Jan. 02, 2013 - Issue #898: Apocalypse Not?
Every week something new offered at adult art classes
Thursdays (7 – 9 pm)
(As of Jan 30, classes will be held Wednesday nights)
Open Studio: Adult drop-in workshops
Art Gallery of Alberta
'Today is going to be a messy class," laughs Jennifer Poburan, the instructor of the adult drop-in workshops at the Art Gallery of Alberta.
Today, we are working with plaster, and I'm among a dozen students who Poburan will teach to make a sculpture project. Poburan explains that the class is different each week and ties into the AGA's exhibits.
"Generally, the projects revolve around the different exhibits that we have here. So there are themes around different major ideas that the gallery's housing," she adds.
On the AGA's third floor is the Misled by Nature exhibit, one in which contemporary artists revisit themes from the baroque period. Reacting against the classicism of the Renaissance, Baroque art celebrated excess, opulence and ornamentation.
To begin class, Poburan provides a brief background of the Baroque and shows a few photographs of the works in the gallery. Borrowing baroque themes, these contemporary artists have created large, opulent sculptures that overwhelm the senses, but that also employ everyday objects.
These household objects will be used within our plaster sculptures. Poburan demonstrates how to use wires, nylon stockings, paper and even old sports trophies to create our own baroque-inspired works.
For student Christina McPhee, the ability to meet interesting people is one reason that she attends these classes. She also enjoys the opportunity to explore different mediums.
"I like to have two hours where I can just play around and just to have fun and be creative, and if comes out, great," McPhee says.
Plaster is new to her, but McPhee knows that with time, she will revisit all the mediums again to improve and gain new skills.
"You get a sense of what you like and what you gravitate towards and what you're good at," she says.
At home, McPhee likes to draw, paint and use clay. By taking these evening classes, she has also explored several mediums that she'd never used before, including wires, gel transfers and printmaking. In addition, these classes have allowed her to explore new styles, such as abstract art.
"I certainly recommend it to anybody who just wants to go somewhere and just explore that [creative] part of themselves," she says.
Those interested in flexing their creativity can visit the AGA's website for each week's theme if they want to focus on something particular, the more adventurous folks can just drop in.
"It's an adventure every time you come in," McPhee says.
Today is Blaine Milne's first class and his current project involves creating a in the shape of a hand.
Using plasticine, Milne forms "fingers" that he puts into a latex glove. Once this plasticine-filled glove resembles a hand, Milne carefully mounts it onto a wooden block. Then, he begins to plaster his sculpture, one plaster strip at a time.
At another table, Carol Sullivan is making an angel. The body is plaster, the wings are wire and a pipecleaner forms the halo. Sullivan, much like McPhee, used to come to the classes a few years ago. Both are now coming back after having taken a break. Sullivan enjoys the classes for the professional direction and guidance they offer. Outside of class, she's always engaged in artistic pursuits.
"I consider everything art," she says. "Even working on my house."
Much like Sullivan, Milne and McPhee frequently create art outside of class. Milne has taken an introductory drawing class and he does photography. McPhee likes to write poetry and song lyrics. With all her art, McPhee likes to provoke a bit and to make people think.
"I do like to be edgy at times. I like to push the limits," she says. "A lot of artists that I talk to, there's that element where they want to say something or get something across. Whether it's edgy or not, that's not the point, it's just that wanting to say something; to make a statement."
Poburan's classes seem like the perfect place for self-expression, as she encourages different creative approaches. Some students might have an idea of what they want to make when they begin; others might just work and see how the piece develops. Poburan encourages students to use the best process for them.
"I try to keep this atmosphere pretty casual and I'm very flexible and open to pursuing a number of different ideas," Poburan says. "This is a very experimental-driven class. We are always experimenting with new ideas. It's not always about the end result; often the process is important. We explore new ideas about art and about life."
Where else can you go to get your art fix?
City Arts Centre
Various classes offered
Metro Continuing Education
Various classes offered
Arts Continuing Education
Grant MacEwan University Centre for the Arts and Communications
Faculty of Extension
University of Alberta
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