrices which redefine abstraction and engage the viewer without recognizable external reference. His work which has been described by critics as “intellectually stimulating, conceptually complex, and meditative. It has an impressive and rigorously experimental style”.
Susan Kristoferson specializes in surface design processes on paper such as itajime (Japanese fold, clamp, and dye) and hand painted “paste papers”. Her work has been in nearly 200 exhibitions across North and South America, Japan, and South Korea. She lives and works in Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada.
Susan earned a BFA from the University of Texas and an MFA in Fibre Arts from Indiana University. A professional artist since 1975, she has been a school art teacher, an art professor at Miami University in Ohio, a sessional instructor at universities in Oregon, and the Head of Fibre and Paper Arts at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in Portland. She now occasionally teaches adult workshops and as an artist in residence in schools. Susan is inspired by the long distance view from her home and creates unique landscape “paintings” and abstract images using the papers she has made, painted, dyed and collected during the past 40 years.
Seka Owen, RCA has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, as well as internationally. Her works are found in numerous private and corporate collections across Canada and abroad.
In 1977, Seka received a BFA from the University of Alberta, Canada . She has received numerous scholarships and grants.
In 2005, she was inducted into The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts for her outstanding artistic achievements in the visual arts.
In 2016, Seka was instrumental in forming Group Nine(G9) and its’ foundation.
In the process of my work I need to possess a keen sense of my own direction and identity.
For me, painting is the essence of the things which I have seen, experienced and learned. In other words, it is the interpretation of my inner world which my senses have transmitted to me and my subconscious memory has retained.
To paint a picture is an exploratory extension of my own observations and interest in the world.
Jean Pederson is an accomplished and innovative artist, author and educator working in watercolour, acrylic and mixed media. Layering her mediums and obscuring portions of subsequent layers has been a foundation to her painting process. Jeans subjects may vary. The core of each painting begins with an idea that is then interpreted through layers of paint, collage and mark making.
Her work has been featured in many periodicals and she has authored two instructional books. Jean has also contributed to several of the “Splash” series and other books, and contributed as a guest blogger for the Artist Network.
Ms. Pederson has received numerous awards nationally and internationally, her work is included in the Royal Collection in Windsor, England and the International Watercolour Museum in Fabriano, Italy. Most recently, Jean was awarded The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canada Council of the Arts.
Greg Pyra, (born 1957) obtained a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and an MFA from the University of Calgary. He has taught art at the Universities of Guelph, Waterloo, and Victoria and at several public schools.
He lived for three years in Cologne, West Germany in the 80’s during the height of the cold war. Pyra has exhibited his paintings both nationally and internationally in a career that has spanned more than forty years.
My paintings explore the life of the inner self. Change and transition have become the focus of my paintings because they are unceasing both within and without (as universal qualities). The rotation in my works is perhaps related to the earth’s daily rotation while our home planet continues its orbital rotation around the sun. These magnificent elements of existence are also an expression of energy in transition.
Roberts is a Calgary based artist born in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a figurative artist and is known for his diversity across a multitude of mediums. “Learning to portray the human form complete with beauty, character, emotion, sensuality and all the qualities that bring us together in our relating to one another, is a true challenge, one that takes a lifetime to learn”. The figure, with its many moods and dynamic forms of expression will always be a source of inspiration to his artistic vision. Roberts work is influenced by and is reminiscent of the Renaissance masters and has been referred to as, “Renaissance Contemporary”. His works exhibit masterful mark making and sensitivity.
Roberts is a great believer and champion of, the gift and the power of creativity. The gift of creativity does not reside within the works you create, it resides within you so that you may discover the truth and nature of “Self”.
Aaron Sidorenko is a painter living and working in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He works with pigments within a variety of binders – gum arabic, silicon, acrylic, encaustic and walnut oil, to name a few.
Sidorenko is personally exploring effects that help transit a spectrum of mood in dealing with portraiture and figuration as the central subject.
Top Image: Group 9 Logo