Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artwork of the Week!

Week 8:

Nikola Bjelajac (1919-2006)
Kennedy Street

Milwaukee born Nikola Bjelajac is most recognized for his teaching contributions. He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in Art Education from the Milwaukee State Teachers’ College and the University of Wisconsin respectively. After completing his studies, Bjelajac immigrated to Canada where he taught drawing and painting at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and at the Banff school of Fine Arts. In 1964, Bjelajac and fellow artist Steve Repa founded the Forum Art Institute in Winnipeg, a not-for-profit art school that continues to operate today. Although Bjelajac spent most of his time teaching, he pursued his artistic work during summer months. The University of Winnipeg owns three watercolours by Bjelajac, the medium in which he excelled. All three images, including Kennedy Street, are studies of urban architecture and their vibrant colour schemes and expressive brush strokes signal the activity of the city. In Kennedy Street, one distinct architectural element is certainly recognizable: the dome of Manitoba’s Legislature is visible beyond the apartment buildings in the foreground.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



Check out the new sculpture by David Perrett on Ellice, created as a public art project for the University of Winnipeg Gateway and Transit project.

David Perrett, 2010
Tyndall Limestone, Mariash Limestone, Sandstone, Slate, Steel, Glass, Moss
Public Art Program - Winnipeg Arts Council
Collection of the City of Winnipeg

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Artwork of the Week!

Week 7:

Aganetha Dyck (born 1937)
Hive Blanket
Honeybee Text on Canvas

A recent winner of the Manitoba Arts Council’s Award of Distinction and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Winnipeg born Aganetha Dyck began creating art when she was in her mid-30s and living with her family in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Dyck studied drawing, weaving, ceramics and other media with George Glenn and Margaret Van Walsem through the local Arts Centre. From the beginning, Dyck often worked three-dimensionally and she drew intuitively upon her domestic experiences as a mother and homemaker. During the 1970s and 1980s, Dyck shrank clothing, canned buttons and decorated cigarettes.

For nearly the last two decades, however, she has collaborated with bees to produce her art. Around 1989, Dyck began renting hives from local beekeepers so that she might place objects inside of them to see what the insects would do. Over the years, she has introduced sports equipment, shoes, glass, Barbie dolls, dresses, crocheted items, Braille plates, canvas and porcelain into the hives.

Of Hive Blanket, Dyck says:

The Hive Blanket series began in 1991 when I noticed the marks the bees created were not unlike ancient text and perhaps even similar to musical notes at times. The Hive Blanket is an ongoing series, going into its 17th year of research and production. The blankets vary in size from 16 by 16 inches to 10 feet long by 9 inches high; they include my drawings, text and honeybee marks of honeycomb. I draw with the bees on canvas by giving the bees honeybee pheromones. Pheromones are honeybee chemicals of communication which the honeybees use with each other and perhaps even with other living organisms. I personally like to think that includes humans. This method of pheromone communication was suggested by Dr. Mark Winston from Simon Fraser University. I use other scents discovered at perfume counters and in fields of wildflowers in my attempt to communicate with the bees. (Electronic mail communication with the artist, January 15, 2008)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Artwork of the Week!

Week 6:

Murray McKenzie (1927-2007)
Daniel Spence, Lonesome Trapper (102)
Black and White Silver Print

Respected M├ętis photographer Murray McKenize built his reputation on his sensitive portraits of the people who live in northern Manitoba’s isolated communities. Born in Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, McKenzie spent most of his life in The Pas, Thompson and other parts of this province. He began using a camera as a teenager recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium. In 1951, he graduated from the New York Institute of Photography and his images have been widely published in sources as diverse as the Winnipeg Free Press and Time magazine. In Daniel Spence, Lonesome Trapper (102), McKenzie documents the regret and sadness expressed in the face of his subject, an elder from Nelson House who, at the age of 102, is no longer able to go out on the trapline.

Check out this photograph in the Disability Resource Centre in the basement of Graham Hall!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Artwork fo the Week!

Week 5:

Wanda Koop (born 1951)
The Mountain
Acrylic on Paper

With over fifty solo exhibitions to her credit, celebrated Winnipeg artist Wanda Koop has shown her paintings and videos for more than three decades across Canada and internationally. In 1998 she founded Art City, a storefront art center that gives youth at risk the opportunity to work with contemporary visual artists. Koop has received numerous awards for her work, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The University of Winnipeg in 2002.

Koop's paintings often reflect her love of landscape and are usually influenced by her travels. In her art, she develops a visual language of signs and symbols that help her make sense of the work around her. Elements of the land are reduced to bold, iconic forms, as with the painting presented here. Koop is also a prolific artist who works constantly. In developing a series of images, she produces hundreds of small sketches and then builds up medium-sized studies of selected scenes. Finally, she paints the most powerful images that will work on a monumental scale to confront and engage viewers.

Painted outdoors near the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, the Mountain was one of several preliminary works for a 12 foot by 14 foot painting shown in one of Koop's early solo exhibitions at the London Regional Art Gallery. The series from which this painting is derived also shares another characteristic found in many of Koop's works: her need to paint in order to calm her fears and sense of dread. Art critic Robert Enright wrote that this particular series of paintings enabled the artist to neutralize her fear of mountains 'by transforming them into stately, symmetrical objects.' (Enright, 'Thinking Big', 41)