Slate’s Summer Rhubarb exhibit showcases local talents

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The Slate Art Gallery building from an angle, displaying both the entrance and the billboards for Summer Rhubarb and the next show, Maia Stark’s Unwell.
You thought you were going to get to see the art here? Go to the gallery yourself, silly. Hannah Eiserman

Summer Rhubarb is always a real treat

Despite living and working on 13th Avenue for three years, I had not stopped into Slate Art Gallery until last week. As I wait at the Elphinstone lights on my way to work, school, or even to get groceries, I look at it wistfully and plan for a future date when I’ll have time to visit. When I saw the billboard change to feature the Summer Rhubarb exhibit, running July 15 to August 28, I knew the time had come!

Gallery owner Gina Fafard greeted me at the door and was very happy to answer the questions I had for her. She let me know that the “walk-in traffic has been excellent,” and the annual show has been very well attended. Visitors have been particularly taken with the works of Katherine Boyer, a “Metis/Settler[1]” artist who holds a BFA from our own University of Regina and an MFA from the University of Manitoba, and David Thauberger, who “has become internationally known for his paintings of the vernacular architecture and cultural icons of Saskatchewan.”[2] Fafard also notes that of Thauberger’s paintings, his depiction of Saskatoon’s premiere haunted hotel The Bessborough has been the biggest hit.

Fafard also pointed me towards the work of first-time exhibitors Simon Hughes and Laura Payne. Hughes’ mix-media collages in brilliant blues are quite eye catching, but I was particularly drawn to Payne’s various works entitled “Interpolation,” undoubtably named after a theory by Louis Althusser that describes how various ideologies “hail” you – or, put simply, draw you into them without you realizing. These pieces certainly succeed at “interpolating” the onlooker: I could have spent a long time being taken in circles, eyes drawn around and around the panels.

I was fascinated by every piece Fafard has curated, but a few will be firmly planted in my memory indefinitely. Planted, I say literally, of works such as those by Gabriela Garcia-Luna, who seems to have created her displayed pieces from the pigments of pressed flowers, and Michael Hosaluk’s “Garden Screen,” a fascinating sculpture with stunning, yet slightly vicious vines that seem to have tongues. There are plenty of landscape or nature-focused pieces, such as the work of Heather Cline and Greg Allen, who were the artists behind two of my favourite pieces.

Cline’s work “Skyhawk Through the Clouds” proudly displays the patchwork quilt of Saskatchewan farmland, as seen from a birds-eye view. It is smartly placed facing the front window, the large piece inviting passersby to come admire it. Allen’s “On the Way to Beaver Bay” is also spectacular – the texture of moss on the rocks so realistic you want to reach out and touch it (but please don’t touch the artwork!)

There are many other more experimental artworks that are equally as beautiful and diverting. Thom McInnis’ work that almost resembles a mobile, featuring hanging pieces of stainless steel and drawn three-dimensional boxes, entitled “Dichotomy” certainly possesses sides that are contradictory. Marc Courtemanche’s hammers, handles painted with floral designs, are a wonderful blend of the masculine and feminine. Marsha Kennedy’s works, one depicting a doll wedged between two dead birds, another a dead bird in a teacup, playfully named “Window Struck,” profoundly mixes the delicate and the morbid.

Pieces by Gina Fafard’s late father, Joe Fafard, are placed lovingly around the gallery. Growing up with horses, I greatly admire his sculptures. Fafard was able to imbue such life and spirit into his creations, and certainly deserves the world-renowned status he and they have achieved. Summer Rhubarb features a two-dimensional coated steel sculpture of a draft horse, a running dog in a similar style, and other bronze sculptures. As I’m leaving, Gina Fafard lets me know that the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery is doing a 50/50 raffle fundraiser, to support their gallery which includes many fine works, such as her father’s sculpture “Peggy,” a “7 foot, 700 pound bronze”[3] filly.

The pandemic has been an incredibly hard time for artists of all kinds, so it’s important to support our local galleries and artists now more than ever. Slate is a commercial gallery and is free to enter to view the pieces for sale. There is also an online tour available on their website if you want to visit, but still aren’t quite comfortable venturing outside yet. If you do visit, you should know that masks are currently still mandatory inside the gallery.


[1] Boyer’s bio, found at: https://www.slategallery.ca/katherine-boyer

[2] Thauberger’s bio, found at: https://www.slategallery.ca/david-thauberger-bio

[3] Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery 50/50 Flyer. Go to mjmag.ca/peggy-5050 to learn more!

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