Tuesday, May 20, 2008


At the Dunlop Gallery, Chitra Ganesh spoke about characters that develop over time like a personal alphabet, interchangeable, and which/who are not about the artist nor about specific other people, but are independent. Libraries are personal, nourishing, empathetic towards the feeling and space of Chitra’s melodramatic text, often about the experience of writing, and weighed by slapstick horror:

“Thunder, lightning, my daily floods so lightly her fingers tread across the page, then down onto my back, delicate lines... the corpse she showed me-- was it her own?”

“To breathe in between the lines...”

“My heart sat up, exited its cavity, and began to wander across the page.”

Shary Boyle's voice was stern and articulate. Her performance of diamond-shaped tearing and iconic elfin face - “I am here” – the songs by Christine Fellows extremely simple and cute but well sung and eerie like partially formed childhood emotions. Kara Walker’s film so heavily bleak like the film about John Merrick, also like abject fantasies of frenzy and shivering; very much about presence always there and threatening, hysterical body panic and anxiety. The city was horrifically windy, and everyone was indoors. My memories of years of wind, its closed world, Philip Glass violin concerto inside-out-body. My body revolt and sensitivity. Mid-city easy to navigate.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This weekend I'll be visiting and attending this wondrous exhibition at the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, SK:

Pandora's Box

Laylah Ali, Ghada Amer, Shary Boyle, Amy Cutler, Chitra Ganesh, Wangechi Mutu, Annie Pootoogook, Leesa Streifler, Kara Walker, Su-en Wong
May 16, 2008 to July 20, 2008

Opening reception: Friday, May 16, 7:30 pm, featuring a collaborative performance with Shary Boyle and Christine Fellows Artists' talks: Saturday, May 17, 2:00 pm, by Shary Boyle, Chitra Ganesh and Leesa Streifler Curator's talk, Saturday May 31, 2:00 pm

from a press release: "Inside Pandora's Box viewers will encounter a phantasmagoria of myths, folk tales, stereotypes and ambiguity. These artists challenge disempowering myths and fairy tales to make them a more accurate mirror of female experience in new socio-historical contexts...We are invited to reflect on larger human issues such as birth, death, parenthood, relationships, rites of passage and multiple identities through an engagement with other worldly creatures and everyday environments...featur[ing] artists' talks by Shary Boyle, Chitra Ganesh and Leesa Streifler. These artists challenge, appropriate and critique androcentric myths and fairytales so as to make them a more accurate mirror of female experience in new socio-historical contexts."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

In the upcoming Fall, I may be finally visiting Montreal and maybe Toronto. Perhaps I will get to stay in a hotel like this, or even this?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A new painting of mine, finished this evening - here is a preview in cropped detail:


Also, a continued admiration for the work of Rezi Van Lankveld:

"Her works stage the shift in the spectator’s mind from consciousness of the pictorial scene to consciousness of the process that created it, and deftly evoke the sense of melancholy that accompanies this course – which is, in the end, one of literal disillusionment." (Melissa Gronlund, Frieze magazine)

"A girl in a pink dress lies prostrate in a polluted pink landscape and turns away. It’s impossible to tell if she’s miserable, defiant or lounging about; but what she’s doing isn’t the point - it’s the way she does it."
"Perhaps the lightness stems from the bones of the pictures; a lightness built from a keen observation of how, even in lifeless or depressed bodies, blood pulsates beneath skin, and bones indicate their presence in soft swells and abrupt points; and how the earth can echo bodies. Although it may be an underworld population that van Lankveld describes, it’s one that thrives (as painting always has) on being mischievous, often misleading and open-ended in its intentions. But above all, it’s obvious that van Lankveld is in love with the possibilities of paint."
"The energy these pictures emanate is nervous, shimmering and slightly toxic, recalling oil spills or detergent stains - sick pinks, acid yellows, mud browns and greens dominate. Yet as with an oil slick, when the light hits them unexpected rainbows can appear, turning them luminous. These are slippery colours rendered in a slippery medium. This is apt - van Lankveld’s subject matter is a place where dissolution dominates." (Jennifer Higgie, Frieze magazine)
Last night I visited the new artist-run space IDEAL, which is a converted mechanic's garage in cramped geometric rooms-within-rooms. Exhibiting there are paintings by Julie Beugin and Nam Nguyen.

A press release describes their work: "STRANGE + FANTASTIC is Beugin and Nguyen’s first solo exhibition in Calgary. The exhibition title captures each painter’s artistic attitude. STRANGE for Julie Beugin’s fiction-scapes, panoramic views that melt between outdoor scenes and nostalgically decorated indoor spaces. Like slick spreads from an interior design magazine filtered through the faded and emotionally charged casts of memory, Beugin’s paintings convey a sense of imagined realities where seemingly unrelated places and feelings collide. FANTASTIC for Nam Nguyen’s Screen Flowers, compositions of liquefied shapes and colours on the edge of shifting into new forms. Described as a ‘kaleidoscopic’ process by the artist, these transformations are based on digital images entered into a process of re-construction without referent."

While Nguyen's small paintings resembling digital icons worked well within a 'front gallery', including an odd alcove with cave-like corners, Beugin's work allowed for a stronger reading 'in person'. Beugin's paintings associated the early work of Tomory Dodge and his melting-tire-like sci-fi spaces, the architecture of Martin Golland's paintings, and the spacial apparitions of Mamma Andersson.

(Nam Nguyen)
(Julie Beugin)
(Julie Beugin)

On her website, Beugin describes her work this way: "Mise en scénes for the imagination, my paintings are like proposals for fictional film stills or stage sets for imaginary plays. Visualized from passages in literature, the paintings create spaces in between a narrative, a book space, a film space or brain space....With cut away walls, the paintings mimic the absent fourth wall of theatre, film and television and allows the viewer to be both inside and outside, both spectator and participant...My empty theatrical spaces suggest possibility and potential action; in the threshold between inside and out, private and public, imaginary and real, there is some space for the individual to imagine and think."

Friday, May 02, 2008

The U of C MFA thesis and ACAD BFA shows are both happening soon, and these are among my favorite shows of any year. Visiting these exhibitions are a way for me to spend time with the past and the future of the studio experience by extension, and get a sense of the tangible evidence of local competition. There are also several painting shows coming up in the next six months...(more about this later)

My work will also be shown in the group show Painting: Thick and Thin alongside the Sled Island music festival and the Glenbow Museum on July 25th to October 6th, of which the experience so far is filled with a slapstick balance of excitement and dread. It seems, through the beginning threads of news and rumorous-news that my work will be in the company-context of a fascinating and visceral group of art and artists:

From a press release: “A major addition to the festival in 2008 is an increased focus on visual art. Wayne Baerwaldt (guest art curator) has announced that the arts component will feature 15 exhibitions including, but not limited to, works from Peaches, Noam Gonick, Luis Jacob, Paulo Whitaker, Wil Murray, Justin Evans, Miriam Bankey, Chris Millar, Dave & Jenn, Ryan Sluggett, Kyle Beal, Kim Neudorf and Patrick Lundeen.”
(and rumoured, also... Wim Delvoye’s ‘Cloaca’)

*my only experience with Peaches has been hearing about her Montreal Biennale performances, getting a crash-course through a C:Magazine article by Bruce LaBruce, and seeing bad digital snapshots, wherein otherwise I associate PJ Harvey space suits, so my knowledge is pretty thin and lacks live findings*

*speaking of Carole Pope, I suddenly remember Darby Mills of The Headpins and a horrible video*