Art Gallery of Alberta


The Edmonton Art Gallery: June 23-September 7, 2007
Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre: October 27, 2007-February 24, 2008

Sarah Adams-Bacon
Robin Arseneault
Richard Boulet
Jennifer Bowes
Ken Buera
Kay Burns
Chris Flodberg
Julian Forrest
Paul Freeman
Anu Guha-Thakurta
Terrance Houle / Jarusha Brown
Geoffrey Hunter
David Janzen
Jonathan Kaiser
Mary Kavanagh
Linh Ly
Annie Martin
Mark Mullin
Paul Robert
Laurel Smith
Kristy Trinier

Curated by Catherine Crowston and Sylvie Gilbert and produced by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre.

The 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art: Living Utopia and Disaster features the work of 22 Alberta artists co-presented by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre. For its 6th incarnation, exhibition curators, Catherine Crowston and Sylvie Gilbert, have undertaken an investigation of the dual themes of Utopia and Disaster, within the context of Alberta and its relation to the world environment.

The works in the exhibition raise questions about the paradoxical nature of our living experiences. They comment on the various ambiguous, competing and sometimes oppositional communities that we traverse, and exist within. When wildly optimistic, we can become completely rapt in the possibility of a longer, fuller and more affluent existence while being concurrently disquieted by events, economics and beliefs that threaten to dramatically endanger such fulfillment. The works in the exhibition act as discrete reminders that hopes are often matched with impeding catastrophe, actions with adversity, and that Utopia is mostly built on disasters. As economic achievements are boasted and celebrated, misfortunes that have made such wealth possible are minimized or even dismissed. The exhibition does not subscribe to a one world view or the other, but rather presents them as almost inevitable, yet paradoxical, partners.

As a special celebration of one of Alberta’s most senior artists, the 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art also includes a survey exhibition of the work of Alex Janvier, organized and presented by the Art Gallery of Calgary.

*Catalogue still available at Shop AGA. Please call 780.392.2499 to inquire.


Catherine Crowston is Deputy Director / Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta. From 1994-1997, Crowston was the Director / Curator of the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre and prior to that was Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of York University in Toronto. Crowston currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Edmonton Public Art Committee and has been both an Editor and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fuse Magazine in Toronto. Crowston has curated numerous exhibitions over the course of her career and overseen the production of several national travelling exhibitions. In 2002 Crowston served as the Canadian Commissioner for the Sydney Biennale of Contemporary Art and was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts.


Sylvie Gilbert is currently Director of Artexte, a study centre and visual arts library in Montreal. Gilbert was Senior Curator at the Walter Phillips Gallery and the Banff International Curatorial Institute at the Banff Centre when she co-curated Living Utopia and Disaster: 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art with Catherine Crowston. Previous to her residence in Alberta, Gilbert was Director/Curator of the Lianne and Danny Taran Gallery at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal where she also had been active as an independent curator and a lecturer. Gilbert curated numerous exhibitions over the years; the most recent include Garry Neill Kennedy: Simple Functionalism (2008); Micah Lexier Touch Paper Once (2008); Bureau de change (2008) and Comic Craze (2007). Gilbert acted as the Canadian Commissioner for Catherine Richards for the 2004 Biennale of Sydney.