The Gallery Mindset: Viviane Mehr, Founder/Owner, VIVIANEART
Winnie Truong and Viviane Mehr
Where is home to you?
I’ve lived in Calgary, Alberta since 2005. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere. It certainly feels like home.
How did you become involved in the art world?
This is a second career for me. I completed a Masters degree in Social Work at the University of Toronto in 1991 and worked as a Social Worker for more than fifteen years. It was when living in Vancouver from 2000 to 2005 that I started pursuing painting personally. When I moved to Calgary I decided to return to school and completed my BFA at The Alberta University of the Arts. I had my own studio practice for a few years after that and then opened my gallery in the fall of 2013.
What draws you into an artwork?
Lots of things draw me in, ultimately, what holds me is content. I love narrative and am a sucker for a message.
What makes the Canadian arts community uniquely vibrant?
We are an extremely talented lot. I think that the visual artists in Canada have so much to offer and are often under appreciated outside of Canada. We have so many top-notch artists to collect, appreciate and support.
I have also found with my involvement in both Art Toronto and Papier art fair in Montreal, a wonderful comradely among dealers and other art professionals in Canada. We benefit each other and the artists we work with when we step out of our own regions to collaborate, communicate and cross boundaries and borders.
Do you have a favourite exhibition you’ve seen in the past year?
William Kentridge, “Procession” was on show at the Art Gallery of Alberta all of last summer. My favorite exhibition that I had the opportunity to see last year, barnone.
What are you working on currently?
I’m actually in the process of moving VIVIANEART to a brand new location in Calgary. Directly across the street from Esker Foundation, I’m really excited about collaborating with Esker and being part of the very dynamic neighbor hood of Inglewood.
How do you see the current global situation pushing the art world to evolve?
Art is for everyone, not just a small percentage that can afford to own it and to travel. Social media has done a lot to remove barriers to accessing art. The current global situation has really accelerated the process of bringing art and art programming to the digital world. This will never replace seeing art in person but it has really opened up accessibility. This is such a good thing and digital will hopefully increase human engagement with art and art institutions over time.