Oct. 16, 2018

Nickle Galleries takes us from fairy tales to world's end with new exhibitions

Artists explore global symbolism and personal metaphors through inspiring works of art

Opening Oct. 18, Jude Griebel: Illuminated Collapse (above) features a series of seemingly whimsical dioramas by this rural Alberta artist. Tiny container ships, cars, trucks and animals marching two by two encourage closer inspection, revealing layers of meaning and metaphor.

Each diorama represents both a troubled landscape and a figure seemingly merging with that landscape. With examination of the works we see bulldozers herding the animals around a clear-cut wasteland toward a jet-black ark — offering them uncertain refuge in these uncertain times.

In another work, a giant ice cap weeps crystal tears, flooding a busy cityscape. The works are installed in a chapel-like space intended to provoke reflection and circumambulation. Illuminated Collapse  builds on Griebel’s earlier works, combining science, fiction, fact and fantasy with his rich and evolving personal symbolism.

Griebel ponders the psychological impact of various disaster narratives, from Mayan prophesies to Y2K to Hollywood disaster movies and the current environmental crises. He notes, “My sculptures attempt to embody a repressed and deflected anxiety, delivering it back to the viewer in ways that are self-deprecating and playful, prioritizing possibility and transformation over closure.”

Griebel’s work occupies a liminal space between difficult fact and dystopic fiction, between techniques of natural history display and whimsical toy models. It aims to mediate personal space in relation to contemporary consumption, industrial development, and environmental degradation.

An illustrated catalogue with a critical essay by Tammer El-Sheikh will accompany the exhibition.

Shona Rae: Re-Imagined Narratives (installation view), 2018.

Shona Rae: Re-Imagined Narratives (installation view), 2018.

Dave Brown, LCR Photo Services

“We are thrilled to be showing the work of Jude Griebel and Shona Rae in two separate but complementary exhibitions,” says Michele Hardy, exhibition curator. “Visitors will find much to be inspired by and reflect upon with both artists’ work.” 

The second exhibition to open on Oct. 18 is Shona Rae: Re-Imagined Narratives and is the result of two decades of work by the locally based artist, jeweller, mentor and musician, Shona Rae. Begun in 1998, Rae designed and created 22 sculptural rings inspired by fairy tales and the 22 Major Arcana of the tarot. This combination suggests an intuitive re-imagining of their shared significance.

For Rae, the ring is a fitting, if tongue-in-cheek, starting point for her storytelling-in-metal. Where rings are traditionally associated with power, fairy tales were more often associated with the disenfranchised. Rae’s rings, arranged in order along a winding path through the gallery, suggest stories and insights into the human condition that help us navigate life.

For Shona Rae, Re-Imagined Narratives is the culmination of years of art training as well as her passionate study of myth, religion, fairy tales, meta and quantum physics. She notes, “Many of the characters in this body of work are influenced by someone from my personal life; a friend, a lover, a sister, a son. Archetypes who have grown, inspired and better yet, challenged my beliefs. Twenty years has flown by because all time is now, especially when one is immersed in such an intense and satisfying creative process.”

The Fisher King (below) is made up of sterling silver, 18 karat yellow gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, garnet. Each tiny sculpture — made using jewellery techniques — contains movable parts, hidden compartments, wit and wisdom. This is the first time the entire series has been publicly exhibited.

An illustrated catalogue with a critical essay by Jennifer Salahub will accompany the exhibition.

Both exhibitions were curated by Michele Hardy and organized by Nickle Galleries.

Along with Lyndal Osborne: Mutation of the Commons, all three exhibitions will be on display in Nickle Galleries until Dec. 15, 2018. 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. 

The Fisher King / The Hierophant V,2014, Shona Rae. Sterling silver, 18 karat yellow gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, garnet.

The Fisher King / The Hierophant V,2014, Shona Rae.

The artist

Public Opening Reception for ‘Illuminated Collapse’ and ‘Re-Imagined Narratives
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018
5 to 8 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library

Jude Griebel: Exhibition Tour
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library 

Doug Haslam’s Cabinet of Curiosities
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library 

James Rutherford Hume: Myths, Mirrors and Monsters
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library 

Shona Rae: Exhibition Tour
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m.
Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library