Recorders and Keepers

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Dance Hall
small town, painting, acrylic, prairie culture, community, facade, symbol, stark, community, commemoration,glitter, building, architectural, remembrance, memories, Dance hall, recreation, faux, folk art, funk, popular culture, metaphor, intense colour, meaning, iconic, war, painting, brick building, dance hall, red poppy
description

David Thauberger’s  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  Dance Hall, depicting a brick building with the words “MEMORIAL HALL” above its doors, could be seen as having an  ironicUsing the opposite to express what is really meant or expected. Irony can also be something absurd or laughable that occurs when what happens and what might be expected to happen are opposites.  title.

However, it might also be safe to assume that the building was actually used, at one point, as a dance hall. Dance halls were, and in some cases still are, central to small-town prairie culture. They serve as social meeting places, event spaces, and cultural hubs. They are the rural equivalent of the nightclub, the community centre, or the civic square.

This particular building was built originally as a Memorial Hall, as indicated by the sign over the door. Moreover, the building’s façade carries a large red poppy, the  symbolVisual image that represents something else.  of fallen Canadian soldiers. This building seems to have been constructed as a commemoration of soldiers who lost their lives in wartime; in other words, the building was created as a way of maintaining an awareness of history.

Its conversion into a dance hall has replaced the building’s focus on the past with a purpose focused on the future. As a dance hall, it is a space of present fun, enjoyment and activity rather than being one of past loss, grieving, and sobriety. But in picturing the building, artist David Thauberger has cleverly returned the building, at least metaphorically, to its former state. While the title tells us that this is a dance hall, a place of pleasure and activity, the sign over the door (“Memorial Hall”) and indeed the very act of recording the building in a  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  suggest that its function as a place of remembrance is the true defining characteristic of the brick structure. Thus the building has undergone a transformation in culture from being a place of recollection, to a place of present enjoyment, and finally back to a place (image) of recollection.

additional resources Adding Physical Elements to His Painting
Duration: 2:41 min
Size: 11770kb
How He Got His Start
Duration: 2:51 min
Size: 13125kb
How Saskatchewan Folk Artists Influenced His Work
Duration: 2:48 min
Size: 12590kb
Interview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Duration: 3:35 min
Size: 15193kb
The Driving Rain
Duration: 2:04 min
Size: 9272kb
Using a Camera as a Sketching Tool & Using Tape to Mask an Image
Duration: 2:18 min
Size: 9972kb
Things to Think About
  • Try to create a list of buildings near you that have been used for various purposes. Were all of these purposes the ones for which the buildings were designed originally, or have people become innovative in how they use the spaces?
  • How does Dance Hall demonstrate Thauberger’s appreciation of folk art?
  • Find out more about Thauberger’s early teacher, Russell Yuristy. How are the two artists’ styles or practices similar or different? For information on Russell Yuristy, go to:
Online Activity
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Heightened colour

Heightened colour means colour that is used for its colour intensity. Change the colour of the photos you see here from natural to heightened colour.

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Studio Activity

In his paintings David Thauberger uses flat shapes and heightened  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  that mimics folk art, and he applies this  folk artThe production of art by untrained amateurs for their own enjoyment. Style in folk art is influenced by a combination of the artist’s culture and art history.   styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  to  iconicOf a picture; a sculpture, or even a building, when regarded as an object of veneration. (Artlex.com)  prairie architecture as in Dance Hall. Another way in which Thauberger emulates folk artists is through the incorporation of other unconventional objects into his work. In the case of Dance Hall, if you look closely, you can see that Thauberger has added glitter to the painting; suggesting the fun and glimmering attraction of the Dance Hall in its day.

Create an  acrylicSynthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a synthetic vehicle made from polymerized acrylic acid esters, the most important of which is polymethyl methacrylate. First used by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of their versatility. They can be used on nearly any surface, in transparent washes or heavy impasto, with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finishes. Acrylic paints dry quickly, do not yellow, are easily removed with mineral spirits or turpentine, and can clean up with soap and water.(Artlex.com)   paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  on  canvasCommonly used as a support for oil or acrylic painting, canvas is a heavy woven fabric made of flax or cotton. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground. Linen — made of flax — is the standard canvas, very strong, sold by the roll and by smaller pieces. A less expensive alternative to linen is heavy cotton duck, though it is less acceptable (some find it unacceptable), cotton being less durable, because it's more prone to absorb dampness, and it's less receptive to grounds and size. For use in painting, a piece of canvas is stretched tightly by stapling or tacking it to a stretcher frame. A painting done on canvas and then cemented to a wall or panel is called marouflage. Canvas board is an inexpensive, commercially prepared cotton canvas which has been primed and glued to cardboard, suitable for students and amateurs who enjoy its portability. Also, a stretched canvas ready for painting, or a painting made on such fabric. Canvas is abbreviated c., and "oil on canvas" is abbreviated o/c.  (Artlex.com)  of prairie architecture that references David Thauberger’s artistic style.

Studio Activity

Design a 3-D building to populate a growing prairie town with buildings.

  • Use one of your chosen artist’s artworks as the inspiration for your future prairie town building.  Look for any kind of building, including service garages, churches or cathedrals, stores, homes, hotels, art galleries, sports arenas, curling rinks, museums, universities, schools, music stores, dog grooming service centres, hospitals, clinics, movie theatres, city halls, etc.
Studio Activity

David Thauberger initially worked with  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  as a  ceramicsPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  artist.  Over his art career he has been influenced by the art movement known as funk art.  FunkAn art movement in the 1950’s and 60’s that grew from a reaction against abstract expressionism. In California, the Funk Art movement was embraced by clay artists who were instrumental in moving clay from it’s traditionally functionally role to that of a sculptural art form. Artists often combined a play on words (puns), the popular culture and their own environments as inspiration for their often humorous imagery.  art reflected  popular cultureLow (as opposed to high) culture, parts of which are known as kitsch and camp. With the increasing economic power of the middle- and lower-income populace since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, artists created various new diversions to answer the needs of these groups. These have included pulp novels and comic books, film, television, advertising, "collectibles," and tract housing. These have taken the place among the bourgeois once taken among the aristocracy by literature, opera, theater, academic painting, sculpture, and architecture. But modernist artists rarely cultivated the popular success of these new cultural forms. Modernist works were little appreciated outside of a small elite. Life magazine's 1950s articles on the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956), and the silkscreened paintings by Andy Warhol (American, 1928?-1987) of soup cans and celebrities signaled unprecedented fusions between high and low art and the transition to the postmodern age. (Artlex.com)  and reacted against the art world of the 1960s and 1970s, and often used humour, autobiographical references as well vulgarity and confrontation at times.

Funk art helped clay to be considered a sculptural material rather than strictly a  craftThe production of work involving the use of skilled hands.  material. Non-utilitarian or non-functional ceramic art was an important part of the  funkAn art movement in the 1950’s and 60’s that grew from a reaction against abstract expressionism. In California, the Funk Art movement was embraced by clay artists who were instrumental in moving clay from it’s traditionally functionally role to that of a sculptural art form. Artists often combined a play on words (puns), the popular culture and their own environments as inspiration for their often humorous imagery.  art movement, especially in Regina.

Create a ceramic piece that follows the  funkAn art movement in the 1950’s and 60’s that grew from a reaction against abstract expressionism. In California, the Funk Art movement was embraced by clay artists who were instrumental in moving clay from it’s traditionally functionally role to that of a sculptural art form. Artists often combined a play on words (puns), the popular culture and their own environments as inspiration for their often humorous imagery.  art concerns and style.

References

Decoursey, Elaine, Don Kerr, Dan Ring, and Matthew Teitelbaum. Saskatoon Imagined: Art and Architecture in the Wonder City.  Exhibition catalogue.  Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1989.

Tousley, Nancy.  ‘David Thauberger: Paintings, Drawings and Prints.’  Parachute, Spring, 1981.

White, Peter. David Thauberger: Paintings 1978–1988. Exhibition catalogues.  MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1988.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning