Humour. Safety Yellow. Red. Play. Fable. A current of expressive and unique themes run through the current exhibitions featured at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum; Code of Conduct by Nathalie Quagliotto and We Live on the Edge of Disaster and Imagine We Are in a Musical by Amalie Atkins engage the audience in an unexpected way, one we are not accustomed to when attending an art gallery.
Both artists were present at the opening of the exhibits on Friday evening and spoke with Discover Estevan on their work.
Nathalie Quagliotto is a Toronto based artist who operates out of studio spaces in both Toronto and Montreal. Nathalie has previously exhibited her work in Regina, Saskatchewan, although this is her first visit to Estevan.
“The show is called Code of Conduct,” Quagliotto to us. “It’s a show about the way people act in a gallery; if they act maturely or immaturely. There are three pieces in the exhibit; one is a big piece that you will see right away when you walk in, it’s a playground seesaw piece.”
“Also in the space, there is a neon sign that says Gallery at the back of the room. [This sign] talks about the space in relation to the other objects.”
Quagliotto adds, “Next is the gumball machines.”
These retrofitted machines explore the use of space and the viewer’s perception of goods and money. Identical on the outside, the two gumball machines are positioned directly opposite of one another in the gallery and when they are fed at 25 cent coin, the opposite gumball machine dispenses the reward.
The artist explains that this piece makes an engaged viewer run across the room to claim their money’s worth.
“You can use the work, it is actually participatory,” she adds. “There is an element of anxiety or danger related to the object but at the same time, it is very fun.”
Fun is a theme that carries over from Quagliotto’s work and into the exhibit by Amalie Atkins, who noted during her Artist Talk that it was a pleasure to meet another artist exploring similar concepts. Atkins is originally from outside of Winnipeg and after moving across the prairies to Calgary to study art at The Alberta College of Art and Design, now lives and works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with her husband and children.
Atkins’ show, We Live on the Edge of Disaster and Imagine We Are in a Musical, is a series of multi-media presentations and films, an interactive felt installation, and vintage artefacts. Together, the experience sweeps the viewer into an uncanny, surreal, and fictional reality that both delights, challenges, and entertains.
“It [the show] is about the pros and cons of living,” Atkins explained during her interview with Discover Estevan. “There are elements in each film that are sad perhaps, and moments that are funny, and moments that are joyful.”
She adds, “It’s a mixture of content. It’s friendly for children and the elderly, and everyone in between.”
When questioned about the broad age demographics, Atkins explained that she is motivated by appealing to a wide group of people and wants her art to be received and considered by 8-year-olds, as well as 80-year-olds.
While these evocative sculptures, films, and installations are interesting to read about, they are even more delightful in person. Both exhibits will be open until November and more information can be found at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum’s website HERE.