Another Look: 20 Years of the Art Auction
Another Look is an occasion to reflect on 20 years of contemporary art collecting in southern Alberta. Through SAAG’s annual Art Auction, our community has had the opportunity to acquire contemporary artworks not otherwise available in our small prairie city. Some of our long-term supporters have amassed impressive collections almost entirely through this event. It is our intention to celebrate the artists and collectors who have contributed to the success of the Art Auction and who have helped us engage our community in contemporary art of the highest calibre.
The act of collecting, in this instance, is intimately intertwined with the history of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and its central role in the development of a vibrant arts community in Lethbridge. As a fledgling organization, SAAG had ambitious goals not simply to respond to national and international trends in art, but to actively expand contemporary art discourse. This unwavering focus, combined with a desire to “bring the art world to Lethbridge”, developed an appetite for contemporary art in our city, which rivals that of larger international centers.
The first Art Auction, held in 1993, coincided with the exhibition Looking Back, which featured artists who exhibited at SAAG from 1976 to 1980. Many of the artists in this exhibition, including Iain Baxter, Dennis Burton, Gathie Falk, Ron Martin and Billy J McCarroll, just to name a few, graciously donated artworks to SAAG’s first auction, setting an impressive precedent for the years that followed. Now in 2012, we continue to rely on the generous support of the artists who exhibit at SAAG each year. Recent contributors such as Kelly Richardson, Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Sarah Anne Johnson and Samuel Roy-Bois are being collected in major art centres across Canada and are represented in collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
Donations by exhibiting artists are perennial highlights, however the success of the Art Auction is fundamentally due to the resounding support from our community - artists, collectors and patrons who, year after year, contribute and purchase artworks and other offerings on the block. We are grateful to be a part of such a zealous and engaged community, and enjoyed being reminded of the depth and rigour with which contemporary art is circulating here. We hope you’ll enjoy taking another look, too.
Another Look is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery with works from many private collections. Thank you to those who have lent us artworks for this exhibition.