Underneath downtown Edmonton, just northeast of the Art Gallery of Alberta, a roughed-in transit stop sits, unfinished – but not forgotten. Future Station, as it's called, attracted the attention of Kristy Trinier, a curator at the gallery, as she was planning the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. When she went down to have a look at Future Station, she realized it was hiding in plain sight – that commuters pass through it without noticing, but as soon as you know it's there, you become aware of all sorts of detail.
"Eventually that became a metaphor for me about the potential of contemporary art in the province," says Ms. Trinier. As she writes in her catalogue essay, Future Station "exists and functions as an unfinished position awaiting due recognition."
Last spring, Ms. Trinier drove all over Alberta and flew to Fort McMurray, making 80 studio visits. As she did, four themes emerged around which Ms. Trinier has built the show, including natural forces confronting the artist. Flooding was a big issue. In fact, as Ms. Trinier was meeting with artist Erin Schwab at a college in Fort McMurray, the road outside was flooding.
In total, Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, features the work of 42 artists, including Mathieu Lefevre, who was born in Edmonton and died in New York, where he lived, in a cycling accident in 2011. It opens Saturday in several locations, including the Art Gallery of Alberta, but not at the abandoned transit station itself. "Originally I had wanted to place artwork down there, but it's not really safe," says Ms. Trinier.
Future Station is at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Enterprise Square Galleries, and includes several off-site installations. It runs Jan. 24-May 3.