A wide range of media

New art exhibit showcases the work of over 70 artists

  • “Narcisse Snake Mating Ball” by Selkirk’s Gordon Kanne is just one of nearly 80 pieces at the Rural and Northern Art Show. – Nicholas Friesen

The Rural and Northern Art Show is heading into its ninth year, and this year’s show, taking place at the Pavilion Gallery Museum at Assiniboine Park, is poised to be the biggest and best thus far.

The show opens Tuesday, Sept. 6 and offers a wide range of media from over 70 artists, including drawings, paintings, mosaic work, wood and stone carvings, sculptures, fabric work and quilting.

The event operates as somewhat of a showcase for the winners of six regional competitions around the province.

The shows in each region (Central, Eastman, Interlake, Northern, Parkland and Westman) usually circulate within the regions, giving different cities a chance to host, and are organized by local committees every spring.

“I’ll go to these shows and it’s incredible,” says Tim Schouten, visual arts coordinator for the Manitoba Arts Network. “There are hundreds of people that are just making art in their spare time because they want to, but they don’t regard themselves as professionals. Some of them are, but many of them aren’t - they just make art because they want to.”

The culmination is the Winnipeg show, which was held at The Bay Downtown last year.

This year, and for the foreseeable future, the show will act as part of Assiniboine Park’s Manitoba mandate.

The Rural and Northern Art Show will coincide with Culture Days (Sept. 30 - Oct. 2), bringing in a much wider audience.

And, for the first time in its history, it will be split into two parts: the main exhibit will take place on the second floor of the Pavilion Gallery, while the Conservatory Gallery will play host to work from teenagers and younger artists.

As for the content of the show, it’s mainstream, but it gets a little rough around the edges at times.

“We’re not the Plug In Gallery,” Schouten says, laughing. “There’s some work that pushes the boundaries, some of the mixed-media pieces are sort of pushing what some of the commonly understood boundaries of painting are. In terms of controversial subject matter ... there are a couple of people that are pushing the edges a little bit, but it’s a general audience show in a lot of ways, too.”

While this show helps to expose the work of these artists from across the province, it also serves to expose the artists themselves to a lot of Winnipeg’s finest art.

“Each year we try to do programming for the participants,” says program assistant Alexis Kinloch. “Last year we did guided tours through the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Plug In and Martha Street Studios
Printmakers’ Association. The participants seem to really enjoy having that connection to the urban art world.”
An opening reception for the show will take place on Friday, Sept. 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will feature a cash bar and catering from Terrace 55.

The Rural and Northern Art Show is on display at the Pavilion Gallery Museum (55 Pavilion Crescent, Assiniboine Park) from Tuesday, Sept. 6 to Sunday, Oct. 2.

Published in Volume 66, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2011)

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