January 16 – February 27, 2009
Tails from the Vault
Guest Curator: Trap\door artist-run centre
Works from the permanent collection
reception: Jan. 16, 4 – 6 pm
open Sat. Jan. 17 and Sat. Feb. 7, artist button-making workshops
When talking to people about Lethbridge, one of the stories I am fond of telling is about how Lethbridge came to be such a great art town. Going back to the avid amateur Sketch Club in the 1940s through to the current development of a city with two excellent art galleries and a university with a significant art collection, Lethbridge is clearly an important location on the national art map. Trap\door artist-run centre is a key recent addition and its continued existence is a bit of a miracle. Entirely volunteer run with no core funding, Trap\door somehow manages to produce quirky projects, support emerging artists and generally add to the local scene. Their spirit and energy reflects that of the group of artists and art supporters who first generated an interest in visual art in this area.
Clearly, the smart thing for me to do was to tap into that energy and invite the Board of Trap\door to curate an exhibition out of the University of Lethbridge’s famous art collection. I was hoping for something fun and unlike the exhibitions that I and other curators have done from the collection. I knew I could count on Trap\door to come up with an innovative approach to working with the collection. My expectations have been surpassed with the delightful response they created for this exhibition and within the publication.
Certainly when approaching a collection of this magnitude, the task seems fairly daunting. The curatorial committee knew that we wanted to keep this show in line with the ideals of the Trap\door; showing contemporary work, maintaining a soupçon of irreverence and highlighting work that may have been unfamiliar to a Lethbridge audience.
By choosing the theme of contemporary images of animals, we have picked subject matter that is conceptually rich, with its issues of decoration versus context. Certainly, the tradition of representing animals is a long one, harkening back to our own first scribblings with a crayon. We have noticed that many of our members also use animal imagery in their own work and explore similar ideas.
We hope that visitors find the show enlightening and enjoy seeing these gems brought up from the deepest, darkest bowels of the vault.
The Trap\door Curatorial Team