Dick Averns

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Dick Averns' Validation
Recognition…Validation…Reassurance… Art + Mental Wellness | Photo: Courtesy of Dick Averns

Dick Averns

The content of my multi-disciplinary practice recalibrates the commodification of space: probing how spaces are valued, bought, sold, exchanged, or even fought over. Language, identity politics and media convergence—arbiters of spatial control—are wrought through sculpture, performance, video, text-based art, photography and installation, often as public art. Artistic influences include Krzysztof Wodiczko, Jenny Holzer, and Francis Alÿs, with theoretical interests rooted in social sculpture, relational practices and counter-monuments. Thematic examples found in my work include socio-political issues such as mental health, democracy and freedom of speech, environmental themes including water and energy consumption, and contemporary war art.

Creating socially impactful art is at the core of my practice, often produced through projects in the public domain for a passing audience. Recent examples include the social practice public art initiative Recognition… Validation… Reassurance… Art + Mental Wellness, featuring community workshops and participant art disseminated on billboards, buses and trains.

As a non-fiction writer I was deployed as an official war artist to the Middle East with Canadian Forces, and on the related topic of territory and authority have mounted the ongoing performative project Ambivalence Blvd in the UK, US, and Canada for two decades. An overriding concern is creating art that has the potential to engage, promote dialogue and diversity, foster community wellness, and grapple with contested ground through aesthetic means.

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Contact Calgary Arts Development’s Communications team at 403.264.5330 ext. 211 or by email at events@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.