Art gallery unveils new acquisitions at fundraiser

Matt Gardner
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Local connoisseurs of the fine arts got an eyeful Friday evening as the Mann Art Gallery introduced its latest acquisitions at the second annual Secrets of the Vault fundraiser.

Designed to help pay for grants and general operations, the event featured a selection of artwork acquired in 2012 as well as wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres and a musical performance by local band All Mighty Voice.

Assistant curator/intern Jesse Campbell took the lead in curating the exhibition. The title she bestowed upon it, Cross-Section(s), illustrated her focus on presenting a wide range of art.

“We actually got 138 new pieces in 2012, so I had quite a lot to choose from,” Campbell said.

“There’s a variety of styles and of medium and subject matter, and also of quality. So I just wanted to show … everything, because I want it to be transparent. I don’t want to hide anything regardless of quality, so I decided to look at it from the perspective of a cross-section.”

The significance of the bracketed letter “S” at the end of the title lies in Campbell’s desire to present artistic diversity on more than one level.

In addition to comparing the appearance of each piece, she wanted to highlight the differences between the experiences and outlooks of the artists themselves.

“All of the acquisitions have to fit in the gallery’s mandate of collecting contemporary and historical artwork at the local, national and international levels,” Campbell said.

“It’s quite a large mandate, but most of all it relates to Saskatchewan. So this isn’t only a cross-section of the new pieces we acquired in 2012, but it’s a cross-section also of art that’s being produced in Saskatchewan, both historically and contemporary.”

Some of the more notable acquisitions include a painting by Cree artist Allen Sapp -- the first the gallery has been able to add to its collection – and eight watercolours by William Gordon Griffiths that date back to the 1930s.

We actually got 138 new pieces in 2012, so I had quite a lot to choose from. Jesse Campbell

One of the more interesting attractions is a pair of silk-screened prints by artist Joe Fafard.

“This is quite unique because he’s mostly known for his sculptural works, both large and small, and his printing aspect of his career, it’s not really widely-known,” Campbell said. “So the fact that we got two of them is quite interesting and we actually have a few other Joe Fafard smaller prints, so we can add to that and that’s a nice addition.”

Guests at the fundraiser enjoyed refreshments while surrounded by new artwork hung up in the main gallery.

For part of the evening, they could also enjoy the Northern roots sound of All Mighty Voice, whose self-titled EP is available for free download on Facebook and Bandcamp.

“This has become kind of an annual thing that they’ve been putting on, and I think this is our second time playing it,” bass player and vocalist Abraham Lancaster said before the band took the stage.

“Last year it went over really well and I’m assuming this year it’ll go over even better.”

As for the main purpose of the event, the gallery’s fundraising committee chair Annette Henbid said that given the cold and snowy weather, staff would be happy with a good turnout.

“With Prince Albert, it’s always a bit of an adventure, I guess,” Henbid said early in the evening.

“So far I think we seem to be off to a good start, so I’m optimistic with that … It seems like we’re having lots of tickets buying at the door.”

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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