ALBERTA PRINTMAKERS GALLERY
In Conversation with John Snow
Curated by Sheryl Spencer
Featuring the artwork of Tasia Selimos, Westbury Jordan, Stephany Victorine and Rosemary Allan
The Exhibition Pieces:
John Snow Ranco II Litho 18” x 14” ed. 28/30
John Snow Soundings Litho 22” x 16” ed. 10/24
John Snow Bouquet Green Bowl Litho 23" x 17" Trial Proof
John Snow Ranco II Litho 18” x 14” ed. 28/30
John Snow (1911-2004) was a revered mentor to new and emerging artists. Through a modernist sensibility, he used printmaking to depict life in Southern Alberta through his imagery of landscapes, objects, and portraits. His legacy continues to impact printmaking in Canada, inspiring emerging artists to interact and respond to his work through their own exploration of life and landscape in their prints. His prints are varied, as he was known to be. Snow was a banker, as well as an artist and musician. He desired to not only create work, but to make printmaking accessible. This accessibility has encouraged many artists to learn, and helped to create a foundation for art and printmaking in Alberta.
To join in the conversation through art and printmaking, are four emerging print artists in this exhibition. Each have unique and inquisitive responses and interactions that converse with the work of John Snow, and initiate new and continued discussions through their concepts.
John Snow Dancer
Working with notions of landscape, Westbury Jordan creates prints with discarded objects that he has collected. His response to current climate and environmental concerns through an awareness of discarded objects is an intriguing reply to representations of objects and landscapes created by Snow.
Westbury engages with a prescient awareness of the landscape in Alberta through the items that are discovered when the spring thaw reveals what was buried. Jordan’s use of bold blues and yellows harmonizes with the bold uses of color in Snow’s work. The presence of objects in Jordan’s prints create a landscape composed of what is used, and beckons awareness of the human impacts on the present-day landscape.
John Snow Roadway
Westbury Jordan Spring Melt, Mt. Pleasant (II)
Westbury Jordan's Artist’s Statement
The melting snow in early spring reveals the littered garbage that has accumulated through the winter months. These artificial objects become as much a part of my neighbourhood’s landscape as more natural elements. This has the effect of impeding my enjoyment of the local environment, but also raises other questions: is “disposable” plastic packaging truly disposable if it afterwards becomes omnipresent within the landscape? And as an active participant in consumer-capitalism, does the momentary benefit I receive from disposable objects outweigh the fact that I must live in an environment now filled with garbage?
My artistic practice is often centred around themes of environmentalism, mass consumption, waste, and reclamation. This print utilizes the impressions of waste-objects related to my own personal consumption habits.
This work is a monotype produced at home, using a DIY printing-press I designed and built. It was constructed with everyday building materials and a small hydraulic pump jack. Graduating just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, I felt uncertain as to whether there would be access to printmaking facilities in the immediate future. A grant from the Alberta University of the Arts covered the material costs necessary to construct the press, allowing my printmaking practice to continue developing after completing my studies.
John Snow Illixo
The work of Tasia Selimos takes on a solemn sensibility, embodying the complexities of home and an inner landscape that extends to the mind. While Snow worked with vivid and loud bodied hues, her use of color is sullen and serene. Selimos points to this time in the collective emotional landscape where many have become disconnected from outside landscapes, boxed into our houses. What may have once been a sanctuary from the expectations of external commitments, has now become a place we are homesick within, rather than homesick for.
Selimos’s combination of the figure and representation of the home, take voice in the conversation with Snow’s work through the examination of the present and the consideration of familiar places. Snow’s work embodies a certain pensive “moodiness”, and Selimos’s work portrays an intrinsic conversation with a forlorn mood that replies to Snow’s pieces in a current way.
John Snow Willows
Tasia Selimos Boundaries
Tasia Selimos Artist Statement
Memories are hard to retrace,
Days begin to erase,
Time is no longer in place.
Boundaries is a print that investigates an individual’s repetitive movements in their home during the pandemic. How being bound within a limited space and walking through the same rooms becomes an inescapable memory that repeats itself. Through the repetition of movement from being stuck at home, days become less discernable; time’s progression no longer exists.
Stephany Victorine uses linocut on colored paper to create illustrative moments with a visceral quality to what may once have been a snapshot. “Waiting” depicts figures wearing masks, in a daily scene, with foliage and a streetscape to frame them. Extraordinarily reminiscent of Snow’s figurative relief prints, Victorine is in conversation with Snow’s legacy by engaging in recognizable and memorable moments of the everyday, and the curiosity of the physical and emotional landscape of the city in this time frame. Using line and texture that is undeniably reminiscent of Snow’s style, Victorine provides a contemporary voice to the artistic conversation with Snow and proves the legacy of mentorship is endless and cyclical. When we examine and interact artistically with everyday moments, art becomes accessible through the potential of collective understanding of these moments.
Stephany Victorine Waiting
Stephany Victorine Artist Statement
The approach that I took for this print is focused on everyday life, line work, texture and patterns that Dr John Snow had inspired me to implement in my piece. I loved the textures that was consistent in many of his pieces, specifically his lithography pieces, and wanted to incorporate that into my piece.
We go through life, especially during the pandemic, without really stopping to look around and absorb everything, that we don’t notice the complexity and simplicity of the things around us and I had hoped to capture just that in my piece – Calgarians, practicing social distancing and wearing masks, waiting for the next C-train to go about their busy day.
John Snow Nora
Rosemary Allan Sister Penny 1.2. & 3
Rosemary Allan takes a poignant approach to a conversation between printmaking and portraiture. In contrast to Snow’s richly colored prints and portraits, Allan creates embossed linocuts to illustrate significant people to her, who have now passed on. The impression of the cut marks is gentle and nostalgic and truly highlights the importance of a portrait and its person.
John Snow created many portraits through his printmaking career, although most were given pseudonyms, or titles that left the subjects anonymous, the portraits embody a narration of a soul through the artistic rendering of a familiar face.
Allan’s embossments are a sentimental narrative of the imprint of the people we are entangled with in life, even when a life concludes. Her artwork contrasts the work of Snow through her absence of juicy, bright colors Snow was known for, yet her work engages not only with the souls of the late in her portraits, but the delicate reminder of the lasting legacy of the late John Snow.
These prints engage in the conversation with his work on a personal level, yet leave the suggestion of a lasting imprint of a late artist, that because of his work, we have access to create our own.
Rosemary Allan Artist Statement
I am becoming a printmaker, learning the methodologies of the many processes which can be used. I experiment with ideas as well.
The work, Sister Penny, is a beginning attempt to explore the nature of portraiture. Because the image we have of people in our hearts and souls are often formed over many encounters, and many seasons, I have been working with significant women who have passed on in my life, and this life. They left their impacts which I feel and experience often, and as I do so, their faces flash before me, and within me.
The image of Sister Penny, was one of five significant women I have been recollecting. As an embossment, her image has a vital line quality in movement and relief which helps to convey her animated existence. It is my hope that one day I will be able to create a portrait installation to redefine and explore “portraiture” and extend my printmaking.
John Snow Ranco II
John Snow’s work displays a wobbly sense of memory while capturing the essence of the subjects in his prints. Presented in this exhibit there are four artists who have used their own style of imagery to make observations and pictorial records of everyday life as they experience it now. These artists have captured their own essence of their present daily concerns through their work and display a notable resonance to the work of Snow.
The ambient influences of Snow’s work demonstrated in the artwork of generations of artists in Alberta makes visible the importance of Snow’s legacy, and further contextualizes the importance of his work in the purview of Canadian Art.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Herbert, author of The Art of John Snow, and Romana Kaspar-Kraft of the Collectors Gallery of Art for their dialogue about the work of John Snow during the curatorial process. Their knowledge and interest of Snow and his work have been paramount to making this exhibition and written reflection possible.
- Sheryl Spencer, Curator
John Snow Cafe
Special thanks to
The Collectors' Gallery of Art
John Snow Soundings
Sheryl Spencer is a Calgary Based Printmaking artist. Favouring intaglio prints, her current work is centered around the deeper meanings and considerations of objects, and why we collect and surround ourselves with certain things. Inspired by the human-thing entanglements we find ourselves in, as well as object timelines and itinerancy, Sheryl uses objects she has collected due to her own curiosity to connote the soul (or numen) of objects.
Alberta Printmakers thanks Sheryl for the time taken in curating these works and breathing life into this exhibition.
John Snow Bouquet Green Bowl
Rosemary Allan is an artist whose professional life has been wayfinding with the arts, and especially printmaking. During the time of Covid, she began to focus on printing processes which could be undertaken in part in a home studio environment to keep as much social distance as possible. The embossment practice has taught her that the blind print can highlight areas where there may need to be revisions. She draws to represent light, shadow, and value. As a citizen who upholds human rights, and children’s rights, she believes citizens can be inspirited when they have environments where they are both rights bearers and rights upholders. Like author Ben Okri, she believes we create stories, live within them, and if we change our story, we change our lives. Portraiture is a field of intense interest for her, and in the portrayal of those who have passed on, her work captures close up moments with her subjects.
Stephany Victorine (They/He/She) is a YYC based illustrator and beginner Printmaker originally from the Seychelles Islands. They are also a current member of the Alberta Printmakers with work focusing on Lino and Etching focusing on topics such as queer culture, sex and gender, and Seychelles Creole culture.
Tasia Selimos is a third-year art student pursuing a concurrent degree in Visual Studies and Education at the University of Calgary. Currently, Tasia’s artwork combines figuration and gestural lines to examine the relationship between the pandemic and the concept of home. In creating work on the universal experience of being isolated at home, she conveys that it is normal to feel anxious about the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.
Westbury Jordan is a multi-disciplinary artist residing in Calgary, Alberta. He graduated from the Alberta University of the Arts in 2020, completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (Print Media). He is also currently pursuing an apprenticeship in carpentry, through the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Alberta Printmakers thanks the artists for their time and talents. We appreciate you joining this conversation!
View works available for purchase:
The Collectors Gallery of Art has generously made available not only the original artworks of John Snow that appear in this show, but also an extensive catalogue of other work. Proceeds from these sales will go towards further Alberta Printmakers programming.
Additionally, we have selected works available from our featured artists for sale online, the sales of which are a great way to support an emerging artist.
Please click below to see prices and availability as well as curbside pick up and delivery options.
Join us for our Curator and Artist talk on Zoom
Due to AHS restrictions, we are unable to open our show to the public in a traditional way, with a reception. We are doing what we do best and being creative with a free online opening where you can meet the participating artists and our Curator.
Join us on June 9th, 2021 from 6:00pm - 7:15
for a virtual opening. Register to receive the Zoom link.