Catalog available at the
Art Gallery of Grande Prairie
In the fall of 1980, Carmen Haakstad and Jim Stokes took a trip out to the Haakstad homestead near La Glace, Alberta, and made a pact that would influence the course of their lives. Carmen, who at 24, was the director/curator of Grande Prairie's Prairie Gallery, dreamed of someday working as a full-time artist. His younger friend, Jim, at 21, was already living that dream, but was searching for more meaningful inspiration in his work. The two found it in the changing landscape out along Emerson Trail, where prairie farm families who had toiled the land since the early 20th century were experiencing the rapid changes that had accompanied Alberta's newfound status as a wealthy oil-producing province.
On that day, the two young men vowed to make the most of their talents in a way that celebrated the prairie culture they had thrived in, and to someday co-host an exhibition that paid tribute to both the land and those had worked hard to create a life there. Thirty years later, having taken vastly different routes in their careers, but remaining true to their pact to give their best to the land that had so inspired them, Carmen Haakstad and Jim Stokes created their duo exhibition Journey 2012. This accompanying catalogue relates their personal journeys and those of their homesteading ancestors, and features artwork inspired by the Peace Country's bountiful prairie landscapes.
Jim Stokes, Artist Statement
It has been a very enjoyable process to put this show together. I am very pleased to show my latest paintings of landscapes, still lifes and portraits. As well it is very liberating to finally complete some paintings that I have gnawed away at for many years.
I love to paint this wonderful Peace River country, and the larger prairie parkland environment of western Canada. For many years I have done a great deal of figure drawing which I enjoy as a difficult challenge and the best way I know of to hone and fine tune the skills of an artist.
Starting out in art some 33 odd years ago I consciously decided to try as many methods and mediums as possible. Although there are just a few modest examples in the show, the last year has found me obsessed with experimental and alternative methods of casting metal and making ceramics! I hope people will enjoy this exhibit of mostly new work with a few glances back.
Carmen Haakstad, BFA, Artist Statement
Since childhood I have seen images in wood. As an artist, I try to enhance the image so others can enjoy the beauty that can be seen in many things, each and every day, if we take the time to look. Life should not be about the art, it should be an art.
"Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted" -Einstein.
Each day is a challenge to right brain individuals to accept that all things that are important can be measured when you truly believe, the greatest things in life cannot be measured or counted, but if you have faith they can be counted on!