Making a statement: Art by RDC faculty, students can be seen in two Red Deer galleries

Marnie Blair has her heart on display at the Welikoklad Event Centre in Red Deer.

Ever since she suffered a cardiac arrest when she was 19, the Red Deer College visual arts instructor has been interested in making art showing the fragility of the human heart.

Her latest wall-hanging, Heart Failure, can be seen in the faculty and staff art exhibit at the WEC that continues to the end of February. It involves a heart shape cut with a laser printer out of fabric from a blue hospital gown.

As viewers examine the pinned-back shreds of Blair’s ‘heart,’ an audio of irregular heartbeats plays in the background.

The artist, who lives with an implanted defibrillator to keep her heartbeat regular, knows better than most that life can be tenuous. “Your heart is your powerhouse,” Blair said. “It really does fuel my work.”

Other statements — about ecology, even politics — can be gleaned from pieces by 10 other RDC visual arts faculty and staff in the show.

Ceramics instructor and curator Robin Lambert sculpted a leaning porcelain and wood sculpture, When It Starts to Fall Apart. The detailed grain-elevator-like piece can stand for many things that humans construct shoddily, then attempt to prop up, said the artist.

“Most are precariously built structures that begin to collapse under their own weight” — such as an economy based on oil, of instance, Lambert wryly suggested. “It’s really a metaphor for the entropy of society.”

Across the room, sculpture technician Daniel Anhorn created a framed triptych of mountain views. Carved, like clearcuts in his slopes are the words ‘Tarnation,’ ‘Damnation’ and a less printable epitaph. Blair said Anhorn lived near Revelstoke B.C., and saw a lot of mountainside deforestation for logging, the creation of a ski hill — and his art makes a statement.

Guest ceramic instructor Brian McArthur sculpted an aboriginal man floating in a canoe. Sculpture technician Avery Andrykew made a red-mohawked fantasy figure with the help of a 3-D printer. Others with work in the show include dean of creative arts Jason Frizzell, Ian Cook, Megan Bylsma, Matthew Boyd, Tanya Collard, and Alysse Bowd.

Nature-themed artworks by RDC students can also be seen this month in Red Deer.

Into The Woods is an exhibit by second-year students Tania Holzli, Melissa Stenset and Bailee Stewart at the Marjorie Wood Gallery in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. The show that also goes to Feb. 28, features forests portrayed in different artistic styles, including Stewart’s Emily Carr influenced painting, Holzli’s mixed-media collages, and Stenset’s charcoal drawings.

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