Art Gallery of Alberta

Refinery – November 19, 2011

Refinery goes UP NORTH to present
Explorers of the North and the Monsters Who Killed Them

November 19, 2011
AGA Members tickets went on sale October 17
Tickets go on sale to the public October 31

Refinery tickets are sold out! Win the 2 remaining tickets through our Turn it UP NORTH contest >

Featuring performances and projects by some of Alberta’s hottest artists, this Refinery will turn your night inside out with inspiration from the exhibition UP NORTH.

Beginning November 19, each Refinery will feature a new Creative Director. For the UP NORTH Refinery, Creative Director Fish Griwkowsky will take you beyond the Arctic, past the point of freezing with Explorers of the North and the Monsters Who Killed Them. So dress in your best lumberjack formals and set out on a quest through forests, monsters and northern celebration.

Creative Director Statement

“Short-term amnesia is built into almost every subarctic dweller. Hot days pass in fields and lakes, our sanity maintained by forgetting a fact everybody knows: winter is coming. But what of those even further north and especially “them lost in history”? Pressing north past the forests, where the physics of the universe cruelly remove the sun and warmth from our basic rewards, we enter the darker edges of Jack London and Robert Service’s mythology. Here, animated skeletons hungry for shipwrecks and trickster-beings lurking patiently under the ice burn through love and families like seal oil. Casual cannibalism and evil things occur with a grin as morals flicker and snap into mere smoke. Explorers of the North and the Monsters Who Killed Them is an interactive playpen acknowledging the compelling darkness that overtakes us briefly every year, a glowing tribute to those who rush madly upward hoping for some glory on the ice under the endless magnetic sky.” – Fish Griwkowsky

Dress code: Lumberjack formal

What does this mean? It’s truly up to you, but any combination of formal attire and woodsman survivalist is the idea. That might mean a nice gown and hiking boots… or a suit, tie and fur hat! Plaid shirts, bowties, huge beards, Micheal Kors, wool scarves and patent-leather shoes…but please, no real axes!

*There’s a competition involved for awesome prizes, so get creative with your plaids and furs!

Projects and Activites

The Monsters that killed the Explorers

Illustrators Josh Holinaty and Smokey Johnson will be responsible for stationing terrifying monsters throughout the AGA. Grab an explorers’ map to find and pose with them at your own risk.

Performances by Capital City Burlesque

Capital City Burleque is Edmonton’s premier Klondike-origin Dance ensemble, giving delightfully dangerous meaning to the term “northern exposure.” Look, but do no touch.

Terrorizing the Landscape

Mark Feddes’ interactive landscape will be the perfect backdrop for an old-timey portrait of you and your Lumberjack formal friends. Don’t forget to make a face as you become towering giants.

Wildlings in 3D!

Fish Griwkowsky has created a series of stereoscopic photos featuring an imagined pair of wildlings on their doomed journey into the north.

Northern Lights

Mystically projected onto the AGA’s ‘borealis,’ Tim Rechner’s northern lights will be living creatures unto themselves.


DJs Amy van Keeken, Curtis Ross and Sarah Patterson have a single goal: to create a bumping dance floor that brings out all our inner monsters.

Bring in a tree and get in for free

We’re looking for fake Christmas trees to help decorate the Refinery late night art party. Donate your tree today and get free Gallery admission. Sorry, we can’t exchange trees for Refinery tickets. Once we’re done with the trees we’ll be donating them to a local charity.

Contact to schedule your tree drop-off.


Fish Griwkowsky

Creative Director Fish Griwkowsky is a local photographer, cinematographer and columnist. Co-founder of the National Portrait Gallery Project, Griwkowsky specializes in stereoscopic imagery, is writer-in-residence for the Edmonton Heritage Council and shot Trevor Anderson’s The High Level Bridge. The winter film won honorable mention in live action shorts at AFI Fest in Hollywood, as well as playing TIFF, Sundance, sxsw, Brooklyn’s Rooftop Films and Dawson City Film Festival, from where some of these northern images sprang. An arts writer for the Edmonton Journal, Griwkowsky was also named one of Avenue‘s Top 40 Under 40 and cartoons weekly for Vue. Up north, he also builds steel grain bins along the highway.


Josh Holinaty

Josh Holinaty is an illustrator, musician and overall provider of visual services. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art & Design, and attendee of the New York Studio Program, Holinaty’s work has been printed in The Globe and Mail, WIRED, Owl, maisonneuveTransworld Snowboarding,Today’s Parent, and Alberta Views. Holinaty currently lives in Edmonton, where he acts as a co-coordinator at the Royal Bison Craft and Art Fair, plays in the band Camembert, and works at the Art Gallery of Alberta as the Digital Media Coordinator.

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Smokey Johnson

Nickelas ‘Smokey’ Johnson is an Edmonton based, self taught artist and musician. Johnson has regularly published works in Vue Weekly and Ed Magazine and, in 2009, was commissioned by the City of Edmonton to create Alberta Avenue Streetscapes. Johnson was the recipient of the 2009 Western Canadian Magazine Award for Arts, Culture & Entertainment and has exhibited at locations such as the ARTery, Latitude 53 and ArtsHab.

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Capital City Burlesque

Capital City Burlesque is an Edmonton-based burlesque group led by Kim Rackel. With a confessed love of high heels, fish nets, tacos and zombies, the girls have shown a variety of highly original shows around town, including Unleash the Geek and a tribute to AC/DC. The small group of performers has been frequenting Edmonton’s night life with their one-of-a-kind, hand-made costumes and props for years.


Tim Rechner

Originally from Red Deer, Alberta, painter Tim Rechner has established a solid studio practice in Edmonton since 2001. Rechner began his bachelor of fine arts at Red Deer College, and completed his studies in 2000 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He is an active resident of ArtsHab, has a private painting studio and is currently represented by the Front Gallery.



Images from previous installments of Refinery late night art party can be found on our Flickr page.


View information and programming from past installments of Refinery:

June 4, 2011 | March 5, 2011 | November 20, 2010 | July 10, 2010 | February 6, 2010