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Cosmos at the Glenbow


Where can you see DNA across the galaxy and read what astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk has to say about it? At a new exhibition at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum curated by Mary-Beth Laviolette and including artists Erik Olson, Margaret Nazon and Gathie Falk. When Mary-Beth invited me to the opening, she asked me if there was time to do some space travel.

As I entered the gallery, Mary-Beth immediately took me over to meet artist Erik Olson. The colour of his planet portraits is so vivid and lively in the darkness of the room. On a quick glance, my mind rhymed the mnemonic 'Matilda visits every Monday, just stays until noon....period.' Yes, the planets are in order. Olson's paintings take into account the planets' geological reality, and also incorporate their Greek and Roman mythology.

We next met artist Margaret Nazon. She has created a unique art form by combining the traditional beading of her Gwich'n heritage with her love of astronomy, her life of looking into the dark night sky from her home near the Arctic Circle, and her interest in the photographs of the Hubble Telescope. Her work is very impressive.

The third artist represented in the Cosmos exhibition is Gathie Falk. She is now over 90 years of age, and not present at the opening. She has themed her artwork on contemplating the universe. Some of the work on display here is from her 2004 exhibition called Heavenly Bodies and additional work is from 2015 Heavenly Bodies Again.

A final thread that ties all this artwork together is the commentary by retired Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk. His perspectives on selected works, found on distinct gallery text labels, enriches our experience and challenges our thinking.


Cosmos at the Glenbow runs until January 6, 2019. I hope you get the opportunity to visit this exhibition. If you are a teacher, consider what a great enrichment activity this would be for your students. Glenbow Museum is a member of the Society of Educational Resource Groups (SERG). Be sure to check first with the Glenbow if you are going there with a group of students.

Link of interest: Glenbow Museum – Cosmos Exhibition

Cosmos at the Glenbow

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