Billie Rae Busby, Dana Bush and Joshua Fraser

February 19 to March 20, 2010

The third annual installment of TNG’s educational initiative providing “real world” curatorial experience to senior art students, this year’s exhibition will feature works selected by Jenna Swift, a student from the University of Calgary’s Art History program, who has curated an exhibition which explores the effect of environmental factors on the internal weather of the psychological condition. This exhibition title is a variation on the mood disorder clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The onset of this condition conventionally occurs in winter, as the temperature drops and days grow shorter. The tyranny of winter manifests itself in subtle and insidious ways, causing us to withdraw from the world outside.  Seasonal Affective will seek to reveal the mental processes which follow this retreat.


Like transitions in weather, human moods are mercurial. Human beings stand at the mercy of the external forces of nature, an experience which can incur alternate feelings of jubilation or victimization. The effect of a prolonged winter on the Canadian prairies creeps into the unconscious mind of those who dwell here, colouring our perception of space and self in relation to the season. The sky, which was expansive in summer, can seem oppressive in winter against a backdrop of barren trees and fallow fields. But it is the element of light, that elusive phenomenon, which influences us most in its presence or absence.

The exhibition title is derived from the psychological condition clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depressive disorder whose onset conventionally occurs in winter, as the temperature drops and days grow shorter. Seasonal Affective brings together the work of three emerging artists actively investigating the correlation between climate and mood. Painters Billie Rae Busby and Dana Bush explore both the alienating and companionable character of the local landscape as influenced by environmental factors. Joshua Fraser’s installation confronts viewers with concentrated doses of artificial light developing a relevant seasonal narrative of sensory saturation/deprivation. Viewed all together, the artwork shown in Seasonal Affective acts a barometer, registering the psychological weather within as well as the climatic weather without.

- Jenna Swift, 2010


Billie Rae Busby is an Extended Studies student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, painting what she terms abstract landscapes. Busby has put down roots in Calgary, having grown up in a small town in Saskatchewan. Long drives through the unfolding prairie landscape have influenced her spatial perception, as she strives to impart viewers with a sense of both solitude and vastness in her work.

Dana Bush is an Extended Studies student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, embracing the rigours of a classical training program in the field of drawing. Privately, Bush nurtures her ongoing love of watercolour - a natural medium for the field studies that fascinate her in her career as a Vegetation Ecologist. Bush manipulates her compositions, switching scale between micro/macro, to elevate oft-overlooked details from the realm of nature.

Joshua Fraser is a BFA candidate completing his final year at the University of Calgary. He has demonstrated both range and depth in his material investigations across a broad spectrum of media.  From an early affinity for the viscous properties of paint, Fraser has branched out into more interactive art forms.  The ephemeral components of sound and light comprise the basic material with which Fraser conducts his current artistic investigations.

Jenna Swift is a senior Art History student at the University of Calgary, with an avid interest in contemporary art practice. Born in Regina, she is familiar with long, hard winters and the curious brand of creativity they can engender. Her philosophy of exhibition emphasizes both the seen/unseen forces at work in a gallery space, as well as the conscious/unconscious processes of the mind.