Local artists exhibit at downtown train station
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.

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

Follow me on Twitter