Red Deer artist Paul Boultbee in the Harris Warke Gallery at Sunworks where his latest exhibit Tiny Moments is on display.

Tiny moments

A blood-red abstraction from Paul Boultbee’s latest installation at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer is linked to an article about art and war.

A blood-red abstraction from Paul Boultbee’s latest installation at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer is linked to an article about art and war.

The related text that originally ran in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 10, 2012, states there’s no reason art should only depict decorative subject matter, such as Renoir’s boating party or Manet’s picnickers on the grass: the ugliness of war can be as suitable as anything else.

Boultbee’s exhibit in the gallery upstairs at Sunworks on Ross Street takes this idea a step further by suggesting that pretty much anything in life can be associated with art.

In his Tiny Moments display, Boultbee has hung one year’s worth of calendars — from September 2012 to August 2013. Each day on his 12 large calendars is made up of four-inch-square abstract artwork created by Boultbee.

And each of these 365 small works has been paired with text from a daily newspaper — “something that would make me stop, chuckle, gasp or ponder,” said Boultbee.

The Red Deer artist first began painting and collage-ing on the small mat-board squares while attending an art residency in Ontario in 2012. Boultbee recalled he didn’t want to have to ship large artworks back to Alberta, so he worked small.

After a while, his tiny artworks began to intrigue him, as each suggested a different mood or thought process.

After discussions with his wife, fellow artist Glynis Wilson Boultbee, he decided to use the abstract pieces as daily visual entries on a year of calendars. The paintings are displayed as a “Book of Days.”

Boultbee found text by going through a newspaper until he was struck by a comment or paragraph that appeared in an article, column or letter to the editor. Sometimes the words were comic, sometimes bizarre, appalling or thought-provoking, he said. Boultbee then picked an art square that seemed to go best with the sentiment of the article.

If he had painted something that was directly inspired by text, he believes the artistic result would have been too literal. “Too literal doesn’t work for me. There has to be something intuitive about it.”

Sometimes the link between his visuals and text is fairly obvious, as in the Nov. 10 article about art and war. At other times, viewers will have a harder time seeing a co-relation.

But Boultbee feels that’s OK — while this exhibit deals with societal happenings, art is always, to some extent, personal.

The text for July 11, 2013, for instance, is a quotation from an Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, who admitted the retailer goes after only cool, good-looking kids as customers. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely,” said Jeffries.

Boultbee was struck by the “wrongness” of that sentiment, so he paired the article with a simple art square consisting of one line of green masking tape on a blue background. “It’s off-centre, the colours are wrong, it’s square … the whole thing is wrong,” he admitted.

Boultbee saw the logic of pairing a blob of veined white paint that resembles a brain with a Nov. 2, 2012, statement by Yoko Ono that defines the perfect partnership as when two people “push each other outside their comfort zones … to the next phase in the creative and personal.”

His pairing for July 29, 2013, is somewhat less nebulous. The words “If pot does disconnect you from the world, one would assume Conservatives have been smoking it for years” come from a letter to the editor. The accompanying collage is made with a Chinese fortune cookie prediction that states: “The current year will bring you much happiness.” A cheerful duckie is stamped onto it.

Boultbee doesn’t mind if some viewers only appreciate his art designs and don’t connect them to any of the texts, which are presented in separate booklets. “People will take away different things from (the exhibit),” he said.

Astute viewers will come to realize that art can correspond to moods, ideas or really anything at all. “It can come from a sense of how you look at the world. …

“This is a year of art in my life,” said Boultbee, who hopes his display inspires people to think more artistically about their own lives — even if it’s just noticing the artistic lines of a chair in their homes.

The show runs until Feb. 15. A reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of Red Deer’s First Fridays.

Just Posted

Alberta’s status of women minister joins Twitter debate over women’s marches

EDMONTON — A minister in Alberta’s NDP government has chastised a tweet… Continue reading

Canada faces angry Americans in pivotal sixth round of NAFTA talks

Canada will be hosting an annoyed and angry United States as the… Continue reading

Arts and Craft (Beer) evening set for Feb. 3

Raising money for Red Deer Arts Council

‘Hobbit’ director Peter Jackson making WWI documentary

LONDON — “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson is transforming… Continue reading

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Are you a risk-taking adventurer with $130,000 to… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month