Hicks exhibit transports guests into closed Kenderdine Campus in Emma Lake

Cameron Forbes and Crystal Bueckert's book Emma Lake Archive sits on display, along with a cabin model, at the John V. Hicks Gallery on Feb. 20, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Mann Art Gallery Acting Director and Curator Lana Wilson has never been to the shuttered Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, but an art exhibit gives her a good idea of it would be like.

Emma Lake Archive is on display at the John V. Hicks Gallery in the Prince Albert Arts Centre until Sunday.

On Thursday, Wilson led a Lunch and Learn to promote dialogue on how the campus has impacted artists across Canada and even the world.

The artwork was created by Saskatoon natives Cameron Forbes and Crystal Bueckert.

The pair were the last to visit the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) campus as artists in residence before it closed in 2012. Augustus Kenderdine founded the campus in 1936.

“They selected different students from high schools in Saskatoon to go for a couple of weeks and work with some instructors to learn how to paint. It really did change my life,” Forbes told The Saskatoon StarPhoenix in 2017.

Crystal Bueckert, an interior designer, created architectural drawings of the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

According to the U of S, its closure was necessary because of budget restraints. While the buildings are still standing at Emma Lake, the doors remain boarded up.

Wilson described the Emma Lake Archive pieces as having an “interesting juxtaposition.”

Forbes recreated the campus in watercolour paintings, while Bueckert made a series of architectural drawings.

Cameron Forbes’ watercolour paintings are currently displayed at the John V. Hicks Gallery as part of the Emma Lake Archive exhibit. (Jayda Noyes)

“We’re seeing two very different things here, but artistically they help us to capture a sense of the place,” said Wilson.

“I have not been there, but of course since 2002, living and working in the art scene in Saskatchewan, you constantly are hearing about the Kenderdine Campus and the impact and the influence that these workshops had on people across Canada, on the international participants.”

Artists such as Barnett Newman and Frank Stella attended the campus.

The artwork is compressed into an archival book, which is also part of the exhibit. It’s available for purchase on Bueckert’s website, www.bldgstudio.ca.

Emma Lake Archive is part of the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils’ Arts on the Move initiative.