Art Gallery of Alberta

Conversation with the Artist: David Janzen

David Janzen with curator Ruth Burns

Wednesday, March 20, 7 pm
Free with Gallery Admission

Join Edmonton artist David Janzen to learn more about the exhibition Transfer Station, showing in the RBC New Works Gallery.

David Janzen is the artist behind the RBC New Works exhibition Transfer Station. Janzen was born in Toronto in 1959 and moved to Alberta in 1966. He lived in Edmonton until 1979, when he relocated to Calgary to attend the Alberta College of Art + Design, graduating in 1983 with a Major in Painting and a Minor in Drawing. With a group show in Vancouver in 1984 and a solo exhibition in Calgary in 1985, Janzen explored conventional still-life motifs while developing ways of making pictures that incorporated assemblage or constructed elements. A small one man show in 1987 combined these approaches. The result was a series of lumpy, shaped paintings of very small subject matter—dead insects collected from his windowsills. In 1990, Janzen’s focus had shifted beyond the window panes of his studio. He found that the lamps, transformers and antennae punctuating his view of the skyline were a form of engineered still-life—installed at the tops of poles with the heavens as an ever changing backdrop. He continued to look outward and upward, working mostly with what could be seen from his location, describing the ground by depicting structures installed above it. Chimneys, hydroelectric wires, satellite dishes, microwave relay towers and other man-made features found their way into the work. Recently, Janzen made a series of trips to landfills across the province, producing a body of work that address contemporary waste disposal practices, consumer patterns, land use and reclamation efforts. Janzen’s imagery addresses settlement, industry, the fragility of a civilization dependent on technology, its tenuous connection to infrastructure and the effect of human habitation on the horizon.

After living in Calgary for 22 years, David Janzen moved back to Edmonton in 2001. He works, part-time, as an art facilitator and exhibition coordinator at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.