/ Greed’l Get You
July 10 – August 29
Greed’l Get You, a new exhibition of text-based work by Calgary artist John Will, continues an investigation into his fascination with his own origins in the world as an individual and an artist. Will is known as a trickster but it is beneath this dimension of his work that the viewer finds the depth of the message in his pictorial epistles.
There are over 838 works in this series, 198 of which are included in the exhibition, as well as transcribed in the book itself. These works brought together at Norberg Hall become a narrative, not only tracing aspects of Will’s life but also the life we all live in 21st century Western culture. This lends the exhibition a strong critique of the ethos of our current reality.
Text floats in the centre of colour fields ranging from white, yellow and orange to pink and black. Dark messages, for instance “Marching into Oblivion,” “A Real Shit Storm” and “Filthy Money” emerge from the coloured backgrounds. In some, single words such as “Predator,” “Hurt,” and “Death” encompass the composition. Messages of harsh honesty grab the viewers attention: “The Age of the Dilettante Breeds Homogenous Shit”, the final word overlaid on itself three times, creating a veritable pile of shit; In red the word “Blood” seeps across the words, “for Money”, partially obscuring the text, while also highlighting the dark theme. The word “Ego” appears repeatedly throughout the exhibition, a theme Will often revisits. The red text “The Talisman of Delusions” leaps out at the viewer. Painted in the middle of the piece is a donut shape in a murky yellow tone, beneath it the word “Ego” is slightly visible. This repetition of both word and theme reminds the viewer of the ego’s presence.
Greed’l Get You presents an ongoing, intensive meditation on the state of the world.There is a softness that emerges below the trickery of Will’s work. Mining his experiences, drawing together words and phrases, explicating the devastating condition of our world, Will appears to be creating a narrative of a truth that is both stark and forthright. Channeling his critical view of the world, the work in Greed’l Get You lends itself towards an investigation into the nature of being alive.
John Will is a highly regarded painter, printmaker, and performance artist with a career that spans nearly 50 years. Born in 1939, in Waterloo, Iowa, and educated at the University of Iowa (MFA 1963). John received a Fulbright Fellowship to Amsterdam and was a printer fellow at Tamarind Institute before moving to Canada in the early 70’s where he taught across Canada; all the way from NSCAD, to the University of Calgary, to the Emily Carr School of Art. John has exhibited internationally and his exceptional list of exhibitions, performance projects, writings, videos, articles and awards knows no end.
His work can be found in collections of Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the New York Public Library, the Museum of New Mexico, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and many, many more. John’s impact on his community and the Canadian art scene spans generations and will be felt for years to come.
Despite restrictions being eased in Calgary, we’ve designed a new Online Viewing Room to accompany this exceptional exhibition. For the summer JHG will remain open By Appointment throughout the week and we welcome you to Drop In on Fridays and Saturdays. Using this platform and approach, we can continue with our planned exhibition schedule while ensuring that the health and safety of our artists, collectors, clients and staff is a top priority.
John Will is a much beloved senior (81 yrs) Calgary based artist and is notorious for drawing a big crowd of collectors, fans, friends and foes. For COVID-related safety reasons, we will not be hosting a large opening reception for this exhibition. Alternatively, John has graciously agreed to “mask up” and join us each Saturday throughout the summer, between 2-4 PM (with the exception of the August long weekend). Visitors and friends are encouraged to drop-by but masks, social distancing and safety precautions will be in implemented.
Comfort and safety are top priorities for everyone these days. With that in mind, we have changed our summer hours. For those more comfortable visiting us privately, we are open By Appointment between TUESDAYS – THURSDAYS. Alternatively we invite you to Drop In at your own leisure on FRIDAYS or SATURDAYS. For visits outside of these hours, please contact us to schedule an appointment. No matter your preference, your visit be welcomed with social distancing, sanitization precautions and guidelines put in place to protect all gallery visitors and staff. We will also be limiting how many guests can attend the private viewings. To book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403.206.9942