Seeing glimpses of home in Red Deer artist’s strangely intriguing Dead Cities exhibit

Jason Frizzell is the dean of the School of Creative Arts at Red Deer College.

Jason Frizzell’s Dead Cities exhibit is about going home — which isn’t as bleak as it sounds.

The intriguing sculptures displayed at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery tell a post-apocalyptic tale. But the emphasis is on ‘post,’ said the local artist, who feels a redemptive message underlies his latest strange creations.

Many of Frizzell’s small dioramas are about transformation or rebuilding, including one called The Reanimation of Professor Tidwell. The steampunk-ish sculpture shows a tiny man in top hat and waistcoat sitting in a chair, while two large pieces of sci-fi equipment — proton blasters? ray guns? — are pointed at his head.

Is Tidwell about to be raised from the dead? Transported back in time? Frizzell isn’t big on revealing narratives, but admitted it could very well be either scenario. His goal is creating art that draws in viewers and lets them make their own determinations. To reveal too much, said Frizzell, is to not give observers enough credit for bringing their own ideas to the table.

Dead Cities plays with notions of home and place. The artist also finds “fascination and hope in the idea of struggle,” whether emotional or physical.

For instance, Frizzell sees a hopefulness in Gradual Decline into Disorder, in which tiny figures are uncovering a large boiler-like machine that’s partially sunken into the earth. Something that’s fallen into decay is now being recovered, he explained.

Return to Dust initially looks like a placid scouting scene. But while the pup tent featured in the diorama “feels like a safe space,” Frizzell said the world outside it— as indicated by a tiny man wearing a gas mask — is an ominous environment.

Frizzell, who studied visual arts at Red Deer College and the Universities of Calgary and Victoria, is inspired by the Mad Max movies of the ’80s. This is glimpsed in his The Ocean is a Memory, and Well-Worn Path Through the Aftermath. Both involve railway contraptions and trees.

While there’s a psychological darkness to his work — especially in Today We Burned a Liar, in which a desolate donkey observes a pole with ashes at its base — Contact deals with lighter subject matter. Frizzell said the alien snake descending to earth pays homage to schlocky, low-tech horror movies.

“I like B monster movies, like The Blob.

Frizzell, who’s Dean of the School of Creative Arts at Red Deer College, usually exhibits in Edmonton or Calgary, so is pleased to have this local opportunity to show his work, including 50 of his drawings.

The show continues to Jan. 8.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds turn up at Coldest Night of Year walk in Red Deer

It wasn’t the coldest night of the year, which probably helped the… Continue reading

Police in Saskatoon shoot two dogs that attacked man, then advanced on officers

SASKATOON — Police in Saskatoon say officers had to open fire at… Continue reading

13-year-old Maskwacis teen missing

Maskwacis RCMP are asking for public assistance to locate 13-year-old Rebecca Soosay.… Continue reading

Red Deer area residents who were quarantined on cruise ship near Japan back in Canada

Central Alberta residents are safe and test negative for coronavirus

Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal

EDMONTON — The head of the Alberta Medical Association says it’s preparing… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

TSN, Curling Canada agree to eight-year extension on broadcast rights contract

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Curling Canada and TSN have extended their broadcast… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with Mohawks in Kahnawake, Que.

KAHNAWAKE, Que. — Traditional chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation maintained Saturday… Continue reading

Saskatoon protest springs up, even after Trudeau orders blockades torn down

More protests in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs sprung up on Saturday,… Continue reading

Saskatchewan’s chief coroner warns public after fatal drug overdoses in Regina

REGINA — Two deaths and dozens of drug overdoses in Regina have… Continue reading

A champion, again: Humphries wins 3rd women’s bobsled title

Kaillie Humphries of the U.S. is a bobsled champion again, winning her… Continue reading

Canada’s Kingsbury finishes first in moguls for 62nd World Cup victory

TAZAWAKO, Japan — Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury earned his 62nd World Cup victory… Continue reading

Cruise-ship evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada as first Wuhan evacuees let go

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

Most Read