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Home Arts Glenn embracing challenge of guest curating Winter Festival Art Show and Sale

Glenn embracing challenge of guest curating Winter Festival Art Show and Sale

Glenn embracing challenge of guest curating Winter Festival Art Show and Sale
Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Allyson Glenn is the guest curator of the 46th Annual Winter Festival Art Show and Sale , which is set for Feb. 11.

The guest curator for the 46th Winter Festival Art Show and Sale is eagerly anticipating the opening. Curator Allyson Glenn has spent Wednesday and Thursday curating the 120 pieces of art delivered to the Mann Art Gallery in preparation for the event. Artists dropped off their pieces on the week of Jan. 24 and Glenn has spent time organizing them thematically ahead of the opening.

Overall, Glenn was amazed by the talent she saw from artists.

I was really impressed when I first came in,” she said. “A lot of the pieces were really well done. The artists, some of them I know but there are quite a few artists up in this region that I have not met and they are really skilled and creative.

This is my first time doing this and it’s quite the job,” she added. “I was warned by (friend) Grant McConnell. He had said it was a big job.”

The show has returned to pre-COVID-19 numbers with 120 pieces according to the Mann Art Gallery and Glenn has used her artists eye to connect them.

Something I was thinking about when I first saw the works was which works speak to one another,” Glenn said Thursday afternoon. “I think that’s because I am a visual artist and so my first instinct is to pull works together that aesthetically work together, but some thematics start to be a little more obvious as to why certain works are even working together.”

The popular annual exhibition shows off the artistic talent and achievements of the entire region and typically displays well over 100 artworks. Many prominent artists working today (including Aganetha Dyck, Catherine Blackburn and George Glenn among others) got their start in the Winter Festival Art Show.

Glenn, an Associate Professor for the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan, has had artwork shown throughout Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Italy, India and China. After a day to absorb the pieces, Glenn said she was able to find an overarching theme.

It is like inside/outside that is kind of a theme that I am seeing in the work,” she explained. “I don’t know why it is like that this particular year. It may have been different in other years but I am just assuming that with COVID those are the kinds of things people are thinking about right now because they are stuck inside and then for many of us going outside was nice at least.

Even the way that we experience the natural world is a little bit different these days. We maybe even appreciate it more, or appreciate even the spaces that we curate within our own gardens more.”

The First gallery room’s theme is order and chaos or patterns in architecture. The second room’s theme is structure with black and white images that incorporate mathematics and logic.

I am sort of building the show in some ways like I would if it was my own art,” she said. “Although I don’t necessarily think like a curator in that I would be juxtaposing one work with another to create conversations, I think that for me it makes sense to try and find series within the larger body of work.”

The next two rooms are the natural world and the natural world as curated by people.

It’s sort of like chapters in a book,” she explained. “In this chapter it is more in the natural world or experience with the natural world when we go out.”

As of Thursday afternoon there was still a section of pieces waiting for a home. Glenn said she hasn’t decided if they belong in an inside room, or along the wall on the front space.

Glenn added that great instructors like McConnell, George Glenn and Clint Hunker have been teaching in small remote town, which has helped grow the talent and skill of local artists up north. She said some artists are clearly taking the initiative and learning on their own too through other mediums, like YouTube.

Glenn said hopes the artists enjoy how she will interpret their work.

It gives an opportunity to see their work in a different light because it will be juxtaposed beside someone else’s work or in conversation with something else,” she said. “They might find it interesting that their work is beside this work or that work.”

The first Winter Festival Art Show was organized in 1976 by The Little Gallery (the Mann Art Gallery’s first incarnation) and contracted the tapestry artist Anne Newdigate as its first guest curator.

The Winter Festival Art Show and Sale runs Feb. 11 to March 26. The Opening Reception and Awards Evening on Feb 11 at 7 p.m. and Curator’s Walk-Through on Feb 12 at 10 a.m. will be livestreamed and recorded.

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca