From 2013, when the gallery first opened its doors, through 2015, we welcomed some amazing artists to Calgary.  This was a solid foundation for the new and fresh initiative that would carry us forward. In September 2016 the newly reimagined gallery, VIVIANEART, was unveiled.


“Memories of Here” is a virtual presentation of works remembering the twenty-four exhibitions hosted in our current Beltline home as VIVIANEART. Beginning with “Launchpad” we will chronicle our path through to now: May 2020.

We have experienced such wonderful art. Our team, artists and patrons have all played an important role in what we have built as we continue to grow and now transition into our new home in Inglewood, Calgary, across from the Esker Foundation.

We are excited about the future, but first, would like to honor our passage.

Each day through 24 May we will share our personal anecdotes and fond memories below.

“Launchpad” was our first exhibition as the new reimagined gallery, VIVIANEART. It was on view from 15 September through 29 October, 2016. Conceptualizing this new gallery was a wonderful process. It was so empowering to build something along with my team that was our own vision. Tara Westermann, then Managing Director, and Jenna Klein-Waller, Associate Director, were such a dream team. We moved forward with a strong commitment to support emerging Canadian talent and to contribute to the Calgary and Canadian art communities.

“Launchpad” was a group exhibition which featured artists that were already familiar to our patrons; Erik Olson, Kristopher Karklin, Shawn Evans and Diane Landry alongside new introductions to our roster; Aida Muluneh, Julie Beugin and Tyler Bright Hilton. It was a great celebration and a wonderful way to launch VIVIANEART.

We are humbly grateful for the incredible turn out and support we received, thank you to our wonderful art community who are so generous. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first opening reception as VIVIANEART:

The second exhibition at VIVIANEART brought Tyler Bright Hilton to Calgary for a solo presentation of his work and was on view from 04 November, 2016 through 07 January, 2017. Viviane met Tyler in 2015 through a mutual friend and continues to be so grateful for the introduction. Sharing Tyler’s work with the Calgary community was so gratifying. He’s such a unique thinker and a powerful talent.

There aren’t many artists diving into etching and silverpoint drawings these days, these are such traditional and laborious processes. This is particularly intriguing given the edgy content Tyler puts out. His protagonist, Minmei Madelynne Pryor, and her Alice in Wonderland trip into the dryer, searching for a lost sock – There is so much depth in his narrative. 

The prints in this exhibition illustrated an ongoing coming-of-age story that centered around a female character, Minmei Madelynne Pryor. After going into her dryer looking for a sock, Minmei finds herself confronted with a surreal world of bizarre adventure.

Though seemingly extraordinary, it is through this character that Hilton explored far-reaching issues of anxiety, insecurity, self-identity, and gender fluidity. A female surrogate for the male artist himself, Minmei represents the universally complex and convoluted qualities in us all. Hilton’s mastery of printmaking lends itself towards a convincing reassessment of the beguiling, never-ending journey of growing up.

This exhibition of photographs by Ethiopian artist Aida Muluneh was VIVIANEART’s contribution to the 2017 Exposure Photography Festival. The show ran from 13 January through 25 February, 2017. Viviane learned of Aida’s work from Jillian Ross and the people at David Krut Projects. Viviane started researching her work and when she realized her relationship with photography started at Western Canadian High in Calgary she knew she had to share her images.

Here is an excerpt from an email interview Viviane Mehr did with Aida to help prepare for the exhibition. Aida’s words are important as is the messages she shares through her art.

Question: How old were you when you left Ethiopia? When did you return? How long/What years were in you Calgary? Have you lived/spent time in any other areas in Canada? Do you still have ties to Canada?

 Answer: I was in Calgary 1990-92, I have lived in Saskatoon, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. My mother lives in Toronto and still have friends there. We immigrated to Canada in 1985.

 Question: How did your time in Canada affect the direction of your future work?

Answer: I started photography in high school when our art teacher at Western Canada high offered to give us a class for a few students. I think there was only around four of us. I didn’t have a camera and he was kind to lend me his old pentax, basically that started my obsession with photography after printing my first image in the darkroom…I always say that Ethiopia gave birth to me, Canada educated me and the USA raised me. I am forever indebted to Western Canada High, I still use the skills that I learned there even today. On other notes, my work of addressing the misrepresentation of my community as well as the Diaspora was motivated from the racism that I faced while growing up in Canada. Even if it is a country that masks racism under the idealism of “multiculturalism”, it wasn’t easy growing up in most places where I was one of the few person of color. I was provoked from an early age on the unfairness of how we were treated and I guess it became my life mission to create images that questioned the plight of black people globally.

Born and raised a Calgarian, it was so great to introduce Julie Beugin’s work to her hometown audience. Viviane was introduced to Julie by Calgary based artist and art educator David Harrison. David taught art at Western Canada High School for many years.  He was in the gallery to see an exhibition and Viviane asked him if in all his years teaching high school there was one student who stood out as an art star. He said Julie Beugin without hesitation.

Viviane reached out to Julie that week and they started planning this exhibition. The show was on view from 10 March – 22 April, 2017.

This two artist exhibition on view from 12 May – 17 June 2017 brought Toronto artist, Winnie Truong, to Calgary for her first show with VIVIANEART. The pairing of Truong and Erik Olson’s two bodies of work made for a powerful presentation, both artists using their chosen media to further define their individual perceptions of figuration.

Erik Olson traveled home to Calgary from Dusseldorf, Germany to help open the show. Bringing his trove of friends and followers in for our opening event was a wonderful way to welcome Winnie!

This was the gallery’s fourth running of its annual exhibition featuring a hand picked and curated presentation of works by recently graduated emerging artists. This exhibition was co-curated by Tara Westermann and Jenna Klein-Waller and was on view 29 June – 26 August, 2017.

Hand Pic’d 2017 featured Jocelyn Reid and Dylan Cameron, two artists challenging traditional notions of ‘craft’ through their critical art practices. Reid’s chosen medium was porcelain and Cameron’s was textile, denim specifically. 

Jocelyn Reid’s feature piece in the exhibition was a stunning installation of 101 cast porcelain Skip-its. “101 Tiny Hurdles” 2017, was a wonderful example of how Reid elevates defunct toys with her medium.

Dylan Cameron’s installation featured denim flags, including, “One Bad Break to Here Knows When” 2017. His use of course dying techniques with bleach, rust and minerals altered the fabric and accentuated the material’s inherent malleability with a nod to American Idealism and punk subculture.

Diane Landry’s second show in our Beltline space was held as a part of Calgary’s Beakerhead Festival, a celebration of the crossover between art, science and engineering. The exhibition was on view from 15 September – 28 October, 2017.

Light sculptures from Landry’s “Mandala” series were presented along side two of her most recent kinetic sculptures. The artist explores the relationship between light, sound and motion in these works, transforming everyday objects into beautiful and visually engaging artworks. 

One of the featured pieces “Fall” 2017, animates an image of a waterfall in perpetual motion using a uniquely constructed flip book panel. The sculpture draws connection between natural and mechanical forces: two areas of interest that motivate Landry’s ongoing artistic investigations.

“Post-Forest” was on view 17 Nov – 23 Dec, 2017. In this solo presentation at VIVIANEART Scott reflected on forests as an underlying subject. In particular, this was an exploration focused on themes of loss and regrowth. “Post-Forest” was a strong introduction of Scott’s work to Calgary. His manipulation of colour, gesture and the physicality of pain was so seductive in these works.

Some of Scott’s pieces went on to be presented alongside artist Erik Olson at the Seattle Art Fair in 2019. Several of his works made their way into a prominent private collection while there. 

“Winter Garden: A Group Exhibition” curated by Katherine Ylitalo.

19 January – 24 February, 2018

Featuring Artists: Laura St. Pierre, Pamela Norrish, Dana Prediger, Tomas Jonsson and Travis Lutley.

This group exhibition organized by Calgary based curator Katherine Ylitalo was VIVIANEART’s contribution to the 2018 Exposure Photography Festival.

Katherine’s interest in the intersection of contemporary art and gardens was the curatorial focus of this presentation. As she describes, “in a winter garden, bones are revealed; texture carries the residue of the past and promise of renewal; memory is interrupted by surprise.”

Informed by her knowledgeable support of the arts, Ylitalo selected recent works by five Western Canadian artists who incorporate photography as part of their practice.

Laura St. Pierre considers the impact of human interruption on the natural environment through her installations, sculptures, public works and photography.

Pamela Norrish incorporates elements of photography, sculpture and painting in a material based practice.

Dana Prediger focuses her photographic practice on explorations of the physical environment and the subjects that inhabit them.

Tomas Jonsson is an artist, curator and writer interested in issues of social agency in processes of urban growth and transformation.

Travis Lutley is an emerging Calgary based photographer who has been actively developing his practice for ten years. 

 “In The Trees” Erik Olson, 2 March – 14 April 2018

This was Erik Olson’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Featuring a group of new paintings and related sculptures, these works developed from his interest  in the natural environment, specifically as a temporary site of refuge.

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s 20th century novel, “The Baron in the Trees”, Olson considers a particular form of escapism granted by a withdrawn existence in the forest. At the same time he explores escaping into the trees as a form of protest with particular relevance in relation to a group of strip mining protestors in the Hambach Forest near his home in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Portia Priegert’s review of this exhibition in Galleries West is worth a revisit!

“Perennials” was Winnie Truong’s first solo exhibition with VIVIANEART, and was on view from 27 Apr – 9 Jun, 2018. This new body of work introduced a unique dimensionality to her drawing practice. In these pieces she cut and collaged her pencil crayon drawings adding new layers to her imagery. 

Continuing her interest in the distortion of beauty, this series specifically considers representation of the idealized female form in relation to nature. “Perennials” captures women poised in settings of fantasy, foliage and flora, merging with the plant-life itself. Featured throughout are her self named “wimmin creatures; mythical hybrid forms described as part-plant, part-woman.

Many of these works went on to be included in solo presentations at Pulse, Miami Beach (@pulseartfair) in 2018 and Art Toronto in 2019.

We look forward to welcoming Winnie to Calgary for another solo presentation in our new Inglewood home! 

Artists: Megan Feniak, Kellen Spencer, Sean Taal

Curated by Jenna Klein-Waller

This was our fifth Hand Pic’d exhibition at the gallery and was the solo curatorial debut for gallery director, Jenna Klein-Waller. She brought together a very skilled and eclectic group of artists, each navigating their own personal experiences, memories and relationship to place.

Sean Taal’s meticulously detailed pencil drawings explore fictionalized spaces inspired by his own, sometimes uncomfortable visual experiences of the world around him. These approachable yet at times jarring images were displayed using non-traditional devices, adding a sculptural interest to the works.

Megan Feniak’s sculptures and prints draw from the design philosophies and functionality of Shaker carpentry, considering the ideologies embedded in the handmade and natural. Using a diverse range of materials, she incorporates woodwork, silkscreen and textiles alongside the use of natural elements such as bees, wax and minerals. 

Kellen Spencer’s prints consider the connection between urban redevelopment, memory and the notion of ‘home’. Interested in the way his own personal memories are shaped by demolition and construction, he seeks to develop a better understanding of how ‘home’ is defined and experienced. 

“A Small Painting Show”

7 August – 8 September, 2018

Artists: Serena Beaulieu, Shawn Evans, Scott Everingham

“A Small Painting Show”, as the name implies, was a group exhibition featuring three artists, each successfully creating strong paintings on a small scale. The show included works by Scott Everingham and Shawn Evans and was an introduction of Serena Beaulieu to Calgary.

Scott’s inclusion of works were from a new series titled “Subtle Bodies”. In these playful pieces the artist has loosely rendered figures draped amongst the brush strokes.

Evan’s works combines urban views with graffiti and big skies. Using his own photographs as source material, his layering technique creates an abstracted image.

Beaulieu’s paintings combine clean hand-painted lines with a bold use of colour. Using simplistic geometric constructions, she merges her strong interest in formalism with an architectural style.

In contrast, we had just received a shipment of Kim Dorland paintings so our front window and back room had some large scale works on view.

We had a Saturday afternoon reception and were heartened to reconnect with so many supporters despite the summer timing.

“Minmei Madelynne Pryor on the Trail of a Liar”

14 September – 20 October, 2018

For over a decade, Canadian artist Tyler Bright Hilton has been developing two series of etchings that employ visual metaphors to create a contemporary fable. In Tyler’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, the full second series of prints were debuted alongside a selection of related watercolours and silverpoint drawings. Exhibiting a mastery of drawing and intaglio printmaking techniques, he uses these traditional processes to create surreal fictional images presented episodically in a form most like a contemporary graphic novel.

Tyler was with us in Calgary to open this exhibition, it was a stunner and a proud moment for VIVIANEART. We went on to feature some of these pieces in a solo booth at Art Toronto 2018. This was such a highlight, and the work was so well received. In addition to the help of gallery director Jenna Klein-Waller, I had Emmanuel Mehr working the booth.

16 Nov – 21 Dec, 2018

This was Kyle Beal’s first exhibition with VIVIANEART and it featured an unusual subject: the mirror. In these highly nuanced drawings Kyle’s portrayal of the mirror does not allow reflection,. Instead, these renderings exist as images of objects that frustrate expectations. The viewers catch only a glimpse of themselves, at the edge, a part of the framing. A nod to everything from Narcissus to our present day selfie culture, the viewer encounters a mirror that does not return their image.

It was such a pleasure to welcome Kyle to our roster and share this work with an art community that Kyle has contributed so much to over the years. 

We went on to show some of these works at Papier 2019 in Montreal, QC the following April and enjoyed having Kyle there with us.

11 Jan – 16 Feb, 2019

“Shawn Evans’ dynamic oil paintings, on view at VIVIANEART in Calgary through Feb. 16, are striking yet quietly subversive. Structured around his photographs of buildings, streets and landscapes, they play with perception, shifting deftly between abstraction and representation. The photographic elements act as a scaffold for Evans’ painterly tropes, offering glimpses of the urban landscape through fragmented and shifting points of view.” Lissa Robinson

See Lissa’s full review in Galleries West magazine here

This exhibition of new works by Shawn was his third solo show with the gallery, debuting in our Beltline space way back in 2014. This 2019 presentation was the beginning of a rockstar year. In addition to this incredible exhibition at the gallery, Evans completed a massive commission for Air Canada which was unveiled at Pearson International airport in September of that year.

One of the first artists that joined the gallery in my move to support emerging talent, this was a very, very proud day.

1 Mar – 6 Apr, 2019

“I Feel Real” was a real jewel in the gallery’s crown. Featuring the powerhouse pairing of two accomplished Canadian artists, Janet Werner and Sandra Meigs, this exhibition was also the subject of VIVIANEART’s first publication. 

In the catalogue’s forward, Founder/Owner Viviane Mehr  writes: “Enticed by the quirky combination of their respective voices, when they first sat down to discuss the show Werner and Meigs talked about dolls, mannequins, vintage toys, the construction of characters and scale. From here, they returned to their respective studios to create the works, each taking their own unique path. Taken together the paintings for “I Feel Real” effectively challenge traditional ideals of beauty and display with humour and intellect as well as a considered nod to art history and popular culture.”

Thank you to Diana Sherlock for her insightful essay and to Dana Woodward and Three Legged Dog Design for their work.

We also had Diana Sherlock moderate a conversation with the artists in the gallery. What the video here

Copies of our catalogue “I Feel Real” are available on Amazon or by contacting the gallery. 

12 April – 18 May, 2019

This was Julie Beugin’s second solo exhibition with VIVIANEART. To quote the artist; “Suspense in fiction is created through narrative obstacles, problems that create a kind of pleasurable delay in the resolution of a plot. In the exhibition ‘Soft Obstacles’, I create complications and obstacles in the reading of the painted surface.”

Born and raised in Calgary, Beugin moved to Berlin in 2009. This new series of paintings furthers her exploration of her new home. Using her own photographs of urban spaces around her, she paints, cuts and layers to create her abstractions.

Despite the grey and dark tones of Berlin, Beugin finds moments of light with her camera that has a presence on her canvases. Her use of white and transparent paint applied with bold loose strokes allows for room to breathe.

Read Lissa Robinson’s review of the exhibition in Galleries West here.

24 May – 22 June, 2019

In the summer of 2018 gallery founder/owner Viviane Mehr did a studio visit with Jocelyn Reid during a residency at the Banff Centre . When asked if she would present an exhibition of her porcelain sculptures at VIVIANEART, the young Calgary based artist proposed a two-artist show. She knew immediately she wanted to show with fine ceramic sculptor, Clint Neufeld.

As it turns out, Reid has so idolized his art practice that only a few years earlier, too broke to afford a room, she traveled to Medicine Hat, Alberta and spent a week sleeping in her car in order to attend a workshop he was leading at Medalta. An important influencer for her, Neufeld eagerly accepted the invitation to show with her and support her emerging career.

There are so many highlights from this exhibition, from Neufeld’s pristine fine ceramic outboard engine to Reid’s porcelain tire swing.

Having both artists with us to install and open the exhibition was so much fun and such an honour!

Alyssa Ellis, Adriane Vant Erve, Jessie Fraser

27 June – 29 August, 2019

This was the gallery’s 6th running of Hand Pic’d, our annual invitational exhibition celebrating emerging artists and recent graduates within the local Calgary arts community.

Presenting works by Alyssa Ellis, Adriane Vant Erve and Jessie Fraser, this exhibition featured three women who are using fibre as a key element in their visual art practice. While voicing their own unique narratives, each creates tactile pieces with references to the domestic. 

Alyssa Ellis draped the gallery walls with richly embroidered quilts and an installation of her plant ‘collaborators’.

Adriane Vant Erve’s silk screened print and stitched silk sculptures added a ghostly organic presence to the space.

Jessie Fraser used photographs from the Glenbow Museum’s archives to immortalize Alberta women in tapestries made with jacquard assisted weaving.

20 Sep – 02 Nov, 2019

VivianeArt was so proud to introduce Montreal artist, Serena Beaulieu to our roster with this debut solo exhibition in Calgary. Still in the early stages of her painting career, Serena is quickly gaining recognition for her skilled and considered art practice. Her hand-painted lines are an important aspect in her slow and considered approach to her paintings.

Growing up in Montreal she was influenced by the works of Les Plasticiens and Yves Gaucher in particular. Her colour palette and interest in formalism are paired with a strong interest in architecture. Utilizing not only the front of the support, but also the painting’s sides, she creates subtle illusions that emphasize the three dimensional quality if the painted shapes.

Serena’s exhibition also included beautiful pared down works on paper that she described as her visual alphabet.

15 November – 21 December, 2019

Alex Bierk, Tyler Bright Hilton, Kris Knight, Erik Olson, Winnie Truong

This exhibition was an incredible opportunity to pull together works from some of Canada’s strong young artists who are endeavouring to delve into self, other and ultimately, the identity of each. Peterborough based painter Alex Bierk came to Calgary to help us open the exhibition. We also featured some of Alex’s gouache on paper works in the back gallery. As an added bonus Alex also made the trek to Edmonton with @vivianemehr to attend the Sobey awards gala at the Art Gallery of Alberta. 

A sincere thank you to these five artists for being part of “A Portrait Show” and for your raw, honest work.

Thank you as well to Border Crossings magazine for your wonderful piece on Alex Bierk’s portraits, read the article here

“The Sowers” 

17 Jan – 29 Feb, 2020

Our 23rd exhibition as VIVIANEART featured a new series of photographs and three video works by Saskatoon based artist Laura St. Pierre.

Part of the Exposure Photography Festival, this presentation titled “The Sowers” depicts interventions in the urban landscape. These are comprised of small gardens that thrive in unlikely places such as parkades and pool decks, devoid of life other than what the Sowers have introduced. Lighting transforms the landscape and creates intimate haunting spaces.

Other signs of human, plant, and animal life are absent, sowing confusion about what we are seeing: is this the past, the present, or a dystopian future?

13 March – 30 April, 2020

This was Sarah’s debut exhibition with VIVIANEART and the final show in our Beltline location. “I Can’t Live Without You” featured all new works in which Sarah continues her exploration of obsessive, repetitive mark making both with paintings on panel and drawings on paper. 

Sarah put in many, many hours to make this new series, and we were saddened that more people didn’t get to see them in person. We will look for an opportunity to show them again when we are in our new Inglewood location. 

We are very excited to have Sarah on our roster of artists!

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