Dimensions of Play
A Small Group Exhibition of works on Paper
Doris Charest, ASA
July 5, 2023-
August 26, 2023
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
When three artists from very different backgrounds decide to collaborate, something magical happens. Danièle Petit hails from France, Karen Blanchet grew up in Australia while Doris Charest was born and bred in Alberta, Canada. Different viewpoints and styles with a common interest in colour and a concern for the environment inspired a desire to join forces. Mixing eclectic personalities forms a unique concoction. With a love of painting as an anchor, the group creates a hub of inspiration.
The theme “Urban Surprises”, leaves large open spaces for collective and individual interpretation. Working together, the vision becomes much larger and more varied than what one might suppose in the title. Limiting materials to a substrate of paper moves creativity in unforeseen directions.
The Artists’ Statements
Doris Charest, ASA
I look for hidden corners where nature thrives amid the urban setting. Plants, especially flowers, show up in unexpected places. Animals carve out their domains in surprising nooks and crannies such as building overhangs or in the crux of tree trunks. Nature adapts to most environments with ease leaving traces for us to discover.
An urban landscape can vary enormously within one city. Some areas support huge cement edifices and others offer homes with lawns and little backyards. Betwixt and between wooded parks break up the scenery. Each ecosystem supports life in a totally different fashion. Documenting these differences yields little treasures in every season, the evergreen source of my passion.
Doris Charest is a Juried Member of the Alberta Society of Artists, see her ASA Profile HERE.
Communities used to build churches and castles without ever expecting to see the final product in their lifetimes. Today, our houses hardly last fifty years. Observing twisted fences distorted by tree trunks refusing to cede their space, I celebrate little dandelions filling cracks in sidewalks and roadways.
Without taking the time to understand the interdependent connectedness of all life, we may do ourselves harm. With this in mind, I gaze at the weeds over which fences have no control. I contemplate the celebration of colours and the lively dance of plants we consider “bad”. What joy! Preferring creatures over perfect lawns, I seek out ways to live harmoniously with Nature. For instance, I let dandelions grow to support the bee population. My paintings celebrate the tenacity of the wild within the urban milieu.
If only the wild and the urban could happily embrace and complete each other. Instead, the first impatiently asserts its place with natural insistence through or over human installations. Earthwork quietly slips and slides. Rapid snowmelt gorges rivers inundating riverbanks and housing. Freezing twists roads and potholes streets; sidewalks crack, and walls tumble. With a little neglect, roots pierce pavement and cement.
Neither do wild animals mind their place. Coyotes freely roam our cities while hares avail themselves of our gardens and skunks set up lodging beneath our balconies. What do we have to say about these adventurers? Not to mention a young cougar lost and hungry perched in a neighbour’s tree or a moose who decides to have a little nap in front of a library.
We often speak of invasion, the human destruction of Nature rampant everywhere. Animal habitat disappears with wide deforestation and the smothering of vast areas under the construction of commercial complexes eating into rich farmland without thinking about the long-term consequences for flora and fauna, which reestablish themselves little by little in our walls, trees, and gardens. Repossessing their terrain, perhaps.
The phenomenal power of the natural and the wild in the province of Alberta furnishes much for me to explore within the context of this project, including writing and painting.
About the Land
“Urban Suprises“ is on display at the Alberta Society of Artists in the Lower Gallery in the historic Crossroads Market building in the SE Mohkinstsis (Calgary).
The Alberta Society of Artists (ASA) acknowledges that what we call Alberta, where our organization has found its’ home, is the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika), the Nehiyawak (Cree), Dene Tha’ (Slavey), Dane-zaa (Beaver), Denesuliné (Chipewyan), Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Iyarhe Nakoda (Stoney) (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley), and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Six Regions of the Métis Nation of Alberta within the historical Northwest Metis Homeland.
All three Artists in this Exhibition reside in Treaty 6 territory in the Miskwaciwaskahikan (Edmonton).
Are you interested in learning more about the First Peoples of Alberta?
native-land.ca has an interactive map showcasing many of the Territories, Languages, and Treaties that impact Alberta, Canada and other parts of the world.