December 9, 2020

Chris Cran: Manifesto…What’s Next 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Noon to 5 pm

TrépanierBaer is pleased to present Chris Cran: Manifesto…What’s Next, opening Saturday, December 12, 2020.

Play, is the one activity when performed freely, naturally, and regularly, can often lead the artist into the realm of surprise, discovery, to solutions to problems, and most  importantly to innovation. Since his most recent solo exhibitions: Chris Cran: It’s Still My Vault at the Nickle Galleries (2019), and Chris Cran: At Play at Glenbow Museum (2019), Chris Cran has continued to play in his studio. His  newest manifestations of play  are part of a new series of works made with enamel paint painted on enamelled steel. These new works explore the medium’s reflective capabilities to shimmer and delight. In a recent exchange with Yves Trépanier, the artist provided context for this new body work:

Over the past few years I had been digging out old paintings that were not satisfying to me, sitting in the racks of my studio, designated as duds.  At some point I had a refreshing idea that they were not duds but were just not finished yet, and I began to rework these with some very satisfying results.

In a back room in my studio I came across some old photo finishing plates that I had purchased from a camera store that was going out of business in the early nineties. Some were stainless steel but most were black enamel on steel.  They were meant to lay a freshly developed wet photo print, face down on the surface to ensure a transfer of the smooth surface.

I used one plate as a base for a vinyl stencil transfer, and discovered that this surface took the stencil better than any base I had used over the past number of years I had been working with stencils.

I began to refine the linear properties of the work, discovering that my stencil cutter could cut lines the width of a thread and that the enamel plates would accept it with virtually no paint bleeding under the stencil. Since the surfaces are black, I have to make a positive stencil as opposed to a negative stencil for a white ground. I love the glossy black surface as it reflects, and argues with the applied paint which does not.

The tools for making art, to me, have the capacity for inspiring art.  A new discovery . . . what can I do with it?  For one thing I can revisit themes that have held my interest throughout my career.  The shadow works for example:  for years I have taken photos in museums (the Met, MOMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, Glenbow Museum) of shadows cast by sculptures, ancient and modern, or by people discussing art work, their shadows cast on a white wall.  While looking through those photos I realized that the new plates would work well in making subtle images that needed a detailed delivery in order for them to register photographic qualities. And because of the technical possibilities that were suggested, many other ideas came to mind.

Ideas, themes, tools, all of these come into play as I am making art.  I would say that PLAY is the arena in which all of these other elements operate, and always propose . . .  WHAT’S NEXT.

We look forward to seeing you at the gallery. TrépanierBaer Gallery is operating as per the most recent COVID-19 protocols put forth by the Province of Alberta. For more information, please see below.


In accordance with the new COVID-19 measures put forth by the Alberta government, TrépanierBaer is open with a limited capacity restricted to 10 people at any given time, and by appointment.

To ensure your well-being and that of our artists and staff, the gallery will operate under its (PLAN B) COVID-19 protocols:

  • Please ensure you are feeling well before visiting the gallery.
  • Mask must be worn throughout the course of your visit.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided; we ask that you sanitize your hands upon entering the gallery.
  • Visits will be limited to 30 minutes.
  • Physical distancing protocols are in place and will be monitored.
  • Please enter through the front door off 10th Avenue SW and exit though the rear doors adjacent to the building lobby.
Throughout the crisis our building operator Riverpark Properties has maintained and continues to maintain all Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 protocols. Day porter services have been increased to ensure cleanliness is maintained throughout the workday.
To book an appointment or to enquire about works,
contact us at   or 403-244-2066.

Chris Cran (born 1949, Ocean Falls, British Columbia) lives and works in Calgary, Alberta. He graduated in 1979 from the Alberta College of Art and Design (now the Alberta University of the Arts).  He has exhibited nationally and internationally; some recent exhibitions of note include: Chris Cran: It’s Still My Vault at the Nickle Galleries (2019);  Chris Cran: At Play at Glenbow Museum (2019); Chris Cran: Waiting in the Waiting Room at the Loewenbraeu-Kunst, Zurich, Switzerland (2018); and Chris Cran: Sincerely Yours at the National Gallery of Canada (2016) in a large survey exhibition (1984 – 2016) that combined exhibitions from the Art Gallery of Alberta (2015) and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (2015). He was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2002,  and is the recipient of the ACAD Alumni Award of Excellence in 2011 and the Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award in 2014. As well, he was awarded the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Lawrence J. Burpee Medal in 2018.