Enriching the Arts

Historical Highlights of the Alberta Society of Artists

The organization experienced significant changes since 1931

The Alberta Society of Artists has existed for 83 years, making it the oldest association of professional artists in the province. Established in 1931, perhaps the first major struggle that the society faced was the clash between two art styles – the traditional techniques espoused by founder A.C. Leighton, and the emerging modernist techniques favoured by another founder, Harry Hunt.

However, this would prove to be only the first clash between an emerging style of art against an already established art form, and the Alberta Society of Artists would witness many more changes in the arts world in the years to follow.

The Rise of Contemporary Art

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan collects pieces of contemporary artwork. This piece is titled Rocking Chairs, designed by SANAA in 2004.

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan collects pieces of contemporary artwork. This piece is titled Rocking Chairs, designed by SANAA in 2004.

A widely accepted term for artworks produced since the 1950s is the label of “contemporary art,” classified as art produced within “our lifetime” or the present period of time. One style of contemporary art that has emerged is postmodern art, the successor of modernism.

Defining features of postmodernism include values of pluralism and diversity and the eradication of anything resembling the “grand narratives” of modernism through fragmentation and collage. Postmodernism simultaneously originates from its predecessor while at the same time reacting to and rejecting its artistic tenets.

Perhaps the most defining feature of postmodernism, however, is the rejection of the barriers between low and high art, with elements of popular culture merging with postmodern artwork. This breakdown of barriers caused ripples throughout the art world, when postmodernism emerged into the scene.

This 2004 piece by artist Lawrence Weiner uses laser technology in its aluminum typography.

This 2004 piece by artist Lawrence Weiner uses laser technology in its aluminum typography.

Art and Digital Technology

The Alberta Society of Artists also experienced the ways that art changed as digital technology made more innovations possible. Any type of artwork significantly altered through technological means is considered digital art, and artists who make use of digital technology are considered digital artists.

Technology has given artists a wide variety of tools to create and enhance artworks. Additionally, the popularity of social media sites has made it easier for artists to share their artwork and find an audience.
The ease and immediacy of digital art programs and applications has also encouraged more people to experiment with creating art.

As technological innovations change and shape the art world, the Alberta Society of Artists must also grow to accommodate those changes. Although the urge to create and express oneself through works of art may never change, the tools that future artists will use to make their artworks almost certainly will.

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#305 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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