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New art gallery exhibit blurs the lines between art and design

The Blur in Between
Jan. 23 – May 8, 2016
Art Gallery of Alberta (2 Sir Winston Churchill Square)
$8.50 with a valid student ID.

The Art Gallery of Alberta’s first exhibition of the year, The Blur in Between, opened last Saturday, with a panel discussion on Sunday featuring a few of the featured artists. The exhibition, curated by Kristy Trinier, is show intended to question the distinctions between art and design, featuring a variety of artists and designers with mediums ranging from videos of wood burning, typography, photo prints and a piece made primarily with glass bottles.

Brandon Blommaert is an artist originally from Edmonton, who studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and now works out of Montreal. The pieces Blommaert did for the show are actually from several years ago, and were requested by Trinier for The Blur in Between. Blommaert was happy to revisit the older work, from as early as 2012, and have them displayed in a different setting.

“Kristy asked me to show some work that she’s already seen … she felt that these pieces kind of fit into what the show is about,” said Blommaert. “When I look at those old pieces, it’s still part of an ongoing body of work that I’m still exploring. It’s not something that I think of as being done or over. It’s nice that they’re being revisited in this manner.”

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In a show about mixed media, and blurring the lines between different art and design mediums, Blommaert’s animated gifs which combine digital art and music fit right in, even though he doesn’t necessarily think about those designations when he’s creating his work.

“It’s hard for me to think about how they fit into the category of design … they are coming from a very personal and experimental place, so I think maybe that’s where the blurry area is,” he says.

Showing in a gallery is a pretty atypical experience for Blommaert, who usually displays his work on his website, instead.

“It’s exciting! I don’t really show my work in galleries like this that often, since they are animated work. A couple of them I made just for the internet… for other animated works, they usually end up at screenings, festivals, stuff like that,” explains Blommaert.

Blommaert’s initial draw to digital art was a sort of experimental interest that became an integral part of his work for several years. He looked to the internet when moving forward with his work, using the fast-changing landscape as inspiration.

I wanted to get into something that was a little quicker, off-the-cuff, and experimental … the internet is part of that immediacy,” he says. “It became a big part of what I do, eventually.”

As far as the gallery show goes, the work of the other artists is “as much of a mystery to [Blommaert] as it is to anyone.” The artists come from all over the world, and Blommaert is excited to see the kind of work his pieces are displayed alongside.

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