Art lovers and outside-the-box thinkers should most assuredly attend the igNIGHT temporary art installation in Fort McMurray from September 26 through October 5. Each night from sunset to midnight visitors will enjoy what is being billed as Wood Buffalo’s first large scale temporary public art exhibition.
This City Centre initiative was designed “to invigorate our public spaces and encourage public art initiatives in ways that engage the interest and imagination of the general public,” explained Theresa Jolliffe, Community Strategies Coordinator for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Community Services Department.
In addition, she added, “the exhibition coordinators aspire to collaborate with the local arts community to produce an annual experience unique to Wood Buffalo using illuminated public art pieces as the heart of the exhibition.”
When all of the applications had been processed earlier this spring an artist selection panel consisting of one municipal employee and four local arts professionals and enthusiasts came together and selected four proposals to participate in the exhibition.
“We have some stunning work by some very talented people,” noted Jolliffe, who said that the work presented by Tonya Hart, Tony Stallard and 365 Productions Inc. would be greatly enhanced through the use of light and visual effects “that will excite your senses and your imagination with their enhancing instalments.”
Jolliffe said those viewing the works of art during the daylight hours “will be very pleased at the quality and professionalism that went into every piece,” and noted that evening viewings will provide even more eye candy for art lovers because of the illumination/lighting that accompanies each exhibit.
“We will be offering evening bus tours to the four sites exhibiting the work,” she explained. “The Municipality has partnered with Diversified to offer ticketed bus tours to each location. There will be a nominal $10 charge for the tour and the money is being donated to a local charity.”
“Tony Stallard’s creation, Borealis Bears, fits its location quite nicely – it will be presented in Borealis Park,” noted Jolliffe. “Tonya Hart’s exhibit, Night Buffalo, will be showcased at Poplar Crescent Park while the two exhibits by 365 Production Inc., Re-Surfacing and Northern Aurora Lights Ablaze, will be exhibited at Jubilee Plaza and MacDonald Island Park, respectively.
“Spectators,” assured Jolliffe, “can expect to be awestruck by both the igNIGHT installations and the outstanding entertainment. Several local performance groups will strut-their-stuff during the evening bus tours. 100.5 CRUZ FM and MIX 103.7 FM have also partnered with us and will provide MC’s during the bus tours. Visitors can expect to have a very good time!”
Tony Stallard is an internationally renowned public artist with 25 years of experience creating art in the public realm and collaborating with urban designers and councils on various regeneration schemes. Stallard, a new media practitioner, specializing in digital media, has described his work as site-specific conceptual light sculptures. The Essex, Great Britain resident has exhibited his art throughout the United Kingdom and in countries that include Holland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Finland, and Canada, where his work has been showcased in both Calgary and Saskatoon. A graduate with an MA and an MFA in Site-Specific Sculpture from Wimbleton School of Art, Tony also studied at the Chelsea School of Art and the Camberwell School of Art in London.
Award-winning Canadian public artist Tonya Hart, graduated from York University in 1998, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours Degree. Her art work has been exhibited across Canada. In 2006, Hart, along with other sculptors and artists, developed a business portfolio designed to seek and create new opportunities to exhibit art work directly to the public. During the past few years Hart has focused her work on both solo and group exhibitions and was granted a commission by the City of Toronto in 2011 for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s annual all-night celebration of contemporary art.
Crediting the commissioned opportunity to her decision to move her work into the realm of public art, the artist noted that her design “incorporates light, not as a decorative element, but as a conceptual link to light and energy. It represents the light that is invisible to human perception yet intrinsically present in nature.”
365 Productions Inc. is a Vancouver-based audio visual company specializing in event production. The company credits its success to its “understanding of the delicate marriage of art and technology” and for their ability to take advantage of technological developments.
Describing their work as a combination of “artistic vision and military precision,” the company also notes that “we’re dreamers and we’ve dreamt pretty big for our clients.”
“Whether it’s pulling off the largest (and newest) public art display in North America or retrofitting an installation at the oldest gurdwara in Canada,” notes the 365 Productions team, “we’ve got a knack for the unique. With customization as our mantra, we thrive on finding an installation solution that fits your needs like a glove.”
The company has created many different installations, including a talking head floating on a cloud, flying motorcycles, circus performers, rock bands and much more.
To learn more about the upcoming igNIGHT Art Exhibit see the website at: www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca.
by John Copley