Recent News about Nikki Gour
A Written Critique on the Painting "Mother Nature Meets Industrial Revolution"
Mother Nature Meets Industrial Revolution 
Size: 28 1/4" x 34 1/2"
Medium: Mixed Media & Resin on Canvas
Series: Ready-Made


Art Critique 2012
Written by: Mr. Andrew Seale
As I explored the small Endeavor gallery in Calgary’s beltline I stumbled upon a few abstract pieces which fascinated my mind and told a deep story. The piece I selected to critique is called Mother Nature Meets Industrial Revolution, by Nikki Gour. It is composed of many readymade objects which are reshaped and covered in a heavy duty resin mixed with paint. Nikki has taken a canvas and covered it in what appears to be autumn leaves which have been shaped out of mesh and painted various yellow and orange tones. The leaves are not completely pasted onto the canvas, they stick out from the painting giving the effect of a pile of leaves like you would find in fall. The fine mesh is visible giving each leaf a manufactured look to it, yet each one is outlined with a thick colored layer of resin which gives each leaf a natural look. The resin continues into the centre of each leaf outlining the major veins you find in a live leaf. The most striking part of this piece is the large metal object careening across the centre of the painting. It appears to be smothering the leaves, pressing them into the canvas. This object has perfect circles cut out of it showing its manufactured look.

Looking at the information card adjacent to the painting I noticed the name and looked back into the painting noticing nature how nature is portrayed as smothered with technology and cold steel. The leaves are also yellow, gold and red which are the colors of fall. Leaves in fall change from summer’s lush green to yellow and copper tones. This symbolizes their death as the tree prepares to go dormant before the bleak cold winter sets in. I interpreted the piece as a symbol of what we are doing to our planet. Since the Industrial Revolution we have been building empires of steel and concrete as we destroy more and more of our natural world. The colors of the leaves I believe symbolize the decline of our natural world as we uproot it in order to increase our wealth and consumerism. The steel object symbolizes the cold non living objects which are smothering our natural world. One last thing I found interesting about this piece is the fact that the leaves themselves are clearly made from man made objects. she made no effort to hide the mesh they are made of which also shows how the world we know has become manufactured.

I had the chance to speak with Niiki in person once I completed my interpretation of the piece. The image she was trying to portray was that of consumerism and how our world of manufacturing has been pushing out the natural world, almost destroying it. Ever since the Industrial Revolution factories of steel and concrete have displaced the natural world and cities have become major centres which pollute and aid in destroying more of our natural world. The metal piece which is actually screwed onto the canvas symbolyzes our cold manufactured world which is pressing our planet to its limits, and is slowly killing it in the process. The leaves which are also manufactured (Made from wire mesh) and not natural but manufactured. Nikki wanted to show that everything we have today in our modern world is manufactured, almost nothing is unique or one of a kind.

The artist has used ready made mediums to create a piece which is supposed to portray the destructive power the industrial revolution had on our world. As I examined Mother Nature Meets Industrial Revolution this is exactly what was running through my mind. Nikki Gour was absolutely successful with the portrayal of her message through this image. We also talked about other responses to the piece and she noted that many were confused with what she was trying to portray in the painting, not fully understanding the fact that our civilization and way of life today is taking its toll our on this planet. I attributed my immediate understanding with the background I have in Geography. Having taken many courses over the past few years on the environment and climate change I have an intimate understanding with the issue and am actively working and informing to try and counter the effects we are witnessing today. To sum up the critique, I believe an educated audience will understand this piece and her portrayal of the issue is clear. To those who do not have an education, or are unfamiliar with the major issues at hand the image may have little meaning.


References:
Artist: Nikki Gour by phone and website nikkigour.ca
Gallery: Endeavor Art Gallery

Calgarians Pledge 7,000+ Volunteer Hours at 6th Annual Timeraiser

Jill Belland, co-host of the 6th Annual Timeraiser, with Travis Porter.

Jill Belland, co-host of the 6th Annual Timeraiser, with Travis Porter.

A brilliant blend of selflessness and selfishness, the volunteer Timeraiser hit Flames Central on June 16, raising 7,115 hours of volunteer time for local charities and non-profit organizations.

Calgarians promised their time and talent to the maximum of 150 hours per year to local non-profits, including the Art Gallery of Calgary, The Cerebral Palsy Association and the YWCA, among dozens of others for a chance at one of 25 locally made pieces of art on display.

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Megan Weir and Sveta Shustova attending the Cerebral Palsy Association booth at the Timeraiser.

Roger Kingcade from X92.9FM and Jill Belland from CityTV hosted the sold-out party, which transformed Flames Central into a bustling market of booths from non-profits competing for volunteers. Pledgers went from booth to booth trying to find a fit for their skills and interests, while attendants peddled the merits of their organizations to the crowd.

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Philanthropic partygoers John Landry and Miles Kramer with local artist Nicole Gour.

The Timeraiser presents meaningful volunteer opportunities to skilled young professionals in their twenties and thirties, and in so doing, it benefits volunteers, community organizations and artists alike. Volunteers acquire a career-oriented opportunity that pads the resumé, organizations get a few hours of pro bono skilled labour and artists get fair market value for their work. Can’t find a losing party in that group.

Best of all, after you put your hours in, you get a shiny new piece of artwork to decorate your living room. I’d say that’s time well spent.

Learn more about this innovative program at timeraiser.ca.

 
 

Festival of Trees raises funds despite smaller crowd at gala

By Kristjanna Grimmelt

Nov 2010

 Jennifer Thietke, organizer, said the festival raised $11,400, the most it's raised in the four years she's organized the event, through the live auction of trees on Saturday. The Festival sold fewer tickets to Friday's gala than last year, however - something Thietke thought might be due to a slower economy.

Major sellers included a traditional tree by Gagnon Farms called "All I want for Christmas," purchased for $1,450 by Dave Adams at Peace River Ford, and "Farmers Feed the World," a tree made mainly of kitchen utensils by artist Nikki Gour and sold to Brian Reading for $600.

Thietke praised Julie Gour, decorator; Brenda Brochu, volunteer coordinator; and Brooke Corey, a dedicated volunteer who worked tirelessly on the event.

Winners are as follows: Best Christmas Tradition-Themed Tree, "Spice up Your Christmas" by J-Wire Electric; Best Stiched Item, "Let it Snow" by the Peace River Sew 'n' Sews; Best Festive Lawn Decoration, "Cozy and Comfy" by Modern Paint; Best Home Decor Item, "Mitten Advent Calendar" by the Peace River Sew 'n' Sews; Most Original Tree, "Farmers Feed the World" donated by Lavoie Ventures and created by Nikki Goor; and Most Beautiful Tree, "Angels Among Us" by Nomad Electrical Contractors Ltd. The People's Choice Award was announced after press time and will appear in next week's Record-Gazette. Please see page C1 for more on the festival.

 
Sculpture Unveilling

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Local artists exhibit at downtown train station
Written by AARON CHATHA
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 15:44

thumb_Nikki_Gour_1Open Spaces: A Window to a View continues with two new featured artists for the month of October.

Nikki Gour and Peter Greendale have pieces displayed in windows at the TELUS Convention centre, seen by C-Train passengers at the station.


“We wanted to give local artists the opportunity to display at a visible location,” Stacey Dyck, program coordinator with the City of Calgary public art program, explained.

The Open Spaces program will feature 10 artists, featured in pairs, chosen from open calls placed earlier in the year. Each pair of artists is featured for two months at the TELUS Convention Centre windows, before being replaced by the next pair of artists.

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Nikki Gour works in sculpture and found objects from her studio. She studied at the Alberta Academy of Arts and Design and now works full time as an artist.
Photo: Aaron Chatha/ Calgary Journal
The program is run by the City of Calgary as a way for local artists to exhibit their work in a highly visible location. The TELUS Convention Centre loaned the windows to the program, as they were not currently in use.

Nikki Gour has been a professional artist since she quit her job in October of last year. She received an email about the opportunity last spring and decided it was something worth pursuing.

“I loved that fact that you are in such a public place,” Gour said, “You’re dealing with the public, you’re dealing with the corporate world.”

Gour has a number of sculptures in the window display, but she spoke about one particular piece at length.

“I wanted to create the letters ‘A-R-T’ out of money.”

Gour’s first idea was to create block letters out of quarters.

“I talked to an engineer about that and it would have cost me a quarter of a million dollars to do,” admitted Gour, who did not have that kind of money to take out of circulation.

“Then I had to change my idea, (so) it went from quarters to pennies. And then the sculpture would be smaller, about two feet high.”

Financially, Gour was still unsure how she was going to get enough coins for the piece. As time went on, Gour told a close friend about the project, who in turn shared the idea with a girl that volunteered with her.

A few weeks later, that girl brought Gour $45 in pennies. Amazed at her generosity, Gour began work on the piece. She found dollar holders to fill out the spaces around the letters, but was still $42 short. Her friend called back with $44.50 in pennies, donated by that same girl. Gour finished the piece with a mirror.

“I think mirrors are a good tool to show people themselves, where you’re using it to project an idea onto the viewer. So with a mirror behind these letters made out of money, the viewers looking at it, but at the same time their seeing their reflection. So you’re projecting these idea that art holds money onto the viewer.”

Gour has a degree and five years of training at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

She has been drawing from a very young age and finally decided pursue art full-time last year. Previously she worked in the financial district.

“I quit my job in October of last year and I was so scared. Just because you’re letting go of that security blanket of having that paycheque every few weeks,” Gour said.

Soon after making the decision, she held an art show in Peace River, Alberta, her hometown. She sold seven pieces and drew in over 200 people to see her work.

Gour prefers working with sculptures and objects.

“There’s something about found objects…they carry an a previous assumption. I take a material with an aspect I really like and I try to intensify that (feeling).”

Gour used pushpins as an example. She glued the pins to a mannequin torso, with the pins facing outwards, to intensify the pain aspect of the pins. The piece was inspired by an ex-lover.

Gour hopes to one day feature her art in New York, but for now she is hosting an exhibit in Art Central. More of Gour’s work can be found at www.nikkigour.ca

 
Sculpting an artistic future
By Ivan Danielewicz

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It’s been a dream since she was young and now she’s finally living it.

Nikki Gour grew up in Peace River knowing that she wanted to be an artist one day. Now she has quit her job and has begun to focus on what makes her happy: sculpture and painting.

“Ever since I was young I wanted to be an artist,” said Gour with a laugh. “I would just sit and draw pictures of horses.”

Gour is standing amongst some of her latest pieces of art at an exhibition at the Bell Petroleum Centre last weekend.

This is her first show in Peace River since graduating from the Academy of Art and Design in Calgary in 2006, where she studied sculpture.

Read more...
 
Nikki Gour finds meaning in the masses
Artist of the Week
By Kristjanna Grimmelt, R-G Staff

Patrons at nearby tables couldn’t help but stare as Nikki Gour pulled one of her most popular sculptures from a shopping bag. Feed me, a welded bustier of forks, knives, spoons, and a ribbon of pink lace fastened at the back, warrants the attention.

“I like to take functional, manufactured objects and create large works of art out of them,” explains Gour.

A BFA grad from Calgary’s Alberta College of Art and Design, she has worked with everything from push-pins to bouncy balls to puzzle pieces. Feed Me, originally a school project, bears strong social critique.

“I was playing with utensils I bought in a thrift store. I thought about function in relations to our bodies, and about ideas of women.”

Gour feels everyone has emotional ties to manufactured items.

“I would like for people to see my work based on the materials being used in relation to their life experience with that material, and then create their own meaning.” Though Gour began with plaster and other traditional media, she quickly discovered her preference.

Read more...
 


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