Art Gallery of Alberta

AGA kicks off 90th Birthday celebrations with exhibitions from 1924 to present.

Edmonton, AB (March 24/14) –As part of its 90th birthday celebrations the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is highlighting the year 1924, its year of founding, with two exhibitions that showcase the history of art in Alberta: High Adventure: Byron Harmon on the Columbia Icefield, 1924 and Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson: Jasper / Robson, 1924. Both exhibitions open to the public on Saturday, March 29 and are on view until August 17, 2014.

EXCLUSIVE MEDIA PREVIEW

High Adventure: Byron Harmon on the Columbia Icefield, 1924
Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson: Jasper / Robson, 1924
ANDREW FROSST: Instinctive Break

Friday, March 28, 1 pm, Art Gallery of Alberta, Level 2

“1924 was a significant year for art in Alberta,” says AGA Executive Director / Chief Curator, Catherine Crowston. “In this year Alberta photographer Byron Harmon captured the first significant images and film footage of the Columbia Icefield, and, key Group of Seven members A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris came west to paint the mountains park of Jasper and Robson. 1924 also saw the birth of the Art Gallery of Alberta—making us the oldest cultural institution in the province. These two exhibitions showcase important artistic endeavors that were taking place in Alberta at that time. Celebratory exhibitions will be presented over the summer and will continue to reinforce the AGA’s 90 year commitment to presenting the work of Alberta artists, from the past to the present day.”

High Adventure: Byron Harmon on the Columbia Icefield, 1924 features photographs, film, lantern and stereo-slides created by Banff photographer Byron Harmon on his trek across the Columbia Icefield in 1924. These images were to be the pinnacle of Harmon’s long career of famously photographing the Rockies. Ladened with a motion picture camera, four still cameras and the necessary film, it took sixteen pack horses and three experienced mountain men—in addition to Harmon himself—to make the, at times, perilous journey.

As Banff’s first professional photographer, Harmon played an important role in establishing the town as a tourist attraction. Through his postcards and film footage, he made Canada’s Rocky Mountains known to the world. Harmon captured the iconic images of Banff and the mountains at a time things there were rapidly changing—from rugged and isolated to the bustling tourist mecca it’s now known as.

High Adventure: Byron Harmon in the Columbia Icefield, 1924 is the first exhibition of Harmon’s work since the 1980s. It is guest-curated by Ruth Burns and Mary-Beth Laviolette and produced with the assistance of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. It is presented with the support of ATB Financial as part of the ATB Alberta Masters exhibition series.

Learn more about High Adventure through an in-Gallery talk on Saturday, March 29 at 2 pm with exhibition co-curators Ruth Burns and Mary-Beth Laviolette. It’s free for AGA Members and free with Gallery admission.

The AGA also presents a second exhibition that focuses on the year 1924 and the Rocky Mountains: Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson: Jasper / Robson, 1924, on view March 29-August 17, 2014. In 1924 key Group of Seven members Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson travelled west to paint the mountains of Jasper National Park in Alberta and Mount Robson Provincial Park in B.C. This exhibition showcases the works that were created by these two remarkable artists and it is as much about these places as it is about these two painters. Conceived by Calgary curator Lisa Christensen and first presented at the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1999, Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson: Jasper / Robson, 1924 was originally displayed as a trail guide or map to the sites that inspired the artists. Now in 2014, the AGA is once again presenting this exhibition in honour of its 90th anniversary.

On Wednesday, April 2 at 7 pm Lisa Christensen will be giving an illustrated talk on the art of A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris depicting the mountains of Jasper National Park. This talk will look at the on-the-spot and studio paintings created by these artists—taking lecture-goers back in time to this historic trip. Tickets are $15/$8 AGA Members; free for Ultra, Curator’s Circle and Artist Patron Members and are available online at youraga.ca.

Also opening

ANDREW FROSST: Instinctive Break
RBC New Works Gallery
March 29-June 8, 2014

The RBC New Works Gallery continues the Art Gallery of Alberta’s tradition of supporting Alberta artists through the presentation of new work by our province’s artists. This solo exhibition by Calgary-based artist Andrew Frosst features two artworks referencing neo-surrealism and counter-linguistics. The first is a large installation, Instinctive Break, which consists of a wig of human hair floating in an aquarium and attached to a motor in order to give it movement—transforming it into a marine-like creature, The second is a custom-made artist book created from a language-generated computer program that traces the currently unsearched text entries of internet search engines, as a way to experiment with the meaning and form of language—an idea often explored in Frosst’s artwork. He also looks to the derivative elements of the suburban environment, such as construction site waste and found objects which he pairs in absurd scenes.

Conversation with the Artist: Andrew Frosst with AGA Curator Kristy Trinier
Friday, March 28, 6 pm

RBC New Works Gallery, Second Level
Free
Presented with the support of the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

The AGA’s next Supper Club on Sunday, June 1 will be themed around these two exhibitions and will be a taste of Alberta with fresh local ingredients. More information is coming soon to youraga.ca.


For media information or to coordinate interviews please contact:

Kimberly Van Nieuvenhuyse, Communications Specialist
T: 780.392.2468 E: Kimberly.VanNieuvenhuyse@youraga.ca


ABOUT THE ART GALLERY OF ALBERTA

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.