Rick Gillis - Artist

About Me


Artist Statement


Rick Gillis


I have spent a great part of my life as a writer, editor, and news reporter, but it has long been my deeper desire to present my personal thoughts and feelings through a visual medium. Various attempts on a number of occasions over the past several years met with frustration and defeat. I was not, as I thought, an artist after all.


It finally came to me that, had I tried writing without the necessary linguistic prerequisites, failure would have resulted there, too. It became apparent that the development of at least some rudimentary skills is necessary to create acceptable visual creations. The pursuit of that eventually allowed for the release, visually, of the many thoughts, quirks and humor that remained long stored up inside of me.


There is, admittedly, satisfaction when an individual viewing my work asks, “What does that mean?” What personally satisfies me is that this person has realized that there is, in fact, meaning to the work; an inherent allegorical interpretation. It may, in fact, have a different meaning to them, but they are often interested in knowing if that coincides with the artist’s own message.


Some might consider me a late arrival to art. Not if you consider the years spent as an “internal artist”, developing ideas that got filed away in a personal inventory, waiting to be released. One of the questions most asked of me is “Where did THAT come from?” It’s just been there, stored away, waiting for acceptable expression.


There is “theme” to my work, but only if you are willing to interpret “theme” in the broadest possible way. The art is representative of a personal journey through dark periods, light and frivolous times, and periods of thoughtful introspection. At every stage there has also been an interest in experimentation with a whole range of methodologies and medias, from rusty, distressed sheet iron, burlap, sandblasting sand, wood, leather and much more. Along the way there have been forays into sculptural and semi-sculptural work as well as digital art and performance.


My personal definition of “artist” is a person who is unafraid to express him or herself, make mistakes, challenge and frustrate himself, and do it all in relative obscurity, with little regard for any form of public acceptance or recognition.


A few years back I went to my studio to find that a person had painted some graffiti on my studio wall. It reads “Why Not?” My first response was one of having my personal workspace violated. But I’ve left that graffiti there. It’s been inspirational.





Rick Gillis

Curriculum Vitae


Solo Exhibitions

2017 – The Age Of Man, Casa Concourse Gallery, Lethbridge, AB

2016 – A Journey Through My Mind, Crowsnest Pass Public Art Gallery, Frank, AB

2015 - Spirits and Abandoned Spaces, Casa Hallway Gallery, Lethbridge, AB

2014 - A Journey Through My Mind, Casa Gallery, Lethbridge AB

2007 - Metalmorphosis, Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery, Frank AB and Joan Waterfield Gallery, Lethbridge


Performances with M.E.D.I.U.M. (Performing Arts Group)

www.mediumarts.ca (for information on M.E.D.I.U.M.)

2017 – Trash Talk, Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton

2017 – Trash Talk, University of Lethbridge, Helen Cristou Gallery

2014 - Feature performers at Nuit Blanche, Calgary

2013 - Performance at closing of Dr. Soane’s Odditorium of Wonder, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Curated by Jane Edmunson

2013 - Feature performance at the Works Festival of Art and Design, Edmonton AB

- Seerious Sideshow, Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge AB



Group Exhibitions

2016 – Best of the Drawing Bar, University of Lethbridge, Helen Cristou Gallery, Lethbridge, AB

2016 – The Best of the Cabinet of Queeriosities, Works Festival, Edmonton, AB

2014 & 2015 – Cabinet of Queeriosities, Lethbridge, AB

2014 & 2015 – Love and Records, Lethbridge, AB

2014 & 2015 – En Plein Air, Coutts Centre (Nanton), U of L Penny Building Gallery, Lethbridge, AB

2014 – MmmPop, Helen Cristou Gallery, University of Lethbridge, AB

2012 - Notebook, Helen Cristou Gallery, University of Lethbridge AB

2012 - The Dick Show, Potemkin Gallery, Lethbridge, AB

2012 – Cabinet of Queeriosities, Bowman Art Centre, Lethbridge, AB

2010 - Art: Emotional or Rational, Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery, Frank AB

2010 - The Whole Is>The Sum Of Its Parts, Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge AB

2008 - Movement & Dance, Joan Waterfield Gallery, Yates Centre, Lethbridge AB

2008 - Points Of Importance, Bowman Art Centre, Lethbridge AB

2007 - Metalmorphosis, Joan Waterfield Gallery, Yates Centre, Lethbridge AB

2007 - Looking Back, Bowman Art Centre, Lethbridge AB

2005 - InSites, Bowman Art Centre, Lethbridge AB

2005 - Trap/Door: Return to Sender, Petit Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge, AB 2004 - The Gardens, Bowman Art Centre, Lethbridge AB


Potemkin Collective Exhibitions


2013 - Inaugural Exhibition, Potemkin Gallery AB

2012 - The End Is Near, Penny Building Gallery AB

2010 - BAGGAGE, exhibition in empty building (Paramount Building) Lethbridge AB

2009 - Ruin and Reclamation, exhibit in ruined building (Singer Bldg.), Lethbridge AB

2007 - Requiem for the Weekly World News, P-Pod Gallery, Lethbridge AB

2007 - Hidden Agenda: The Art of Conspiracy, Galileo’s Gallery, U of L Student Union

2006 - The Bad Art Show, Galileo’s Gallery, U of L Student Union Building, Lethbridge, AB

2005 - Catatonia, Gallery Potemkin, Oliver Building, Lethbridge, AB


Literary Achievements

2017 – Self published novel, “The Boy Who Couldn’t Die”


Professional Experience

-       Founding member of the Potemkin Collective, a contemporary arts group committed to organizing inclusive and non-hierarchical thematic exhibitions in Lethbridge


-       Member of the Burning Ground Artist Collective


Former Board Member of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery


-       Former Board Member of the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge


-       Current Member of the City of Lethbridge Public Art Steering Committee


my . artist run website