Sept. 23, 2019

Nickle Galleries launches fall season with Calgary’s celebrated artist Chris Cran

Exhibition focuses on a new way of visual storytelling of artist’s work

Author

Marina Fischer, Libraries and Cultural Resources

Chris Cran: It’s Still My Vault, a new art exhibition at Nickle Galleries, uniquely focuses on this renowned Calgary artist’s practice and process. The exhibition touches on key pieces and recognized works from well-known series and periods. What is also included and highlighted are the steps before and between, the first ideas, the backstories, the segues. In this case, this valuable information is not held to the side in words and labels and texts, but rather installed as paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, even preparatory works.

Specifically in this case, works have been gathered from the vault of Cran’s studio, private collections and his childhood home in British Columbia, and brought into the space of the gallery and examined. Working collaboratively, Cran and curator Christine Sowiak have laid out and grouped, withdrawn, moved, and arranged works until they tell a visual story in a space.

It’s Still My Vault reveals recurring images and approaches that span decades the percolation of an artist’s work over time that is often lost in chronological accounts until seen together. The exhibition is an exclusive account of the somewhat peripatetic body of work Cran has produced over the years, or bodies rather, that morph from realistic self-portraits to monochromatic abstractions. Alternatively, in other works, images transition from still-lifes obscured by pulp fiction screens to optical illusions and framing devices. In essence, this exhibition is the study of how we see, how we perceive all through a language that is exquisitely visual.

Red Man/Black Cartoon, 1990, from Stripe Paintings, oil and enamel on plywood.

Red Man/Black Cartoon, 1990, from Stripe Paintings, oil and enamel on plywood.

Collection of the artist

Following a number of recent exhibitions, including the one at the Glenbow Museum earlier this year, “The exhibition at the Nickle is not another retrospective,” says Cran. “This show is about my pleasure of painting.”

Chris Cran (RCA) is a Canadian visual artist living in Calgary, and is a key figure in the city’s visual arts community. He graduated in 1979 from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, and has exhibited across Canada and internationally.

His work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Nickle Galleries, the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Glenbow Museum. Cran received the ACAD Alumni Award of Excellence in 2011, the Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award in 2014, and was awarded the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Lawrence J. Burpee Medal in 2018. Cran is represented by Trépanier Baer Gallery in Calgary, Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto and Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles.

The exhibition is organized by Nickle Galleries and curated by Christine Sowiak, on display until Dec. 14, 2019.

The weekly Nickle at Noon event series will feature related talks and gallery tours. All events are free and open to the public. Learn more by subscribing to updates from Nickle Galleries.

Opening reception

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019
5 to 8 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library

Artist’s tour

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019
Noon to 1 p.m.
Nickle Galleries, Taylor Family Digital Library