Eastern Edge art gallery’s newest fundraising project is brought to you by the number 26.
In celebration of the gallery’s 26th birthday, 26 past exhibiting artists were asked to create an original piece based on one of the 26 letters of the alphabet. The result is a contemporary art alphabet book, beautiful but not entirely child-friendly, and a raffle for the individual pieces, taking place this weekend.
“I went all the way back to 2004, and contacted all of the artists who had exhibited in our main gallery,” explained Eastern Edge director Michelle Bush. “I drew random letters as they responded.”
The artists were given very loose guidelines on what to create: anything they wanted, with any medium they wanted, as long as it had to do with the letter they were given, and as long as it could fit in a two-by-two-foot space.
“We were very excited to see what all these different artists were going to do, and we were surprised by a lot of the ways people interpreted the theme,” Bush said.
The art the gallery received back took many forms: photography, textiles, mixed-media collage, even a painting done with carrot juice: Saskatchewan artist and carrot farmer Bruce Montcombroux’s “E is for Ex.” The piece is taken from “Bunny Love,” his ongoing series of drawings for a book project he says “explores the dynamics of dysfunctional, addictive behaviour, and missing Freudian stages.”
Some artists took the alphabet theme quite literally — like Jennifer Barrett and Scott Keating’s acrylic paint and permanent marker piece “D is for Dinosaur,” showing an almost comic-book-style pteradodon and stegosaurus — while others chose a more abstract interpretation.
“Some of them, like Craig Francis Power’s, you don’t even understand until you read the little story that goes with them,” Bush said.
Power’s “S is a Lightning Bolt but NFLD is the Work of God” is a hooked rug, with a map of Newfoundland, the letters NFLD, lightning bolts and a cloud.
“This piece depicts the island of Newfoundland coming into existence through the direct action of God above,” Power’s artist statement says. “The letter ‘S’ resides in the scratched-in graphite lighting bolts which emanate from the island, and from the fact that I had my pal Simone deliver it to Eastern Edge Gallery. If, as the hooked rug suggests, the hand of God can be said to have created Newfoundland, Simone’s bringing of the piece to the gallery suggests a similar relationship to the piece itself. In other words, the actual art resides in her carrying the work to the gallery for installation. I didn’t tell her, of course, that she’d be part of the work.”
Eastern Edge is selling 26 tickets, and as each one is drawn, the ticket-holder will choose which of the artworks they want. So far, Bush said, some of the most popular pieces include Sarah Hillock’s charcoal drawing of Hank the French cow in “V is for Vachement Bien” and Lalie Douglas’ “Q is for Qualms,” based on a diorama of a swingset placed near a highway.
Money raised during the “A is for Art” fundraiser will go towards the gallery’s programs that aren’t sustainably funded, like outreach events with schools and the elderly, and public workshops.
The raffle will take place during the gallery’s annual Holiday Warming reception Saturday, between 4-7 p.m. The 26 tickets are $226 each, and are available by calling the gallery at 739-1882 or online at www.easternedge.ca.