And now, the arts


This is Self-Portrait with Ruler, oil over tempura on panel, 40×30 inches, by the U.S. (UPDATE: U.S.-born…see my comment in the comments section for more) artist Richard Thomas Davis. It’s one of several extraordinary pieces I saw this weekend during my visit to Calgary. It’s at The Weiss Gallery, a new place that opened nine months ago just off the 11th Ave. SW strip where some of my favourite galleries in Canada are clustered together. That list includes Paul Kuhn Gallery (sadly closed for renovations this summer), Newzones, and Trépanier Baer. In such a crowded neighbourhood, The Weiss Gallery sets itself apart by featuring 19th-century European art as well as contemporary, largely but not exclusively Canadian, art by painters and sculptors who are influenced by classical art techniques. So obviously a lot of it is realist, like Davis’ meticulous portraits, but there are also abstracts with a bit of a classic feel to them.

Who cares? Calgary does. As my column in the next edition points out, more and more Calgarians are concerned about quality-of-life issues, for themselves and for the community as a whole. The city’s economic development strategy (link loads a .pdf document) warns that without adequate “livability, vitality and quality of life,” Calgary will remain “virtually indistinguishable from Denver, Houston or Minneapolis” — horror! — while “another city” seizes “the global position that could — and should — be ours.”


And now, the arts

  1. That’s an oil? That’s simply amazing.. who needs photoshop when you can do stuff like that.

    Looks like I’ll have to get myself downtown to take in more of this exhibition. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. I also really, really liked this place, where a lot more stuff is in ordinary people’s budget range:


  3. I enjoy and appreciate your updates on the Canadian culture scene very much.

  4. Denver and Minneapolis are consistently regarded as cities which, despite their car-dominated regions, are leaders in quality of life. Calgary and, to a much greater extent, Houston, are not.
    Some Torontonians are obsessed with world-class status. I guess Calgary has delusions of Denver-class status…

  5. Calgary still has one way streets, right? Maybe they should start with that.

  6. Absolutely stunning….”real” art.

  7. Richard Thomas wrote to thank me for the plug, and to offer a slight correction: “I’m not really a ‘US artist’, I have dual citizenship and have lived in Canada for more than 40 years. And I’m as influenced by Canadian artists, Jack Chambers, Alex Colville, the Pratts, and European artists, Lopez-Garcia, as I am by what’s happening south of the border. “

  8. I agree with stunning. I only wish I could brush with 1/1000 th of the skill he does. Supra-realists must have the patience of Job! As a note I just caught a television interview with a gallery back east there that had the only show by Bateman -> and apparently the art critics do not relaize his art as art as it is concerned with WILDLIFE ? are they serious. Roert bateman is one of the most tlaneted artists and I eman high art despite what any so caled critic says and if they don’t agree I say off to Gitmo with the whole bunch! I vote for art galleries showing bateman’s work as well as this guy phenomenal brush work – indeed stunning!

  9. PS: please forgive me I need a spell checker for web forms.

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