CHESTERMERE- Two artists from the community are hoping that local art-lovers will join them in celebrating the opening of the “Lost and Found” exhibit at the Resolution Gallery in Calgary this month.
Tommy Fleger and Lesley Bergen of Chestermere, along with fellow artist Kellie Krueger of East Coulee near Drumheller, will all have their work displayed for most of the month in what is being called an eco/folk art exhibit.
The show will feature Fleger’s reupholstered chairs, Bergen’s hooked rugs, and Krueger’s mosaic glass windows. Each of them has a unique process for creating their work, but the common thread is their use of recycled or found objects and materials. The show will aim to challenge viewers to reconsider the potential value of objects often viewed in society as “trash”.
Fleger, who’s unique furniture is a bit of a hit in Chestermere, said that the gallery will be something different and fun to see, but that it will also promote eco-friendly ideas.
“We’re hoping it might inspire people to be a little more eco-conscious,” he said.
Fleger said that he did general repairs and upholstery for about a decade before he got burnt out. He only began reupholstering his chairs in a more creative way in the last two years, and uses it as something fun to do for himself.
Fleger has completed multiple chairs, using clothing such as suits and ties, pairs of jeans or old jackets. He takes “once forgotten” furniture and brings it back to life with an almost human-like appearance. For example, one of his more recently completed chairs, “Don Chairy”, takes on the qualities of the person it is named after, as it features a bright patterned jacket, a tie, and a couple of hockey sticks.
“When I take something perceived as worthless and I rework it into something of value, I feel as I am repairing myself in the process,” Fleger said. “This show is like a rebirth for me as an artist.”
Fellow Chestermere resident Lesley Bergen is also eco-conscious, as she reuses materials to create one-of-a-kind hooked rugs. She brings her creations to life by taking advantage of discarded cloth and other fibers. Bergen is a mainly self-taught artist whose artistic journey has carried her all across Canada.
The third artist, Kellie Kruger, hopes her art will transform the viewer’s perception of a broken glass bottle. The concept of recycled eco-art came alive to Kruger when her husband had a heart attack in 2004. They spent six months of his recovery walking the coulees collecting almost 100 years worth of shattered glass remains.
The area was a coal mining community where 3500 miners lived from the 20’s to the 60’s. Collecting pieces of glass the miners had discarded in dumping areas captures an interesting part of early Alberta history. Kruger takes the found pieces of glass and reinvents them into mosaic glass windows.
The opening reception for the Lost and Found show will take place at Resolution Gallery on Nov. 5, from 5 to 9 p.m. It will be open to the general public, with all guests invited to wear their favorite vintage outfit.
Resolution Art Gallery is located at 233 10 St NW in Calgary. The exhibit will run from Nov. 1 to 20, and admission is free.