Whether you’re looking to buy a piece of art or just appreciate the talent of Saskatchewan and Canadian artists, there’s something for everyone at Regina commercial art galleries. My partner and I recently spent a Saturday afternoon gallery hopping to Nouveau Gallery (2146 Albert Street), Assiniboia Gallery (2266 Smith Street), Slate Fine Art Gallery (2078 Halifax Street) and Mata Gallery (106 - 2300 Broad Street).
Nouveau Gallery opened in 2005, but its previous incarnation, the Susan Whitney Gallery, was in operation since 1979. The gallery brushes the edge of both downtown and the Cathedral neighbourhood and is owned by Meagan Perreault. If that name sounds familiar, the answer is yes, she is renowned Regina painter Wilf Perreault’s daughter.
Meagan says that as a child, she hated going to galleries with her parents. On trips, her father insisted that they go to galleries before they could go to kid-friendly places like swimming pools. “It’s amazing how things change. I used to not like going to art exhibition openings with my parents. Now, I ask them if they want to be my date,” she laughs.
What’s striking about this gallery is the building itself. Once you walk through the typical gallery space, there’s a cozy seating area, and a loft where a huge Wilf Perreault painting will greet you at the top of the stairs. Another thing that makes it special? The gallery cat, an orange tabby named Monet, who often runs to the front door to greet guests.
Some great local artists represented by Nouveau Gallery are Wilf Perreault, Ted Godwin, Jeannie Mah and Lorne Beug. For more, visit www.nouveaugallery.com.
Established in 1977, by Mary and Jeremy Weimer, the Assiniboia Gallery showcases contemporary and traditional art. About 50 per cent of the artists it represents live in Saskatchewan, and the majority of the others have a connection to the province. The gallery's selection includes original paintings, jewellery, blown glass, ceramics and photography.
Located in a renovated circa 1905 house, the gallery is within walking distance of Regina's downtown hotels, shops and restaurants. In addition to the gallery on the main floor, there is a professional framing department on the lower level. I can attest that it is a fantastic place to get your favourite art framed.
One thing I noticed about all of the work in the gallery was that, in addition to the full sticker price, each label included monthly payment plan information. Like many other galleries, Assiniboia offers financing options, so you can spread payments over a series of months or even years.
You can find work there by Allen Sapp, William Perehudoff, Dorothy Knowles, David Dreher and Sheila Kernan. For more, visit www.assiniboiagallery.com.
Slate Fine Art Gallery
Located in the Heritage Neighbourhood, Slate Fine Art Gallery features contemporary art from Canadian artists, the majority of whom are from Saskatchewan. The gallery is the brainchild of Kimberley Fyfe and Gina Fafard (the daughter of celebrated local sculptor, Joe Fafard), who opened the gallery in 2013. They describe the art they represent as “modern and innovative with visual strength, sophistication and lasting impact.”
Fyfe previously worked at Nouveau Gallery and MacKenzie Art Gallery before deciding to start her own business. “I like giving artwork good homes,” she says. “It’s kind of like owning an adoption agency!”
In addition to monthly exhibitions, Slate holds live performances such as concerts by musicians like Joël Fafard and Kasy and Clayton, and events like the book launch for Governor General’s Literary Award-winning author Dianne Warren.
Slate represents Joe Fafard, Michael Hosaluk, Zachari Logan, Jack Sures, David Thauberger, Russell Yuristy and many others. For more, visit slategallery.ca.
Although it was launched in 2014, Mata Gallery has a long history in Regina. You may remember it by its former name, Mysteria Gallery, which was located in Cathedral and operated for 17 years. The gallery is owned by Chad Jacklin and Marlo Gebhardt, who changed the name when they moved locations to south of Broad and 15th. Mata means “eye” in Malayo-Polynesian languages and “again” or “moreover” in Japanese.
When we visited the gallery, it happened to be the opening reception for Moose Jaw ceramic artist Rob Froese’s exhibition, Unidentified Objects. There were a number of local artists in attendance, and it was great to see the show in this fun, casual atmosphere. Plus, who can resist art alongside tasty snacks?
I asked Jacklin why he started the gallery. He says, “Throughout history, art has been the universal language that connects us all. It’s a common trait among people – it’s how we understand each other.”
While the gallery does represent Canadian artists, almost 95 per cent are from Saskatchewan. Some include David Garneau, Sandra Ledingham, Heather Cline, Gerri Ann Siwek and Don Hall. For more, visit matagallery.ca.
Photos by Chad Mario