Saturday, November 17, 2007

One Night Only

So, I found a little art scene the other night in a back alley, in the Sunnyside area of Calgary. If Alberta has a gold mine in untapped natural resources, the arts is certainly a very rich vein of that resource and nowhere near tapped. And Calgary, a city that is fueled by cars, commuting, distance and shopping is rich in the "I have a barn," theme. Young poets are constantly pressing innovative chapbooks into my palm, and this week I tapped into the artist-run exhibition space vein. The matter is of course, finding these little hotsprings of energy...

As usual with these spaces, the work is more vital than the work found in commercial galleries. In this case, the gallery is called 809. It's a small garage, but very well set up. The show, new work by Michelle Grabner, a Chicago artist, was a small one, but well hung, and lit. Grabner works in the minimalist tradition. The paintings resemble woven place mats--the round variety--that one finds in places like Ten Thousand Villages, or Pier One Imports. Except these are canvas, of course, and they actually have movement to them, a bit of Agnes Martin, and also Eva Hesse...and perhaps...there is another artist lingering in the edges of these canvases that I can't quite put my finger on. (Yes, I know many, but also one in particular...)

Grabner curates The Surburban, an artist run space in Chicago, and she agreed to talk to me about that concept when we both get a minute. I'm thinking an international gallery hop would be fun...though given the environment, it would have to be a virtual hop, no?

Thanks to Anne Koizumi for hooking me up with the address. I'm not sure how I would ever have heard of it otherwise...