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Viewing Room

Dick Averns
Illuminating Language

November 19  – January 2023

Alluring, seductive and conceptually loaded, Dick Averns’ neon sculptures resonate across domains. Whether mounted in commercial or residential settings, galleries or museums, or as public art, Averns’ text-based artworks comprise a rigourous moulding of language, both conceptually and literally. Neon has been an analog staple for the artist’s studio practice for more than twenty years, with examples of his “electric glass” having been exhibited widely across Canada and the United States.

As an internationally exhibited sculptor and award-winning artist, Dick Averns has established a vibrant, socially engaged art practice. The content of his multi-disciplinary oeuvre recalibrates the commodification of space: probing how mental and physical spaces are valued, bought, sold, exchanged, and contested. Since being deployed as an official war artist to the Middle East with Canadian troops, Dick’s work has toured nationally and been featured in numerous publications. In addition to exhibiting at museums and galleries, Dick also maintains an active presence through his public art.

Averns’ art has been acquired for multiple collections, including by the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Department of National Defence, Province of Alberta, City of Calgary, and multiple private collections. The critical value of his work was recognized in 2020 when Dick received the City of Calgary Mayor’s Cultural Leaders Legacy Award for Healing Through the Arts, following a multi-year project addressing community mental wellness. Averns’ art has featured in more than thirty solo shows and over one-hundred group exhibitions, for which he is widely recognized for his alluring illuminated sculptures, text-based artworks, public installations, videos and performances.

In addition to his studio practice, Dick has taught at both the University of Calgary and the Alberta University of the Arts, winning a Teaching Excellence Award at UCalgary in 2018. Writing and art criticism are further examples of his involvement in the art community, publishing numerous essays, reviews, and articles in both art magazines and scholarly journals, catalogues and books. Dick trained at Parsons School of Design in New York and the Wimbledon School of Art in London, before receiving his Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, and continues to support fellow artists through his curating at the Founders’ Gallery, located at The Military Museums in Calgary.

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