Edmonton's Bleeding Heart Art Space opens gallery walls to all artists

An Edmonton art gallery is opening its doors and display space to artists of all backgrounds and skill levels this month as part of its Open Walls exhibit.

Gallery director hopes exhibit will open doors to new audiences

The Open Walls exhibit will wrap up at the Bleeding Hearts Art Space on Nov. 14. (Isabelle Gallant/CBC)

An Edmonton art gallery is opening its doors and display space to artists of all backgrounds and skill levels this month as part of its Open Walls exhibit.  

Dave von Bieker with The Bleeding Heart Art Space likens the event to an open mic night for artists, which means visitors never know what they're going to get.
Gallery director Dave von Bieker poses with one of the art pieces on display. (Isabelle Gallant/CBC)

Nearly 40 artists submitted work to the show. Most are paintings, but there are also a few photographs and sculptures.

Von Bieker got the idea for the show from a similar open wall event held at the former Edmonton Art Gallery nearly a decade ago.

"I was just astounded by, not just the beauty of each individual piece, but seeing all that together — that left a real impression on me," he said of the earlier exhibit.

That inclusive element is something missing in the modern art scene, where many see barriers between the public world and the art world, he said.

"We'll see people walk by (the gallery)," he said. "They'll look in, kind of curious, and you can tell they want to enter but they're not sure this world is for them."

Von Bieker is hoping exhibits like Open Walls will help break that divide. Visitors won't find any artist statements, no explanations of what a piece means.

That alone is enough to scare off some artists, he said.

"This piece of you just sits out there to be judged and viewed by other people … but vulnerability is always the start of community as well."

'She’s such a funny dog, I had to paint her,' 17-year-old Samantha Hoshizaki says of her canine subject. (Samantha Hoshizaki)

Among the works on display is a Warhol-inspired abstract painting of a Boston terrier, painted by 17-year-old Samantha Hoshizaki.

"She's such a funny dog, I had to paint her," Hoshizaki said of her subject.

Hoshizaki tried to capture her dog's sassy energy in her Warhol-inspired submission to the show. (Samantha Hoshizaki)

Hoshizaki has been painting since she was seven, but only started to take it seriously in the past few years. This is her first gallery show.

"It's a new experience for me and it's taught me a lot about how great it is to have your work shown, and to have the positive feedback from not just your family, from other people that you don't know."

The Open Walls exhibit will be on display at the Bleeding Heart Art Space, located at 9132 118th Avenue, until Nov. 14.


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