Meet the Artist: Brenda Malkinson
Brenda Malkinson is an Edmonton-based contemporary glass and wood block print artist and educator. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with distinction and has exhibited her work in Canada, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and France. Malkinson’s work is in various public and private collections including: The Massey Foundation, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The University of Alberta; Mazankowski Heart Institute, The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and the Cross Cancer Institute.
Brenda describes her proposal for the Contemporary Main Entrance as an installation that will flood the entrance and stairwell with colour, encompassing three major glass spheres comprised of numerous interlocking and converging circles. She titled the work Convergence, with the intent to bring energy and presence to the entry space and signify the connections and diversity of all the people who share common interests and engage in a collective center.
We caught up with Brenda to learn what inspires her, what themes and subject matters reoccur in her work and why she feels connected to cSPACE King Edward.
Q: Besides your art practice, are you involved in any other kind of work?
A: I volunteer with youth in the community through artist in the classroom opportunities and youth groups and I am a mentor for emerging artists. I am enthusiastic about creating community events and arts education opportunities for all ages that relate to art and creativity.
I’m also on the board of directors of The Society of Northern Alberta Print Artists and The Alberta Craft Council.
Q: What mediums do you work with? How would you describe your subject matter? What themes seem to occur/reoccur in your work?
A: I primarily work with glass and I am a woodblock print artist. I have a daily drawing practice where I work out ideas and document the world around me.
I would describe my subject matter as a celebration of colour and light; the effect it has on a space and our interaction with it.
The themes that occupy my work are inspired and derived from nature. My process involves drawing collected objects from nature and refining those objects into beautiful shapes, textures and colour.
“Brenda Malkinson’s colour woodblock prints and drawings are concerned with the incarnation of fragmentation. A text or object upon which time and fate has changed reveals itself in the form of a fragment. Bits and pieces resembling remnants of aged cloth, manuscripts, weathered leaves and petals, insect trails, colour and shadows. Brenda is curious about her impulse to gather such relics; but there is a deeper inclination, a mystifying urge to explore how fragments can manifest into other matter, evidence, beliefs and circumstances.” -Artists Statement (Woodblock Prints)
Q: What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
A: Colour is the main stimulus that fuels my work. I have made it my life’s work to study and research the origins, history, culture and elements of colour. The books Colour, Travels Through the Paint Box, by Victoria Finlay and Bright Earth, Art and the Invention of Colour by Phillip Ball are constant companions in my studio and have inspired me to travel in search of colour and the artists who make it and use it. I have recently returned from a trip where I studied Indigo dye with a master craftsman whose family has been growing and making indigo for over a thousand years.
Q: What inspired you to submit a proposal? Where did you draw your conceptual inspiration from?
A: I was inspired to submit a proposal for a number of reasons. I was born and educated in Calgary and graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design. And King Edward School was my parents Alma Mater. They met there and married soon after my Dad returned from World War II.
Also, I reflected on the multiple and diverse groups of creatives that will cohabit and collaborate within and around cSPACE. The significance of connection reverberated in my mind, connections that link the city, the visionaries, the funders, the builders, the designers, the artists and the community that has joined forces to build the vision of a 21st Century Arts Hub and Incubator.
My inspiration came from the concept of connection by embracing the idea of a vibrant group of people working together to celebrate the arts. A definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary states that connection is “the act of connecting two of more things that have the same cause, origin and/or goal.”
This led to the idea of using the universal, friendly and familiar form of the circle to symbolize interlocking disciplines, groups and ideas. The Oxford dictionary definition includes that the circle is “a group of people with shared professions, interests, or acquaintances.”
The circle is the most common and universal sign, found in all cultures. It encompasses an aesthetic sensibility for all. It is a beautiful shape that evokes delight, play, movement and the celebration of culture, spirit and place.
Q: What do you think cSPACE King Edward will mean for the Calgary community?
A: I believe that cSPACE King Edward will enrich the Calgary community by bringing together diverse range of individuals and groups that will contribute in a multitude of ways especially by creating communities within communities that work together with one another in creative and dynamic ways. These kinds of interactions will result in a collective voice and represent the vibrant arts community to the city for the benefit of all.
cSPACE King Edward will become a destination of choice for the residents of Calgary and visitors to the city. It is a model for future initiatives of this kind in other cites.
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