University of Calgary

Familiar territory

UToday HomeOctober 31, 2012

Multimedia artist and University of Calgary alumna Shelley Ouellet installing her bead-curtained Wish You Were Here (Lake Louise) in the new Nickle Galleries. Photo by Dave BrownMultimedia artist and University of Calgary alumna Shelley Ouellet installing her bead-curtained Wish You Were Here (Lake Louise) in the new Nickle Galleries. Photo by Dave BrownThis week’s Nickle at Noon features the creator of one of the university’s most treasured art installations, the massive and breathtaking bead-curtained Wish You Were Here (Lake Louise), currently on display in the We Tell Ourselves Stories exhibition at the new Nickle Galleries.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, at noon, in the Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library, multimedia artist and University of Calgary alumna Shelley Ouellet will present a free artist talk.

Ouellet works across a variety of media and focuses on community-based projects. After studying at the University of Calgary, she served as director of the city's Stride Gallery. She also rant the Carpet ’N Toast Gallery in her own home, exhibiting works by local and regional artists. Ouellet has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre, Est Nord Est, the Dunlop Art Gallery and EM/Media, and her work has been exhibited across Canada and in the U.K. She is currently an instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Ouellet’s commitment to accessibility has resulted in the development of large scale sculpture, publicity and temporary installations. Her practice aspires to recognize the importance of collective activity in advocacy, community development and the arts.

Collective activity was instrumental in the execution of Lake Louise—one of the three majestic Canadian landscapes comprising Wish You Were Here – whose 65,880 beads were strung onto 366 individual strands (cut from 5,490 feet of silver wire) by dozens of volunteer beaders. The image derives from a late-19th Century painting by Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith, Morning at Lake Louise, and effectively transforms the continuous surface of the canvas into a schematic pattern of black, white and crystal beads.

Ouellet looks forward to returning to the site of her training.

“I'm excited to speak about the influence my time at the University of Calgary has had on my career to this point,” she says. “In the fine arts department, I joined a community of peers who have supported my practice and encouraged me for more than 20 years.”

Funding for programming in the Nickle Galleries is provided by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Look ahead to this term’s remaining Nickle at Noon presentations by visiting the Events Calendar on the new Nickle Galleries’ website.