Page 63 - 04-June-2024
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How the versatile visual artist reinvigorated her career by bathing it in violet light
In 2017, while listening to an exhibition talk with the artist, Evergon, April Dean had an epiphany: As an artist, you can just do the things you love.
Dean had been working in and around arts institutions for 10 years, first as a student, then as an arts administrator. In that time, art had acquired some bag- gage — as can happen when a love also becomes a labour — and she was strug- gling to connect to a subject. Looking at Evergon’s work — both the content and the form — Dean felt as if a lightbulb had come on. The idea that art could be fun again was nothing short of a revelation.
“You don’t have to overthink, and be crippled by the anxiety of, ‘Is this the right thing?’” she tells me in her living room on a warm Sunday morning. “You can just do things you love. And they can seem superficially silly, but they have deep meaning and that will resonate with other people.”
I’d come to visit Dean to talk about her new exhibition, In Violet Light, at the Art Gallery of St. Albert until July 6. The show pairs work Dean has been making over the last few years with soft-sculp- tural work by the artist Taiessa. Dean’s
practice, which includes photography, printmaking, and stop-motion video, is grounded in our relationship to time. “I have always been interested in the idea of, or the philosophy of time.” For her, our experience of time is incongruent with how we measure it. “Time is so elastic. It can be so fast and so slow — and I hate this idea of regulated clock time.”
Appropriately, Dean’s work deprioritizes time as a system and instead explores how we experience it. She regularly employs short, at times haunting passages of text that use tense, temporal adverbs, and collective pronouns to summon the feeling of time, often through a

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