Embracing Public Art

By Val Fortney, Calgary Herald March 16 2013

Over a career spanning more than a quarter of a century, Ric Kokotovich has worn the hats of filmmaker, sculptor and photographer. It's his latest role, though, that has created the biggest buzz to date - that of mixed media artist.

A series of his large-scale abstract artworks, recently installed in The Bow office tower downtown, is featured on 24 separate floors of the building.

The private commission from Cenovus Energy, awarded to Kokotovich two years ago, is the kind of boost an artist dreams of.

Its status as art paid for by the corporate sector doesn't dilute its quality, says Jarvis Hall.

"It's a type of work I can't reference anywhere else," says Hall, owner of Jarvis Hall Fine Art (617 11th Ave. S.W., lower level) of the colourful collages of drawings and photographs that are turned into fractured images on a computer. Hall's gallery is currently showing Kokotovich's newest works, titled Wired Islands, until April 13. "It's art that demands to be witnessed."

Such collaborations, both of these longtime Calgary art insiders say, aren't just good for the individual artist getting the commission.

"I think corporate leaders are becoming more aware of the value of the creative consciousness," says Kokotovich, who has done private commissions for other firms such as Newalta. "Having more art in the community is good for all artists and for the public."