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Amalgamedia amalgamates U of L New Media students’ ideas

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The imagination is the limit in the University of Lethbridge’s New Media program, so “Amalgamedia” is the amalgamation of the imaginations  of the program’s participants.

Allyson Cikor tests out her virtual reality demo. Photo by Richard Amery
 There will be several different projects on display at the Dr. Foster Penny building during the Amalgamedia exhibition, April 7. Projects include classic modulations of classic video games,  recreation of ’60s stop motion movie film techniques, music videos, posters,  an assortment of video games, home made board games and much more.

 The projects will be on display, April 7 and the students themselves will be giving presentations about their work on April 8-10.
“ We have a lot of studio projects the students have been working on all semester. There is a wide variety,” said University of Lethbridge New Media professor Will Smith, adding many of the projects are interactive so you can play the games and test out virtual reality for yourself.
He is impressed with his students’ work.

“ It‘s astounding,” he said.
“There  is  a 15 minute music video, hand drawn motion stop animation and there’s original games and they have created and board games on the tables so people can sit down and play,”  he said.
 While some of the students’ ideas have been gestating for years, they have been actively working on these particular projects since Jan. 6..
“They’ve spent at least 20 hours a week over the past 13 weeks. This is the cap stone course most of them take before they graduate,” he said.
 Allyson Cikor has always been interested in virtual reality.
“I wanted to play virtual reality games so I convinced my parents to buy me virtual reality goggles and I started playing around with them,” she said, adding that lead her to think about programming for virtual reality.

“I got the opportunity to do that last semester. I didn’t make a game for this presentation. I made a  demo to show what you can do. There’s no controller. It’s all hands and head motion. You can use your hands to touch things in it,” she explained, estimating she put 320 hours into her demo.
“ There was a lot of  programming,” she said, noting she is planning on creating a 3 D interactive online game.

“ This is really my toy box I’m playing with,” she said.
Emerson Scott incorporated his interest in pre-CGI  ’60s and ’70s action movies, into his project — a short film.
“I’ve always been interested in ’60s and ’70s films where they used models,∏ he said.


Thunk opens at Casa with new works by U of L artists

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Three University of Lethbridge based artists are working together to bring  Thunk to life at Casa.Darcy Logan sets up a Glen MacKinnon sculpture. Photo by Richard Amery
 The new art exhibitions features the work of University of Lethbridge  professors Glen MacKinnon and Michael Campbell and U of L Visual Arts Technician at the U of L technician Kevin Sehn opens tonight, March 5, at Casa.

“There three artists all work at the university. They have done a collaborative sculpture based on the idea of  exquisition or corpse scheme,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan, noting that is a project where one artist build or create something and the others take turns adding to it.

 In addition to the group sculpture Thunk also features  the artists’ own works.

“Kevin Sehn is casting 12 life sized magpies out of bronze and  Michael Campbell has a suite of photographs which are inspired by the nineteenth century idea of  the cabinet of curiosities. He collects found objects and modifies them,” said Logan, indicating a three headed hammer hanging upside down on the wall.

“He also has a studio in Sauve in the south of France  and Hornby island,” Logan continued.

“ And Glen MacKinnon  has sculptures that are inspired by nautical construction,” he added.
 In addition to thunk in the main gallery. There  are new exhibitions all over Casa. Upstairs in the cabinet, nine artists have a group exhibition. There are also new exhibitions in the passage gallery.
 The opening reception is 7-9 p.m., March 5.
 Thunk runs until April 22.

— By Richard Amery, L.A  Beat Editor

Artist April Matisz’s new Trianon exhibit influenced by science and nature

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U of L BFA graduate April Matisz presents her first solo exhibition at the Trianon Gallery tonight, Feb. 13.

 Her exhibition blends her background  in biology with her love for ecology,  nature and Puerto Rico. She earned a BA in biology from the University of Victoria and worked as a field researcher.
“That also influenced me,” Matisz said.

April Matisz sets up her exhibit at the Trianon. Photo by Richard Amery
“When I graduated with my BFA from the University of Lethbridge in 2009, I moved to Puerto Rico which is where I developed this body of work,” she said.

 Her exhibition includes 17 oil paintings and 11 drawings  which reflect  her appreciation for how nature works together.
“I was influenced a lot by local landscapes, vegetation and the diversity of the landscape and vegetation,” she said, noting in addition to being influenced by Puerto Rico, she also drew inspiration from  the temperate climate and vegetation of Canada.

“ I was influenced by temperate vegetation of Canada as well as Boreal landscapes,” she said noting  it wasn’t just the individual components of the landscape itself that inspired her.

“I wasn’t as much interested plants, trees and rocks, as I was the relationship between them and the ecological process,” she said.

“ It’s a balance between science and a need for creativity,” she said, adding it also examines the process of how scientific hypothesis are produced.
More information about April Matisz as well as her artist statement can be found at
 The official opening of the exhibit is at 9 p.m. (after the official opening of the next exhibits at SAAG) and runs until March 31.

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery opens two new exhibits tonight as well with a reception at 8 p.m.

U of L art grads return with Bridges to Casa

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A group of old friends and classmates from the University of Lethbridge reunited for  the latest exhibit at Casa, Bridge: A Group Exhibition, which runs Jan. 9-Feb. 26.George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel are part of bridges; A group Exhibit at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
Izmer Ahmad, George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel were University of Lethbridge art students in the early ’90s and went their separate ways, until Hong Kong born, Victoria based artist George Ho contacted Lethbridge based painter Robert Bechtel about reuniting the old gang for an exhibit. The only artist unable to attend the opening is Malaysia based Izmer Ahmad who is teaching at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Bechtel, noting they were looking for a venue even before Casa was built, and when it was, they found their venue.

“They all went to school together in at the U of L in the early ’90s, some moved to other locations and some stayed. This brings them back to where they started,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.
“It brings people from diverse cultural backgrounds back to to our community,” he continued.
 The exhibit combines some of the works they did as students as well as more modern works which incorporate a range of styles and techniques includiing multi-media, painting and sculpture.

Japan born, Victoria based artist Yoko Takashima’s multi-media piece features mashups of  38 different people singing Simon and Garfunkel’s hit “ Bridge over Troubled Water,” in front of a background film of various images ranging from  serene oceanic scenes to atomic bomb explosions.
“It’s a self generating video of the 38 singers singing ‘Bridge over Troubled Water.’ It chooses eight of them randomly to make a choir. So the combination is different every time,” Takashima described.
 A friend of hers created the algorithm Max MSB used  to choose the different singers.

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