The cover of the current issue

Current Issue: SUMMER 2016

RILLA MARSHALL

JESSE JACOBS

RAY FENWICK

TONIA DI RISIO

Towards a theory of grant aesthetics

Towards a theory of grant aesthetics

In an art world unbeholden to market forces, what’s the correlation between the jurors of funding councils and awards to who they render visible and the image of Canadian that presents to the rest of the world?
Disappearing Terrain

Disappearing Terrain

There’s a soft delicacy in the works that comprise Rilla Marshall’s Liminal Project, which makes the realization of its decidedly uncomfortable subject matter all the more jarring and arresting.
From the archives

From the archives

Enter into the imaginary world of Graeme Patterson’s Secret Citadel where memory, invention, and fantasy collide to provoke a multifaceted narrative of childhood friendship, rights of passage and adult isolation.
Exhibition Listings
The Path We Share

The Path We Share

Four First Nations artists have come together to take part in two creative residencies in Nova Scotia—one at The Deanery Project in Lower Ship Harbour in 2014, the other on Brier Island in 2015. The basis of this collaborative exchange is centered on reconciling the parallel journeys of the Mi’kmaq People and the whales of the North Atlantic. Through a self-directed framework of dialogue and artmaking, The Path We Share examines shared stories of contact and consequence to arrive at newfound forms of expression and understanding.

 

I Will Meet You in the Sun

I Will Meet You in the Sun

Using print media as his language, Mitch Mitchell tests the limits of its fluency, never content to remain long on familiar ground. He takes great risks and insists, through large-scale installations, that printed matter matters, and is certainly not tied to the dimensions of a piece of paper or the size of a press bed. Discover the artist’s masterful interpretation of his own history through surprising works that take liberties with tradition and pull “print” into sculpture, performance and film.

Mitch Mitchell has long dealt with issues of labour and production, environment and technology, as well as the history of the print medium. His work over the past five years has shifted to matters more personal in nature: his own family history.The story, however personal, turns out to be quite universal, creating work about the very basic tenets of our shared humanity.

This body of work is based on Mitchell’s grandfather’s time in World War II as a radar technician, exploring the aftermath of his service and the war’s ripple effect globally, locally, and intimately within his own family.

The exhibition title is derived from a letter that Mitchell’s grandfather, Claude T. Mitchell, wrote to his grandmother, Francis Scott Mitchell, while posted in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during the Second World War: “If I die, I will meet you in the sun”. His grandfather was the first to witness, through the blip on his radar screen, the explosion of Hiroshima. He would return to the Midwest, reluctant to stay in the military. He played baseball for the Chicago Cubs farm team before permanently injuring his arm, forcing him to return home to the coal mines in Danville, IL. Drawing on the expression “You must work the devil out”, he hoped physical labour would help exorcise the demons left by the war.

Mitchell’s family was not privy to his grandfather’s wartime history during his lifetime, as his record was only unsealed 10 years after his death. Mitchell was 15 years old when his grandmother revealed his grandfather’s role in the bombing; he has been digesting and exploring that history since. The works on view represent his response to this history.

A Day in the Life Of

A Day in the Life Of

In A Day in the Life Of, private moments are remembered and experienced, opening the door to a re-consideration of how the passage of time is expressed. Working through the medium of installation, White captures the passing of a day through a new series of watercolours, drawings and texts, paired with small-screen video animations. The work raises questions about the ‘ordinary’ and especially about what happens when seemingly nothing is happening. By elevating the everyday, White makes us see, not only time passing, but the intrinsic beauty of things that is revealed when looking closely.

 

Holding the Pose: Portraits from the Collection

Holding the Pose: Portraits from the Collection

This exhibition features portraits from the collection that capture a dialogue between artist and subject.

Cutline: David Blackwood, Captain Jesse Winsor Home in Wesleyville, (detail), 1975, etching and aquatint on paper, 87 x 58 cm. Collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

Disoriented

Disoriented

Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery marks the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring with a special exhibition of recent acquisitions for the Permanent Collection. In his ground-breaking critical examination of Orientalism, Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said deconstructed the romanticizing, exoticising, colonial discourse that has shaped Western perceptions of the diverse societies of the Middle East and Asia. Disoriented presents works that implicitly challenge Orientalism – by articulating more complex, problematic or unresolved accounts of, or giving voice to, the contemporary experience of artists of Asian descent.

Weaving the Existing

Weaving the Existing

OPENING & ARTIST’S TALK Wednesday 23 March at 7pm

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Giorgia Volpe has since 1998 lived in Quebec City, where she has taught drawing, printmaking and photogram at Méduse. This first survey of the artist’s career encompasses performance, action art, drawing, sculpture, photography, installations and video.

Volpe often relies on weaving, a technique that runs through her entire oeuvre. Fibres—paper, plastic, recycled material, textiles—are used to create works in which the material, traces of text and other motifs nuance the meaning. Because Volpe completes few “finished” works, her art is often shown in a temporary state, awaiting further transformations. This exhibition represents the suspension in time of her process.

 

New Paintings

New Paintings

Jennifer Hornyak’s paintings are neither mystical nor esoteric, nor do they attempt to explain. She is known for her colorful and highly textured still life paintings that walk a fine line between figuration and abstraction. Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, she is able to create paintings that are both intimate and universal. Her method of applying paint is distinctive and inimitable, revealing sophisticated colors and surfaces ridden with heavy accumulations of paint. Born in England, Jennifer studied at the Grimsby School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries across North America, at international art fairs, and in many corporate collections. She works and lives in Montreal.

Spring in Cambridge: the Visionary Drawings of John Devlin

Spring in Cambridge: the Visionary Drawings of John Devlin

Spring in Cambridge presents a selection of drawings and studies by Nova Scotia artist John Devlin. As an artist working from an outsider perspective, Devlin charts the physical, emotional and spiritual world through his work. Born in Halifax, Devlin began his studies in environmental design at Dalhousie University at TUNS faculty of architecture. He went on to study theology at Cambridge University in England in the fall of 1979; however, by spring of 1980 he had his first encounter with mental illness so his studies were cut short and he left a world of architectural antiquity for his hometown to receive specialized care.

Devlin began a creative journey after numerous years in and out of hospitals, discovering that using simple artist tools he could create a different kind of place. So began his construction of a utopian city, inspired by his memories of England, imaginatively re-invented, based on hidden codes, symbols and mathematical ratios, of an imaginary island in Minas Basin, Nova Scotia. This would be his new Cambridge, or Nova Cantabrigiensis.

 

MIRROR / MOTHER (fragments)

MIRROR / MOTHER (fragments)

Santos’ interest lies in transformation, as she reflects on fleeting childhood memories and her family’s immigration to Canada as an autobiographical point of departure. Experiences as history, fragmented into memory, and re-told to become personal myth are negotiated through the act of drawing, one that operates in narrative, and in fiction. This is the realm of play where Santos situates her work.

1. asuang (big sister)

The Department of Prints and Drawings

The Department of Prints and Drawings

How can a small university art gallery, itself a department, oversee a “Department of Prints and Drawings”? The provocative title of this exhibition is meant to prompt skepticism about the medium-based categories that still define large public collections, such as those at the National Gallery of Canada.

The exhibition is made up of contemporary works by more than 30 artists, selected from the MSVU Collection. Anna Torma’s appliquéed, embroidered and inkjet printed wall hanging incorporates drawings appropriated from members of her family. Reed Weir’s stoneware bather stands on a base with a pyrographic (wood-burned) design of Matisse-like nudes. Equally expressive and gestural is Deb Kuzyk’s underglaze floral decoration of a porcelain bowl thrown by her husband Ray Mackie. Among the works by artists with Halifax connections are lithographs by Dan O’Neill and Ericka Walker, and drawings by Lucie Chan, Ann Macmillan and Susan Wood.

IMAGE: Ericka Walker,  Labour, Lithograph,  2010.

bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie (formerly Lucky Rabbit) title of work: Chinese-style Bowl, Red Flowers, Ceramic, 2010

 

 

Listening to the Land

Listening to the Land

Jane Reagh (BFA, NSCAD ’86; MFA, Parson’s School of Design ’89) refers to herself as a “RE-emerging artist” to describe women who took time off from their profession to focus on raising their children. When they “RE-emerge” they have the fresh eyes of a new painter as well as many years of painting behind them. Reagh now lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where she paints landscape “en plein air”. Her approach is to record the time of her engagement with the land, unmediated by technology. “Every time I make a painting I get closer to what is really there.” Listening to the Land features Canadian oil paintings, with a focus on Western Newfoundland.

 

Free Play

Free Play

The Rooms is featuring a local component to the exhibition by St. John’s-based artist, Joe Fowler.

As Situationist International member Guy Debord once wrote:  “No vital periods ever began from a theory. What’s first is a game, a struggle, a journey.” Free Play is a contemporary art exhibition that presents the work of artists who borrow from play and games to reveal different social, philosophical and ethical questions. The audience is invited to play with a wide array of artworks by renowned international artists.

Free Play is an exhibition curated by Melissa E. Feldman and organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Free Play was made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.

 

More Exhibition Listings »

Latest articles
Going there: The playful pain of Neil LaPierre

Going there: The playful pain of Neil LaPierre

Delving into the personal and surreal, Neil LaPierre is committed to bringing the HA-HA’s into art discourse.
Liberated Form

Liberated Form

Richard Mueller is not so interested in coherent pictorial space or literal depiction as in the potential of formal arrangements to engender associative and emotional responses “independent of literal language.”
Echoes across time and space

Echoes across time and space

L’Acadie Mythique, a travelling exhibition that recently visited the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, is curated by Harlan Johnson and features nearly twenty different artists from across the Acadian diaspora.
Q + A: Jordan Bennett

Q + A: Jordan Bennett

Visual Arts News was excited to feature the work of artist Jordan Bennett in our Fall 2015 issue. In this online installation of her interview series, Current Conditions & Forecasts, Eryn Foster chats with Bennett about everything ranging from his experiences representing Newfoundland in Venice to his work bringing traditional Indigenous art forms into contemporary art discourse. ERYN FOSTER: You...
The strange new world of Bridget Moser

The strange new world of Bridget Moser

In this installation of the Visual Arts News Podcast, our new host David Dahms picks artist Bridget Moser's brain about her latest show at MSVU Art Gallery in Halifax, Bridget Moser: Is This Thing On.
Found in the Fog

Found in the Fog

  As we walked downtown, my friend described how two old hags had chewed on either side of her neck the night before. It wasn’t the first time. “I’ve learned that the trick,” she told me, “is that I just have to let it happen, to remind myself that it’s not real.” This was a...
Retracing the past

Retracing the past

Cathy Busby displays the artworks that the Confederation Centre Art Gallery’s first director, Moncrieff Williamson, acquired half a century ago on a shoestring budget ahead of a royal visit from the Queen. Or at least, what was left of them.

Arts Scene Round Up

There's plenty worth getting excited about right now in the Atlantic Canadian arts scene, from new pop-up events to big gallery expansion plans. And if you're faced with a rainy Spring day, you can always pour over some of the reviews, interviews and online projects worth bookmarking this season.
Physical Landscapes

Physical Landscapes

  While exploring Anatomica, I experienced several moments of disorientation, unsure whether I was approaching a piece with stronger connections to an artists’ studio or a laboratory. Take the human spine curving from a steel frame in the gallery. From a distance, artist Sarah Maloney’s Vertebrae, Sacrum, Coccyx looks like a replica meant to be...
Art World Antidote

Art World Antidote

Folklore And Other Panics addresses the impossibility of “alleviating anxiety around elitism” in the contemporary art world. And further, according to the exhibition’s pamphlet, “the works provide a constellation of ideas, responding in various ways to themes of absence and presence, community, the materials of storytelling, and the nature of authority.”

Winter survival guide

Winter is often described as a period of contemplation, but I admit that my thoughts mostly gravitate to murdering snow with my hairdryer. Thank goodness there are some exciting things to read and see in the art world that distract my frustration (and electrical bill). You see, I have a term for some people in...
From the archives: Susan Wood's Earth Skins

From the archives: Susan Wood’s Earth Skins

Editor’s note: This review of Earth Skins at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery (Halifax, NS, August 23 – October 2, 2011) first appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Visual Arts News. A retrospective publication of Earth Skins can be purchased here. I was the first visitor to wander into to Earth Skins: Three...