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Full Definition of phantasmagoria

  1. 1:  an exhibition of optical effects and illusions

  2. 2a :  a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imaginedb :  a scene that constantly changes

  3. 3:  a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary


Phantasmagoria is the perfect title for Tia Halliday’s current exhibition here at the Herringer Kiss Gallery. Not only was it one of the last words she heard her father, the late Richard Halliday, RCA, every say but truly encompasses Tia’s practice as an artist.

Tia Halliday’s artistic output includes dance, choreography, sewing, drawing, painting, collage, photography, video and performance and each discipline informs the other. Her work is constantly morphing into the next phase of its evolution. Her practice is like a living organism that learns, responds and adapts.

Her first works we had in the gallery were small collages based on photographs of her own paintings and her paintings were informed from these collages. Then she began to think about the language used to describe formalist abstract painting such as line, form, depth, foreground, rhythm and flow and she realized that these were also choreographic terms; dance terms. Tia grew up going to museums around the world with her father and with books on such artists as Jackson Pollock and she grew up with dance. She began to think about how closely the world of abstract painting and dance actually are and wondered what would happen if painting occurred from within the surface rather onto the surface. She bought iridescent spandex and began sewing “sheaths” or “skins” from which under a group of dancers could perform “paintings”.

Working with five distinguished dancer’s from The Alberta Ballet in addition to a crew of twelve assistants and photo/video technicians, Tia  created a series of “performed paintings”, which were re-materialized from performance into the large-scale aluminum photographic collage cut-outs, digital photographs and small-scale paper collages  you see in this exhibition.

The show runs until October 1st and then you can look for Tia’s next evolution of work in the 2017 Alberta Biennial of Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta.