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Guilded has big energy

It sure seems like many members of the five guilds of SAPVAC took as much advantage of the isolation forced upon them by the pandemic as they could. Many of the works in this show are astounding.


Guilded 20-20 Vision 

Works by members of the five guilds of the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council (Floral Art Society of St. Albert, St. Albert Painter’s Guild, St. Albert Paper Arts Guild, St. Albert Potters Guild, and St. Albert Quilter’s Guild) 

Runs until Saturday, Nov. 28 

Virtual Exhibition Tour takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m.  

Exhibition Tour takes place on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. 

Art Gallery of St. Albert  

19 Perron St. 


Do yourself a favour and head to the Art Gallery of St. Albert to check out the new exhibit, Guilded 20-20 Vision. It’s been two years since the comprehensive compilation of works by members of the five guilds of the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council (Floral Art Society of St. Albert, St. Albert Painter’s Guild, St. Albert Paper Arts Guild, St. Albert Potters Guild, and St. Albert Quilter’s Guild). 

It’s just about the biggest show that the gallery has ever hosted, second only to the gargantuan High Energy, the annual show that usually features several dozen high school art students. While Guilded tops off at nearly 40 contributors, the quality of the work and the obvious amount of time put into them is what really makes this a standout. 

“It's amazing how 39 artists can come together. It looks like it was a planned show,” stated Deirdre Allen, the president of SAPVAC, and one of the paper arts contributors. 

But of course it is a planned show, just not the same kind of planning that would go into an exhibit say by one or two artists.  

Guilded 20-20 Vision is two years in the planning where artists are given the theme and the go-ahead to get to work. The theme is left as open as possible so that it's as open to the individual artist's interpretation as possible.

“We give the theme two years ahead of time. And then people just work on work."

The last show was in 2018, well before the current public health crisis and other circumstances imposed by the pandemic began, let alone even speculated about. 

If there’s a silver lining to COVID-19, it’s that it presented an unprecedented amount of free time to a lot of people, artists included. That is clearly evident in a lot of the works on display for this show. The details, the intricacies of media, the experimentation of techniques involved, and the collaborations were all very impressive and certainly time-intensive.

Consider the painstaking multilayered glass enamel landscapes of Kimberly Smith or the luminescent mountainscape scene embedded on Rubi Holder's quilt or Elaine Mulder's three-dimensional mixed media painting of a glimpse into the Wagner bog. One can easily see the oodles of time spent in each artist's studio on such projects, and it shows.

For Allen, the real standouts are the two collaboration pieces compiled by the Potters and the Paper Arts guilds (and not just because she's one of the latter).

The paper artists created 20 separate 'books' each unfurled and hanging like frozen rain to catch each viewer's gaze as they reach the top of the stairs. Each book is dramatically different in content and in material but the sight of them all together is captivating. 

Along the windows, however, is where the potters have made their stand. Correct that ... it should read stands. They created several segmented clay pillars that are not only feats of artistic beauty but also engineering.   

"Most of our potters are functional potters, so to see how they came together and did sculptural pieces ... they were just amazing. They're so beautiful. The work that went into them just incredible." 

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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