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For the love of the sport

Having grown up with a steady stream of young hockey players boarding at her mother’s house in Red Deer, photographer Sharon Krushel attended nearly every Red Deer Rustlers home game in the early 1970s.

“I have such vivid memories of it all,” said Krushel.

She can still recall the scraping sound of skates against the ice, the thud of a puck bouncing off the boards, the cheering of fans in the stands.

“It’s all so Canadian,” added Krushel, who captured a quintessential hockey image, Pond Hockey, which is showing as part of the Art of the Peace travelling exhibit at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Sunworks on Ross Street.

In the photograph, two players grapple with their hockey sticks for the puck on an outdoor rink, as a beam of sunlight spotlights ice particles hanging in the air between them. “The sun’s low angle and the lack of boards allowed me to get down and capture the ice crystals flying in the sunlight as players vied for the puck,” recalled Krushel, who attended college in Camrose after graduating from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

She ended up living with her husband in Peace River, where she took up photography about six years ago.

The pond hockey photo was taken during a major tournament held on 40 rinks on the frozen Lac Cardinal near Peace River in 2011. Krushel said she couldn’t resist attending because her childhood memories are so tied to hockey.

After her father left the family when she was 11, her mother began renting space to players on the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Rustlers as a way of making income without having to work outside the home.

Krushel remembers the young Red Deer Rustlers — including Brian Ogilvie, who went on to play briefly for the Chicago Blackhawks — as positive influences. “Not only did I have a crush on every single player we had as a boarder,” she said, with a chuckle, but they also helped her develop a love of the sport.

Krushel, who has had photos displayed in Rosebud and Peace River, is planning to attend the Red Deer exhibit’s opening night reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on First Friday, Feb. 1, along with participating artist Patricia Peters.

Peters created the striking acrylic painting of a forest fire in the show — Primal Response is a tribute to people who lost their homes in the wildlife in Slave Lake. Peters said she strives to make viewers “feel and share” her visceral reaction to light and colour.

Among the other artworks in the 20-piece exhibit is a three-dimensional woman’s torso made of pleated paper torn from magazines. Artist Candace Gonsolley revealed that her Multi-Layered Girlfriend was inspired by the “trials and tribulations” she shares with friends, and is made of recycled “easily forgotten materials.”

The mono-type print Through the Window, by Mary Parslow, juxtaposes bird shadows and the texture of stained glass, while motherhood is celebrated through the nude graphite drawing, Blossoms, by Tannis Trydal. She portrays the “peaceful beauty of a woman blossoming with child” against a backdrop of flourishing vegetation.

This is the final stop for the travelling exhibit that contains an interesting sampling of the range and diversity of visual arts from the Peace River region of B.C. and Alberta. It runs at the Harris-Warke Gallery to Feb. 9.



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