OSAC visual arts shows return to Melfort with Diggers

MELFORT — Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) touring visual arts shows are making a return, with the exhibit “Diggers” being presented at the Kerry Vickar Center in Melfort.

Diggers, which aims to depict the control humanity has over the environments around us, features the work of Barbara Goretzky, an artist from Lumsden who has spent time as a resident artist at the University of Regina and artist in community at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre in Regina Beach.

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The exhibit will include both black and white ceramics, as well as colourful vinyl prints showing representations of both machinery and animals.

Many of the ceramics that will be shown with Diggers were crafted in 2015, during her time with University of Regina.

“That summer when I was at U of R doing residency, driving between Lumsden and Regina, I swear I hit every construction road repair. It was just ridiculous trying to get in and out of the city,” Goretzky said. “I just thought, why don’t I make some machines?”

As a result, she began crafting an exhibit that showcases humankind’s obsession with altering habitats for ease of mobility, pleasure, and comfort.

This project continued to carry over to her time at Regina Beach.

“That’s when I branched out and did the animals,” Goretzky said.

“I just was thinking, when we remove all this dirt and move things around, we’re displacing those animals. At first it was only animals that dig, like our gophers and things like that.”

It was back in Lumsden, the following summer, where she began work on the vinyl prints that are on tour with the exhibit.

“Most of the machines I made vinyl cuts out of them, and printed them on this press then decided we wanted to do something else, so we have leaves and flowers coming out of the machinery.”

Goretzky said she likes to say she was “collaborating with Martha Stewart” on this part of the exhibit, due to finding out her magazines made perfect collage material for the flowers and leaves.

“That summer when we were camping I would take Martha Stewart magazines I would take all the leaves and whatever I found out of Martha Stewart magazines, because at that time the paper was nice and thick,” she said.

“Anybody can do collage or stuff like that.”

Goretzky said the message she wants people to get out of the exhibit is to consider how and when we choose to alter the ecosystems around us.

“We alter our earth how we want to; we’re kind of the masters of everything with that. I guess I want people to think a little bit when we do things,” Goretzky said.

“Sometimes you’re like, ‘Really? Did you need to be building there?’”

Diggers will be shown at the Kerry Vickar Centre from Sept. 1 to 23.

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