Kiki Barua, Caitlind Brown, Pamma FitzGerald, Lauren Mikols

February 22 - March 29, 2008

The New Gallery (TNG) recognizes the importance of both outreach in the community and providing access to the arts. TNG continually encourages the community to become actively involved in the arts. TNG continually encourages the community to become actively involved in the arts, thus enriching the cultural heritage of Calgary. An example of this commitment to community involvement is demonstrated through student-run exhibitions initiated by freelance art educator, Melissa Berry. In this excellent opportunity for professional development, Berry led two groups of senior students from the Alberta College of Art and Design and the University of Calgary respectfully, through the unique learning experience of directing every aspect of an art show. TNG passionately believes that encouraging students to get involved in artist-run culture will help build a strong foundation for further cultural developments within Calgary as the city expands and changes. The New Gallery is therefore pleased to present this project in an effort to join other student-friendly centers in providing artistic development opportunities for tomorrow’s artists.

Melissa Berry is a freelance writer and art educator with the Art Gallery of Calgary and the Glenbow Museum. Not only has Berry worked with TNG in the past, her experience with numerous art institutions such as the Tate Britain, the Courtauld Institute and the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery makes her perfect for this guiding role.

Kiki Barua is a third year Drawing major at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) and is an active volunteer at several local arts organizations.

Caitlind Brown is the recipient of numerous fine arts scholarships and awards and is enrolled as a Drawing major at ACAD.

Pamma FitzGerald, currently a third year ACAD student, has held several professional positions within the arts such as Graphic Designer, Assistant Curator, and Costume-maker.

Lauren Mikols’s professional experience includes work as an Artist and Installation Assistant to Kent Monkman, Scoli Acosta and Peaches at the 2007 Montreal Biennale. She is currently enrolled as a Drawing major at ACAD and has participated in several recent group shows.

Erin Belanger presently is the Programming Director at The New Gallery and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University.

The New Gallery would like to formally thank and acknowledge Calgary Arts Development Authority for their generous support of this initiative as well as the staff and students from The University of Calgary and The Alberta College of Art and Design for being a part of this process.

The curatorial theme of 'di-stôrt’ was chosen by the University of Calgary students to address the common investigation and manipulation of the audience’s perception by the participating artists. Perception is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the “quick, acute and intuitive cognition” or as “a capacity for comprehension”. The work featured in di-stôrt’ uses elements of exaggeration and contortion to compel certain audience reverberations.

Kiki Barua’s meditation on femininity in contemporary western society is humorously explored in her soft sculpture Bird Suit and its companion painting Ladybird. Barrua perverts and recasts the female form into a hybrid, combining woman and bird in order to illustrate the absurdity of certain accepted social codes of behavior.

In her installation piece The Concealed Pains of Pomme, Caitlind Brown distorts the images by creating a stereoscopic effect using the visual phenomenon employed in a common child’s toy, the view-master. This anamorphic approach physically envelops the viewer’s field of vision and therefore draws the viewer fully and completely inside the melancholic narrative of Pomme.

The Burden of Memory is a series of mixed media drawings by Pamma FitzGerald that relies on the pastiche of a historical postcard format to reference the idea of recollection. FitzGerald collages found imagery and original drawings together to create distorted narratives evocative of fleeting moments in a person’s life.

Ephemeral landscapes are realized in the work of Lauren Mikols to explore the emotional life of animals. Animal shapes are abstracted and crossed with near human forms in the works of Mikol’s such as The Pack #1, creating a dreamy liminality for the viewer to exist in.

The work featured in di-stôrt’ exists on the edge of reality. The artists ask the viewer to suspend what they already know or already believe in order to accept the notions presented in the worlds they are creating to allow the work to warp and change their perception of the world that surrounds them.

“ It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” - Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. (London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, 1972. pg.7.

- Erin Belanger