Red Deer Advocate, March 14, 2015

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A world of surrealism DOUG WILLIAMSON SHADOWS HIS ART WITH MYSTERY IN A NEW EXHIBIT BY LANA MICHELIN ADVOCATE STAFF A doll’s head suspended in space, a cocktail umbrella garnishing a grenade, a magpie walking off a ledge. ... The mysterious, surrealist world of Doug Williamson is on view at Red Deer’s white gallery. Roots is the Red Deer-raised artist’s first local exhibit since leaving the city in 1999, after getting a visual arts diploma at Red Deer College. He went on to train at the University of Calgary and at various “old masters” art workshops in the U.S., developing a style that falls somewhere between hyperrealism and magical realism. Williamson unapologetically calls it “kitsch.” It’s a description used by Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum to describe his own Caravaggio and Rembrandt-inspired paintings, which he considers the opposite of clinical, cerebral modern art. Rather than striking out to convey new images or ideas, Williamson’s art, like Nerdrum’s, falls back on old-world techniques and sentiment to elicit emotions from viewers. The Calgary-based artist often depicts nostalgic subject matter, such as the plastic toy cowboy and Indian (with tomahawk raised) in his painting White Lies. A 1960s-era red wagon and tricycle — bereft of rider — take on a ghostly aspect in the large work Circle the

Top: God Keep Our Land, an oil on linen painting by Douglas Williamson. Bottom: Circle the Wagons. The exhibit Roots paintings by Red Deer College alumni artist Doug Williamson of Calgary are on Eexhibit in the space called simply white in Sunworks in Red Deer until March 24. Wagons, while red ball and scattered jacks make a striking pattern on a dark background in the painting Jacks and

A Round. Williamson’s art can also be symbolic. Religious allusions are sometimes featured in some paintings, but more

often, he portrays weighted subject matter, such as images of magpies and ravens — birds that are considered mystical in many cultures.


People will have the opportunity to take guided tours of the centre, located at A201 5212 48th St. New at the centre is a play therapy room to help children heal. The centre provides crisis and short-term counselling services to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse, and their families. Staff is on call 24 hours a day to accompany victims of recent assaults for medical assistance. Staff can assist individuals reporting assault to police and can provide support during the court process. To learn more about the centre or access its services, call 403-340-1124 or visit The 24-hour crisis line is 1-866-956-1099.

The Take It Off! program is managed by the committee, five summer villages, Sylvan Lake RCMP, Alberta Environment, the local fish and game association, Lacombe and Red Deer Counties and the Town of Sylvan Lake.

BRIEF City activity registration begins on Tuesday Need something to do this spring or summer? Personal development? Family fun? Cultural pursuits? There’s plenty of outdoor and indoor options in the 2015 edition of the Spring and Summer Activity Guide. Starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the City of Red Deer will begin taking registrations for programs, courses, lessons and rentals. Register online, in person or on the phone. Sarah Cockerill, Community Services director, said the guide offers a wide variety of programs for the whole family. She said the guide will appeal to most audiences including seniors, families, individuals, and sports and culture groups. Printed guides are available at City Hall, the Collicutt Centre, the Culture Services Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre and Recreation Centre. Check out the guide and registration information online at activityguide or call 403-309-8411.

Sex assault support centre open house on Wednesday Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre is hosting a public open house on Wednesday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Warming trend escalates Sylvan ice huts deadline Ice huts need to be removed from Sylvan Lake earlier this year because of the warming trend and deteriorating ice conditions. The Sylvan Lake Management Committee is asking the public to remove their huts as soon as possible, before the March 31 deadline set by the Take It Off! program. Water quality will be impacted if huts are left out too long and sink to the bottom of the lake. Debris, including wood, gasoline, furniture and plastic, can degrade habitat and create a safety hazard for fish, waterfowl and other lake users. Any huts left on the lake after April 1 will be taken down, delivered to the Sylvan Lake waste transfer station, and destroyed if not claimed.

Arena replacement plans to be discussed with public Plans to replace the Red Deer Arena are taking shape. On Tuesday the city hosted an initial information session with user groups that typically book dry space or ice at city facilities. Deb Comfort, Neighbourhood Facilities supervisor, said the meeting was a starting point to connect with users about the $21-million project. City council approved the project in November’s capital budget. “It was really a first opportunity to talk to those user groups who are in the facilities all the time,” said Comfort. Seven people attended from figure skating, minor hockey, lacrosse, curling and other groups. Throughout the process, there will be opportunities for residents to have their say on the replacement arena, said Comfort. A consultant is expected to be named sometime in late April or early May. Once the consultant is hired, there will opportunities is for public feedback. At the meeting, users shared information about the elements they would like to retain and innovations they would like included in the new ice

Carolyn Martindale, City Editor, 403-314-4326 Fax 403-341-6560 E-mail

Two magpies, for instance, perch on both sides of a Christian cross in the painting Between Two Thieves, while a haloed doll’s head hovers ominously in space above an open suitcase in Travelling Light. While the artist remains mum about the arresting subject matter of the latter painting, saying only that he composed it from found antique objects supplied by his mother, Williamson admits he likes painting birds because their shapes and plumage are beautiful. By virtue of their anatomy, birds also become “pointers” in his paintings. Whatever a raven or magpie is looking at, the viewer’s eye is also drawn to because the beak is directing their gaze. The 41-year-old son of a quilter mother and stained-glass-artist father likes putting symbols in paintings of otherwise simple, everyday subjects to arrest viewers, so they don’t pass by his artwork so readily. The inherent mystery is something observers are “forced to deal with,” said Williamson. Anyone wondering what it all means won’t get any easy answers from the artist, who credits Red Deer College’s visual arts program for unleashing his creativity and giving him a great foundation for his art career. Williamson prefers that viewers come up with their own narratives or interpretations of his works. Since artwork is not text, he believes it’s enough for the “mute details” of paintings to offer clues that viewers can assemble in their own minds. “Sometimes, I’ll hear what people think and I’ll say, ‘I never saw that. ... It’s fascinating to me.’ I’m happy when people bring their own voice to my paintings.” His carefully wrought still-lifes are made up of images that are important to him, and Williamson hopes are also intriguing to others. His Roots exhibit continues until May 24 at the white gallery, within Sunworks on Ross Street. facility. The city heard that keeping a piece of the history was vital and introducing new elements such as water access on the bench, dry warm-up spaces and multi-purpose areas. The roof is failing on the existing arena and significant upgrades would be required to fix it. The replacement project is expected to take about two years. The existing facility is expected to be taken down next year.

Man accused of assaulting teacher appears in court A man accused of drunkenly assaulting a Central Middle School teacher is expected to resolve his case next week. Tristan Palmer Krahn, 27, is facing two charges of assault, two counts of disturbing the peace, break and enter and unlawful possession of liquor. Krahn was arrested after police got a call that an intoxicated man had punched a teacher after being confronted at the downtown school around 2 p.m. on March 5. The man pushed another teacher and wandered into a band room, where staff locked him in. He damaged a screen while making his escape through a window. Police arrested a suspect nearby. Krahn appeared in Red Deer provincial court on Friday. Duty counsel Amna Qureshi told provincial court Judge Gordon Yake that Krahn hopes to resolve his charges at his next court appearance on Tuesday.