Arts

Scattered Celestial Scenery in a Basement 

Step into an airy kaleidoscope of cut-up watercolours, gem-like quilt patterns of fragmented figures and scenery. Visitors to Kevin Kanashiro Gallery (724 11 Ave. S.W., lower level) will be greeted by over 15 immersive artworks by Calgary artist Angela Inglis. Of these, two are freeform and fill the gallery’s largest walls. 

“It might be too much,” says Inglis. 

I beg to differ. Go — get immersed in sacred geometry, lit by the south sun of September — and decide for yourself. 

The Artist

Inglis has contributed to our local art landscape in the past. She co-curated independent galleries and project spaces such as the Sugar Shack Art Salon (2009-2010), and the Sugar Cube Gallery (2011-2012), alongside Lisa Brawn and Jane Grace. 

Inglis has experimented with many ways of repurposing paper in her art practice over the years. 

“I became quite intrigued with how many ways I could manipulate recycled paper by shredding, custom cutting, layering, twilling and other processes,” she says. 

Treasure to trash and trash to treasure is a narrative played over. Dumpsters and ephemera have been prime material sources for artists of the 20th century through today. 

In earlier artwork she reused printed material. “Many of the works utilized public, confidential and private paper materials such as decommissioned two-dollar bills from the government of Canada, drafts of proprietary analytical reports and intertwining paper trails from my personal life … developing a work that drew layers of meaning.” 

The Work

The collection on display in this exhibition uses Inglis’s own repurposed artworks, salvaged from an overabundance of watercolours and cuttings deemed worthy of repurpose. The new form gives old work new life. 

Akin to the way she found purpose for important yet discarded material in earlier work, she repeated the method. Right angle isosceles triangles with thin washes of colour abound. These triangles are modular, and form squares and other mosaic polygons. 

Many of Inglis’ cuttings originate as landscapes and cloudscapes. To navigate, look at some layers of reference considering land, sky and triangles. From antiquity, instruments such as dioptras, astrolabes and later sextants, were used to triangulate distances in astronomy and on land. 

Increments of measurement are inherent in Inglis’ compositions. With patience, we can count them across, and find the sublime in numbers. She achieves Vitruvian-like geometry, enlisting building blocks of architecture and design. These types of pattern repetitions are also universal to many religions and ways of knowing. With proportions in alignment, symmetry and equidistance are comforting. 

In some works, one might imagine a horizon amidst atmospheric fuzz. Search for an axis yourself; the numerically inclined might find the space one of peaceful rebalance. 

As when recollecting scenes of a dream, you might try to mentally reassemble scattered cuts into their original coherence. The work nods to modernist collage; layered meaning can be drawn from the thoughtful repurpose of widely recognized imagery. Consumer products often serve as semi-disguised material content. In a past project, Inglis built textile-like patterns from A&W labels. Inglis’ newest works takes root in traditional patterns of quilting. 

There is a popular belief that mistakes in quilts are made purposefully to display humility and acknowledge imperfection. Evidence indicates this urban legend originated in the mid-20th century, but it is still propagated. The tradition of “humility blocks” is alive today. Following this line, these artworks are composed of the artist’s humble shreddings. 

“Initially, I envisioned using the blocks to build large wall configurations that would more or less resemble a painted quilt. However, the configuration building process has proven to be as fluid as the act of watercolour painting,” says Inglis. “The series is entitled Entropia, a blend of the words entropy and utopia, that describes the pairing of the blissful act of watercolour painting with their complex metamorphosis into a new order. My intention is to draw the viewer into the intangible space between order and disorder, the push and pull of spatial disorientation, and create a kind of mental chamber that is fraught with a cornucopia of meaning.” 

The Gallery

The location of the gallery is unmarked. You will not find its location with the help of any signage. The Kevin Kanashiro Gallery is located below Paul Kuhn Gallery. In the area that has been called the “design district” home to handful of well-established contemporary art galleries. 

Kevin Kanashiro Gallery is a commercial gallery that has emerged in recent years at the front end of a long-standing frame shop. The gallery often displays under-sung local visual artists. Kanashiro fosters intersections in our visual art community. He is an accomplished art gallerist, art consultant, art framer, a skilled paint restoration colourist. His frame shop provides strength of presentation to artists and art owners and is often called upon when perfection is demanded. 

Visitors curious about the art are encouraged to come experience the space respectfully. In the future, this space will continue to showcase regionally based artists. Exhibitions generally change monthly or bi-monthly. Here you will find access to a wide range of contemporary art, including painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Upcoming artists to be featured include David Foxcroft and Ron Kanashiro. 

Angela Inglis’s exhibit Entropia is on display from Sept. 9 until Sept. 30. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. It’s located in the basement of 724 12 Ave. S.W. All are welcome.