Crys Harse, "Tipsy Cup," sterling silver, 4.5".
ALL ABOUT ALBERTA
Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary
May 25 - June 29, 2007
By Amber Bowerman
Dawn Detarando’s Prairie Canary uses a prairie icon — the grain elevator — as an unlikely backdrop for socio-political metaphors: a caged canary delivers a warning about corporate pressures on rural life; a tempting apple represents the pull of urban centres. The clay piece is part of the Alberta Craft Council’s touring exhibition All About Alberta, which opened last year at the Canadian Embassy Gallery in Washington, D.C. and now comes to Calgary. The exhibition features 43 pieces by 30 craft artists working in a range of media, from textiles to clay to jewelry. “I intended the pieces to say something about the diversity of Alberta that went beyond the clichés,” says curator Tom McFall, executive director of the ACC. “There’s still this modernist notion that if you’re local you’re not sophisticated.” McFall counters that “the intimacy of a work” is enriched by being rooted in the local. All About Alberta is firmly so, from Dee Fontans’ cheeky silver-and-gold Red Mile Belt Buckle to Evelyn Grant’s teapot homage to her father’s Turner Valley farm and all its found wonders. McFall abhors the casting of craft as art’s unsophisticated cousin and says this exhibition, part of the Council’s celebration of 2007 as Year of Craft, helps the ACC in their drive to “reclaim the best aspects of the word craft.”