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2015 means new things at the gallery

The Humboldt & District Museum and Gallery held a presentation and reception at the gallery on Jan. 16 to celebrate its first anniversary and to launch two new exhibits.
Potter - Paula Cooley
Saskatoon Potter’s Guild member Paula Cooley gives an explanation of several pieces from the Humboldt Gallery’s new pottery exhibit to the audience at the gallery on Jan. 16.

The Humboldt & District Museum and Gallery held a presentation and reception at the gallery on Jan. 16 to celebrate its first anniversary and to launch two new exhibits.
Museum and gallery director, Jennifer Hoesgen, recapped the events and exhibits the gallery has hosted (ceramics, fabric art, musicians, Culture Days, etc.) and then talked about what was coming up for 2015.

The gallery has received $10,000 in funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board for the purpose of discovering new opportunities for future arts programming. To this end, Hoesgen and her staff want to find out what the community wants to see at the gallery for 2015, whether it’s new classes or performing arts shows.

“There’s no use sitting in our offices and going, ‘Maybe we should do this, maybe we should do that,’” Hoesgen said.

Currently, there are a variety of free art classes offered for 2015, including ceramics and glazing, developing painting skills, fabric painting and embroidery, and drawing with a paintbrush. They’re taught by local artists and all supplies are free – the grant is being used to pay the instructors and buy supplies.

“Some people are really intimidated sometimes because they’re thinking, ‘I’m going to take an art class and I need to be able to produce this lovely product and I need to have all this skill before I get to the art class.’ We want to let people know that this is fun, it’s relaxed, it’s more about you having fun and learning skills rather than you having a great piece to put on your wall,” Hoesgen said.

Interested individuals have to preregister for the classes as there are limited spaces.

To kick off 2015, two new exhibits are now on display at the gallery. The first is an exhibition by the Saskatoon Potters Guild. Members were asked to submit pieces with the theme of contrasts for consideration. From 40 pieces, 23 were chosen by a juror. Some of the potters had been doing it for two years, some for as many as 30 or 40. Saskatoon Potters

Guild member, Paula Cooley, explained the different techniques used to the audience.

“Each kiln has their own individual characteristics,” she said after explaining firing methods like wood fire, salt fire, and raku. For example, salt fire will introduce an orange peel-like effect that can only be seen with that particular method.

“I hope that people gain an appreciation of all the different things that can be done with clay,” Cooley said. “There are just so many different shapes and forms and different ways of firing. I hope that people get an idea of the tremendous variety behind it.”

The pottery exhibit will be on display until the end of March.

The other exhibit is called Surreal Saskatchewan and is presented by the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils. It provides a different view of Saskatchewan that is meant to be unsettling and unnerving.

“I really appreciate that it’s an exhibit of a different view of Saskatchewan,” said gallery staff member, Annah Gullacher. “These are all different views of Saskatchewan. We see a lot of landscape paintings from our province because we have such spectacular landscape, but this unsettles our notion of what art from Saskatchewan is about. I like that we see a lot of the human experience of people who live in the province. For example, how we deal with grief and how newcomers adjust to living in this new land and missing their homes.”

The paintings that deal with grief are by Sharon Strans Sigfuson, whose Jester Series is about her journey through accepting her husband’s terminal cancer. The paintings that deal with adjusting to a new land are by Vlade Marasovic, who painted landscapes of his home, Croatia, from memory, but also draws on his experience in Saskatchewan.

Gullacher showed The Jester Series to school groups, who enjoyed interpreting the paintings.

“I was so impressed with our school groups,” she said. “They were fascinated by that and unlocking it and decoding what each painting meant. I learned from them a lot about what a lot of the symbols were and what was going on there.”

Other paintings are of intricate rhubarb leaves, landscapes with skeletons, and fairy tale motifs.

“I think this is overall just a really strong show,” Gullacher said.

Surreal Saskatchewan is in the gallery until January 23.