Sandra Meigs + Alana Bartol
“Places-Species-Bodies, Walking Alberta” is an alternative Alberta landscape exhibition, featuring the work of artists Sandra Meigs and Alana Bartol. Both have created these pieces “en Plein-air” each in their own way recording their interactions and observations as they walked and interacted with the spaces around them.
The paintings on view by artist Sandra Meigs reflect on her experiences during multiple visits to Southern Alberta’s McIntyre Ranch over a twenty eight year period. A 55,000-acre span of land, the Ranch, established in 1898 in Alberta’s Grasslands, has hosted many artists over the years and has been a site for artistic collaboration and research. “Even after 125 years of operation, the pristine landscape of the McIntyre Ranch remains the largest undisturbed fescue grassland on the North American Continent.”* Wandering out onto this land Meigs recorded her experiences as she encountered the wildlife and flora of the region. The resulting paintings are her responses to the spirit of the Alberta Grasslands and the beauty she was witness to there.
In her series “A Woman Walking (the City Limits)”, Mohkinstsis (Calgary) based interdisciplinary artist Alana Bartol, employs walking, as her medium in an exploration of the city boundaries of Calgary. In the artist’s words, “Walking can be a way to reconnect to our bodies and consider how we relate to complexity: to observe, to listen, to smell, to think, to reflect, to co-mingle and become alive to the world around us.” The resulting collected objects, photographs, drawings and video from her walk, document her experiences as she attempted to trek the perimeter, she walked over 100km, using the City of Calgary map as a guide. Venturing along barbed wire fences, roadways, the Tsuut’ina Nation 145, private property, farmland, suburban sprawl, the Bow and Elbow rivers and the Bearspaw Dam, she was aware of the human traces around her, documenting objects that tell stories of our relationships to the land and each other.
* Ralph Thrall III, from the book “Ranching Under the Arch”, by D. Larraine Andrews, Heritage House Publishing 2019.
Alana Bartol would like to acknowledge M:ST 8 Performative Art Biennial and The New Gallery for their support in the creation of, “A Woman Walking (the city limits)”.
For more than 35 years, Sandra Meigs has been creating paintings and sculptural works that combine dense narratives with comic elements, hinting always toward multiple meanings. With talent at her craft that is beyond question she ventures into unexpected arenas, always steeped with human experience. In a review for Canadian Art magazine Nancy Tousley writes, “Her work insistently tests the line between the rational and irrational, order and chaos…. Like an adolescent with a wild streak, she revels in extremes and contradictions or, if not that, approaches them without flinching.” (Winter, 1997)
Sandra Meigs completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and went on to complete her Master of Philosophy at Dalhousie University. She taught art for over 25 years, most of those years spent at the University of Victoria. In 2015 Meigs was the recipient of a Governor Generals Award in Arts. That same year she was awarded the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has been featured in numerous exhibitions including a 2017 solo presentation at the Art Gallery of Ontario entitled Room For Mystics. In September 2019, Meigs was featured in the exhibition TERRE VERTE at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Her work is in the collections of The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal and the Canada Council Art Bank among others.
Canadian artist Alana Bartol comes from a long line of water witches. Her site-responsive artworks explore divination as a way of understanding across places, species, and bodies. Through collaborative and individual works, she creates relationships between the personal sphere and the landscape, particular to this time of ecological crisis. Bartol completed her B.F.A at the University of Winsor (Canada) and her M.F.A. at Wayne State University (USA). Bartol’s work has been presented nationally and internationally at Esker Foundation Project Space, PlugIn ICA, Latitude 53, Access Gallery, Walter Phillips Gallery, amongst others. This summer she will be doing an artist residency with the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery where she will have a solo exhibition in 2021. She currently teaches at Alberta University of the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and City of Calgary Arts Program.