NORTH BATTLEFORD — Bruce Anderson, the artist behind Continental Drift, Under a Big Sky, and his newest body of work, Colourblock, was at the Chapel Gallery Thursday, Sept. 22, for the reception and start of the upcoming seven-week Colourblock exhibition. Guests could meet Anderson, other gallery supporters and his newest work in tandem with some older pieces.
The come-and-go reception ran from 5 to 8 p.m., with an artist talk at 6:30. Though the gallery is rarely open in the evening, Leah Garven, curator and gallery manager for the Chapel and Allen Sapp Gallery, said it was an effort to give the community a chance to come together and share in the love of art around work hours.
The reception focused mainly on Anderon’s newest pieces, though Garven said she wanted to bring his “dynamic, striking, and appealing” artwork together in one room. She said his work speaks powerfully to Anderson’s connections to Saskatchewan and his memories of growing up as a kid in the 1950s and 60s in Western Canada.
“We just had a ceramic exhibition during the summer, and this was such a nice contrast to that medium,” Garven said when asked about the timing for the exhibition.
“I was always interested in art … and I never even considered it something you could do as a career or even a very serious hobby. But, I had a few opportunities, met some people going to art school, and I thought I’d give that a whirl. Then I kind of dove into art. It’s a lifetime vocation, a full-time thought process,” Anderson said.
When asked about his newest body of work and the exhibition with the Chapel Gallery, Anderson added, “The subject matter is very relatable to anyone from this part of the world. Seeing an entire series of work gives people an opportunity to spend more time with the art and learn what it brings to the medium.
“Of course, North Battleford is such a significant place in the history of Saskatchewan…and the location of the gallery where you can step out and look over the North Saskatchewan River Valley … it’s a gem.”
Garven and Anderson decided to supplement the gallery's large, open spaces by including older pieces and study works to the collection of brand new works that Anderson made over the past few years. Anderson said that they hope it brings context to the work's genesis and elevates the presentation, which brings consistency.
“...the relevance of the early works to the current works, and the current works to each other, etc …” Anderson added.
Anderson’s work draws on themes of nostalgia, the old west, his connection to Saskatchewan, and the story of the land. He has been working with horse imagery for years and says they represent a stand-in for people. Anderson says that since horses arrived in Canada in the late 1600s, they have now become impractical over the last 100 years and, in a way, are weeds themselves. Most of the weeds that are subjects in his paintings are not native to Canada, and Anderson says the two elements complement each other.
Anderson also commented on the blocks of colour, “I added whatever colour block felt right at the time of finishing the painting.”
Anderson lives in Regina, where he works as the Collections Manager for the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The Chapel Gallery will have Bruce Andersons’s Colourblocks on exhibition from Sept. 18 to Nov. 6 and is situated in the main gallery. For more information, visit their website at chapelgallery.ca or phone 306-445-1757.
The headline of this story has been correct to read the artist hails from Regina.