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New Casa exhibits explore Alberta

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Local artists explore Alberta during new exhibits opening at Casa, April 28.Jana MacKenzie shows her Milliennium Falcon hand stitch. Photo by Richard Amery
 But first, as you enter the building, Abed  Mouslli has and a exhibit “Alberta Muslims” in the concourse gallery.


 Upstairs, Eric Dyck, creator of the Slaughterhouse Slough comic, has an exhibition of work inspired by his visits to numerous small towns and farmer’s markets called “The Great Slough Heap.”
“ I went to a lot of small towns and met people and interacted with them. So this exhibition is  driven by the conversations  I had with them,” he said.


 The 30 pieces feature caricatures of some of the people he met with speech bubbles including some of the phrases  he heard, though the person in the picture may not have actually said the words.
“ A lot of times I’d be talking to somebody and half way through the drawing, they’d leave and somebody else would start talking to me. The speech was the most important part of it,” he said, adding it often took a couple of visits before people would approach him.
“I had to do a lot of trust building with people. At first I’d be the weird guy drawing in the corner . Then I’d be back the next week and they’d  recognize me and engage me,” he said.
 He visited a lot of small town farmer’s markets between July and November 2017 in Blairmore, Taber, Bow Island, Pincher Creek, and, of course, Lethbridge to name a few.
 Word spread quickly on social media.
“ I had people almost saying they knew the person on social media, almost before I was done the drawing,” he observed.


 “The Great Slough Hop is in the upper Concourse of Casa.”
There is a fascinating take on landscapes in one half of the main gallery downstairs from local artist Rob Miller.

“Township and Range: Alberta’s Crossroads.
Miller travelled across Alberta following country range road and township maps and created landscapes based on those co-ordinates.
“He was interested by domain land survey and  grid maps of  went to those places based on the coordinates and painted what he saw,” summarized Casa curator Darcy Logan, adding there are no titles to the pieces, only the co-ordinates, though there are some familiar scenes from the Waterton area and even the rusty old mailboxes off of 67the Ave north in Lethbridge.

 


Most people know Jana MacKenzie as the artistic director of the South Country Fair, but not many people know she is also a textile artist.

 “It‘s always been a private thing for me. It doesn’t often come up in conversation,” said McKenzie, whose studies at the university of Lethbridge  inspired her first Casa exhibit “Fabricated Histories.”

She had an exhibition at the Bowman Art Gallery in 2010.Eric Dyck sets up The Great Slough hop. Photo by Richard Amery


“ I already hand stitch when I’m watching TV or listening to music because I want to keep my hands busy and before I knew it, I had10 to 20 of them and it was  enough for an exhibition,” she said adding some of the more interesting aspects of her classes inspired  the works.
“ A lot of it is inspired by geography because that’s what I’m studying,” she said, noting a map of Canada may not  be immediately recognizable as such because it is inspired by power grids.

 One of her earliest works is on display as well.


“ I also have a Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, which is inspired by Haynes car manuals,” she said.
“The text is just as important as the works themselves,” she said, adding that explains the details of what each piece represents.
The opening reception for the exhibits is at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 28.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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