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Commission to Courtenay

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Lot’s of exciting things going on. I just delivered a commission to Courtenay, a ‘blind’ one. They hadn’t seen  the piece until we had the unveiling at their housewarming party. I was terrified, they honestly hadn’t even consider that they might not like it. I wish I had that much faith! I suppose the fact that they own a few other of my paintings helped their confidence. It was a bit of a struggle getting it hung, a 10 foot tall triptych, but we got it, and it looks fabulous in the space.

I have a screening of Searching For Emily in a couple of weeks in Creston, BC, my hometown. I am looking forward to sitting in that theatre again, with my family to watch it again on the big screen. It’s Monday, June 17th, 7:30 showtime if you are in the neighbourhood. And then in July, I have a show of some of my videos in the LAB at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The exhibition opens on July 18th I will be speaking about my work that evening, and the show will run for a couple of weeks.

The exhibition

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Martin Batchelor has gone over and above, helping me to get this show organized and hung. It’s the day before the opening, and everything is up, and working. As difficult as I find it to mount an exhibition, I have to say that it is getting easier, practise, practise, and more practise. I am struggling a bit with how much of myself I am revealing, figuratively and literally! in this show. ‘Six Figures’ is being shown down the length of one wall, on 6 gilt-framed tv’s, all but one hung vertically. It’s amazing how much it doesn’t read as a television anymore, but really does reference the historical paintings that the piece is based on. The two sculptures, ‘Nest’ and ‘Pyre’ have completely transformed with the addition of video. It was pretty ironic to me that I recognized, only as we were doing the final install at the gallery, the significance of me re-building ‘Nest’ and ‘Pyre’ at this point in my life.

The first time I created a version of these pieces was 24 years ago, just I was getting married and having my first child. Here I am, years later, suddenly inspired to re-create them, right as my youngest child is leaving home, leaving me with the proverbial empty nest. The fact that I was blind to this fact for most of the time I was constructing them really is a testament to me of how subtly our subconscious can be directing things. Hind sight is 20/20. Adding the video component to the pieces really brought them forward into my current art practise though. I love the effect of the video on the egg. It actually looks as though it is coming from within the egg, not as though it is being projected onto it, an effect that I simply could not have anticipated. I love the size of the egg too, my dragon egg. It’s been fun looking through all of the videos I have produced over the past 4 years to choose those for the single channel projection. The loop is about 45 minutes long and includes all of my favorites. The opening for the show is tomorrow, May 26th, 7-9. Martin Batchelor Gallery, 712 Cormorant Street. The show runs till June 21st, Monday to Saturday 10-5.

The Big Show

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The Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria has provided a venue specifically for those of us who like to make big art…and I definitely fit that category! Great article in the TC for our opening tonight, check out the link! And come to see the show!
Read more » THE BIG SHOW!

October Updates

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Just home from an artistically inspiring visit to Toronto. Saw Allyson Mitchell’s ‘Creep Lez’ at the Katharine Mulherin Gallery, Jamelie Hassan’s ‘At the Far Edge of Words’ at Mocca, Evan Penny at the AGO and then a crazy night on the streets for Nuit Blanche. Allyson Mitchell’s work is amazing, both as an artist and as an educator. There was a catalogue of her work and her writing at the gallery, and I spent a good hour reading about issues of feminism and body image. She has the ability to cut right through the rhetoric to the heart of the matter, and as I read her writing I find myself questioning and recognizing where my beliefs and ideals have just been thoughtlessly absorbed from the current culture surrounding me without questioning the veracity, or the source. The status quo is so deeply imbedded in us that I wonder what’s necessary to shake off the rose coloured glasses of complacency.

What I love about Allyson’s work is how she uses humour and warmth to convey the message, but says it distinctly nonetheless. Jamelie Hassan’s show is a retrospective of 30 years worth of work. I love her use of neon lights with traditional religious and cultural signs and symbols. Her work explores her Arab cultural background and how that colours a lifetime in Canada. In her travels around the world, she can only ever be the visitor, and her work a subjective commentary on themes of language, memory and identity. I found a lot to relate to personally in her work. Haden and I spent a lovely afternoon at the AGO where the highlight was Evan Perry’s larger than life distorted figural sculptures. Mesmerizing and disturbing at the same time. I am in awe of the technical skill that goes into creating these pieces, while at the same time repulsed by the haunting distortions. Very cool.

And then finally Nuit Blanche. The streets of Toronto were filled to overflowing with crowds of people out to follow their maps through a city overthrown by art. I have to say that it isn’t my favorite way to look at work, lining up to be hurried through, and having the noise and chaos of the crowds to contend with. But there were some pretty amazing pieces, especially considering that it’s a 12 hour event, basically dusk till dawn. Two pieces in particular stood out for me. Aaron Moran’s piece REFLEXION was a sculptural piece with video projected onto it. That in itself was of interest to me, but the best part was the sudden realization that part of what we were seeing in the video, was ourselves looking out at us. That is definitely an idea that I would like to explore further in my own work. One of the last pieces that we saw was World Without Sun by Christine Davis, which was in the Nathan Phillips Square in front of City Hall. Six huge satellite dishes with a mesmerizing video collage of underwater sea life, and the tiniest organisms to the vast expanses of the entire universe. The imagery was stunning, and I loved how the images played out over the six dishes, sometimes unified, sometimes disparate, somber black and white suddenly bursting into colour, and the experience of standing in the square in the dark, staring hypnotically at these videos, actually created a creepy dystopian sense of loss. The feeling that if we aren’t careful, perhaps that’s all we’ll be left with. It was a powerful piece, and the music score was haunting and romantic too. She definitely accomplished what she set out to convey with that piece. It was a wonderfully inspiring trip, can’t wait to go back!

Yesterday’s Shoot

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So excited about the video shoot yesterday! Armand Saberi is a brilliant classical pianist and I’ve had a piece brewing for a year based on one of his performances. My video Snow Day  was made as a test video this spring. I wanted to create a video of him performing, that can re-create the performance in some unusual settings. We shot the video using Medianet’s new Sony FS-100’s. Cyrus Block and Kirk Schwartz were my cameramen as well as my lighting technicians, Mike Demers did the audio recording, and Armand played so beautifully, Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor. I am not really certain where this project will go from here, but we got the shoot done, now it’s time to start to play with the footage.