JAN 24 - FEB 7
Jennifer Crane (NS/AB) seafarers and fishwives
Peter Wilkins (NL) 12 kinetic portraits
"Seafarers and Fishwives" engages with myths and actual accounts of women who traveled to sea as well as the exchange and display of photographs as this relates to class and narrative. Jennifer Crane has created a series of photographs and stero cards that reveals in sequence a narrative about loss and desire in a nineteenth century maritime setting, The installation is made up of two parts. The first part consists of 15 small framed photographs of portraits of the artist posed in disguise from the 19th century, carefully constructed to emulate Cartes-de-Visite or "visiting cards". These small portraits made of loved ones were a commodity, collected and cherished predominantly by the middle class. The second component is made of 24 stereo cards with an antique stereo viewer. There cards are in narrative sequence that is loosely based on folk songs of seafaring women and fishwives.
Using flat LCD screens as the method in which to present his digital portraits Peter Wilkins has selected 12 people who have helped shape and maintain the cultural, economic, political and social fabric of Newfoundland. The portraits are drawn from a wide range of people that reflect the successful diversity and character of Newfoundland. The portraits include John Crosbie, Mary Pratt, Lisa Moore, John Mahoney, Craig Dobbin, Sister Elizabeth Davis, Alan Doyle, Mary Walsh, Jim Bradley, Bishop Harvey, Barbara Doran and Diane Humber. Each portrait plays an infinite loop of a five minute sequence. The shot is close up so that the subjects head dominates the screen. Wilkins has asked the sitters questions and statements about the life during the sitting in order to elicit subtle emotional responses. The audience are not subject to hearing these questions, nor is the subject allowed to speak. The process creates an authentic portrait of the subject as they reflect on key moments of their life during the shot.
MAR 6 - APR 8
Goody-B Wiseman/Alex McQuilkin/
Undrea Norris/Michelle Kasprzak (Like) A Virgin
In the work of the artists presented in (Like) A Virgin: Goody-B Wiseman, Alex McQuilkin, Undrea Norris and Michelle Kasprzak the abject is subtext. This work is compelling in its engagement with the paradox set out in Hollenberg's statement that fucking up has its own irreplaceable brilliance. I am proposing that there is redemption in abjection. The hybrid use of technology in the creation of the work in this exhibition takes this even further, embodying a material contamination that lends itself to a whole new kind of dirty.
The artists often use appropriated imagery, or popular stereotypes to achieve a greater insight into contemporary society. Inevitably, our desires, memories and habits are infiltrated by what we have seen and experienced in the realm of television and film. Viewed from the intersection of art and media culture, looking is revealed as a form of consumption. Pleasure is most familiar to us as a slick marketing device used to stimulate, spend, exhaust, and up our libidos. When I refer to 'dirty', I am proposing that the concept of 'dirty' can be more than the glib disapproval or titillation that is implied in commercial culture. I use this term as a nuance, or subversive disposition.
MADNESS: In the video 'Beginner's Curse for Sluts and Psychopaths' Goody B-Wiseman spits at her own reflection in a mirror. Her fox fur hat and coat reference femininity, but her actions are of refusal, denial, a decisive urgent action that denotes a fuck-you to the better self in the mirror. Without speaking, she is trapped in the mirror, she has no one to heap her fury on but herself. The droning audio of a wicked witch's curse washes over her image, its lack of origin contributing the fracturing of the figure on the screen. As Wiseman states "'Beginner's Curse for Sluts and Psychopaths' is re-write of the fairy tale Snow White that boastily performs a dialogue of loathing, reproach, and posturing. The dialogue explores the awful site of clash between the perception of self and the self's construction." Goody B. Wiseman's work is infused with humor, irony, and raw discomfort.
BOREDOM: New York artist Alex McQuilkin's DVD 'Fucked' depicts the artist as she try's in vain to put on makeup as she appears to have sex from behind. In McQuilkin's work the notion of the feminist artist as paradox is explored because in the conflation she is both object and subject. Theorist Rebecca Schneider's discussion of women as emblems of desire is of particular interest in relation to the work of McQuilkin, in the idea of woman as "commodity dreamgirls". "The dreamgirls are signifiers of sexual desire, forever promising, but never delivering sexual fulfillment". The dreamgirl promises sexual fulfillment, but as an icon or symbol, she cannot deliver; she is forever recreating the lust to buy again, in the hope of attaining fulfillment. Desire is the notion of missing, of absence and loss. Despite all the best efforts of social theorists and feminists, desire retains an elusive power. It is both hopeful and tragic. McQuilkin's 'Fucked' addresses excess, sexual agency and boredom, in a humorous and candid manner.
EXCESS: Undrea Norris's video excerpt 'Redress' mimics the look of the 80's at its super model peak. The woman's body in the video is an outlaw. She explodes out of institutionalized perfection. Her movements are elegant, as she eats lipstick, rubs her crotch, and spreads the lipstick all over her face in an indulgent heated detonation. Self-pleasure remains poised between self-discovery and self-absorption, desire and excess, privacy and loneliness, innocence and guilt, as does no other sexuality in our era. The artist twists imperfection by devouring and destroying its symbols.
DESIRE:'Scrub' is an interactive video installation by Michelle Kasprzak. Visitors to the gallery approach an area that looks like a kitchen. On the counter top is a sponge, and a video monitor in the cabinet above has been left open. The sponge is the visitor's interface to the piece. If you push the sponge on the countertop, the video on the monitor shows footage of the artist wearing gloves, when you scrub harder, in a particular direction or speed, the footage of the artist becomes interspersed with short segments from a pornographic movie, in which a housewife character wearing rubber gloves gets off in her kitchen. The artist places herself between the public and the porn star. She is the medium between fantasy and reality. Sex is used to sell anything. Our memories and fantasies blend with manufactured images to create a reality that is neither fact nor fiction. Within media culture looking has become a form of consumption. There is more porn and more access to porn than ever before in the history of contemporary society, logging on is like turning on the tap. Yet despite its ubiquity it is rarely discussed. By placing the art in a domestic, banal context, Kasprzak reemphasizes how mundane pornography has become, yet paradoxically, how dirty sex is to the viewer when it is inserted within a familiar context.
There is so much wonder in the possibility of screwing up.(Like) A Virgin offers a complex exploration of sexual agency through irony, and self-awareness into the acceptance of being ruined. Neurotic. Excessive. Wickedly smart and impossibly dirty.
Andrea Cooper 2004
APR 17 - MAY 21
Taras Polataiko Moth
Polataiko's work is mysterious and minimal in design. Moth is the artist's hands and light. It evokes thoughts of good and evil through its play with light. Counter posing two video projections each was shot in a dark studio with the cameras as the only source of light. Looping seven minutes of uncut footage, one records a moth striving constantly to reach a point of illumination; the other the artist's hands continually float in the dark, attempting to reach the source of light. He is interested in the tension between what is seen and unseen. The minimal process is important, reduced to relationships of the mechanics of presentation and representation, the basic elements of the subject-the blindfolded artist who is trying to capture the source of vision, as well as the source of the very existence of the record of the process-the camera lens. The artist questions desire, the want of, something that is always beyond reach. Moth captures the state in between things. Polataiko studied at the Moscow Stroganov Institute of Fine and Industrial Arts from 1983 to 1989, and immigrated to Canada in 1990. Since completing his MFA studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 1993, he has gained an international reputation for creating provocative and controversial work. The installation Moth was created in 2000, in the midst of installations and work such as Artist as Politician: In the Shadow of the Monument (1992), YOU (1994), Glare (1995), Cradle (1996), Mole (1997), Deflowering (1998), Him (1999 - ), Scotoma (1999), Dreams (2001) and Bird's Eye View, created in 2001 for the XXV Bienal de Sao Paulo.
MAY 29 - JUL 2
Ray Roddick Sealed
Carl Trahan Contruction (Work Title)
Born in Corner Brook, Carl Ray has lived in many outport communiities including Pasadena, Lewisporte, Marystown, Labrador City, Nain and St. John's. Ray graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2000.
On construction sites, raw materials and idle mechanical equipment often form compositions that fluctuate between order and disorder. In his project at Eastern Edge, Carl Trahan underlines their formal and installative qualities; it is readily apparent through viewing these photos that the artist is interested in the construction process as an end in and of itself. In the past, Trahan focused on construction workers in action, whereas in this series he chooses to present photos where the human is absent. He now places materials and equipment at the center of the images, giving them the same attention the workers formerly enjoyed. This series also reminds us of the artist's ongoing art practice that combines both the form and the formless.
JUL 10 - AUG 13
Stephan Kurr Artist Statement
Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby Bad Idea for Paradise
'Artist Statement' is a very common term in Canada, but in Germany it does not exist. Contextualizing art is the job of the curator or critic, and not that of the artist's. Stephan Kurr, while working for the educational program for Documenta 11, listened to dozens of artists talks. Many artists had an extraordinary ability to articulate the ideas surrounding their work. In 2002, Kurr started to document artists giving their statements. Since that time he has taped more than 50 statements in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Serbian, Croatian, Finnish, Turkish, Arabian and Japanese. The statements are not edited; they are kept at their original length, between 40 seconds and 15 minutes and are also kept in the order in which Kurr met the artists. A very simple question was asked to each artist to initiate his or her statement, "What are you doing". Stephan Kurr lives and works in Berlin and has lead an active career since the late 80's. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe and North America and he has attended international conferences such as, "Arte Pubblica. Progetti ed Esperienze Europee" at the Venice Biennale in 1999. This year he received a book production grant by the Senate of Science and has recently been invited by the Cable Factory in Finland to do an artist residency.
Central to the autobiographical video work of Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby is the focus on self image, a handling of simplicity and an attempt at interacting with the viewer. Duke and Battersby have been working collaboratively since June 1994. They work in printed matter, installation, curation and sound, but their primary focus is the production of single- channel video. Bad Ideas for Paradise is a 20- minute episodic videotape. Funny, touching and ambitious in scope, Bad Ideas for Paradise continues to deal with many of the themes addressed in the artists earlier works: addiction, spirituality, identity, relationship dynamics and the ongoing quest for joy. Cooper Battersby was born in Penticton British Columbia and Emily Vey Duke in Halifax Nova Scotia. Their work has been exhibited at galleries and at festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe. Bad Ideas for Paradise was purchased for broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and for the libraries at Harvard and Princeton, and has won prizes from the NYExpo and the Onion City festival.
SEPT 11 - OCT 15
Marlene Creates Water Flowing to the Sea Captured at the Speed of Light, Blast Hole Pond River, Newfoundland 2002-2003
In a series of large photo-murals, the artist has documented the drama and the transience of the seasons at the same spot along a stream. And, by using an underwater camera, she has inverted the position of the photographer/observer and turned the camera towards herself to find out what the stream saw as it looked back at her. The series explores the spectacular, fugitive changes in nature, as well as our human temporality and mortality. Marlene Creates lives in Portugal Cove. She has participated in over 200 solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. She has taught Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has also been the curator of several nationally touring exhibitions, and has worked in artist-run centres. Her work is in the permanent collection of many Canadian museums and public galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporay Photography. In 2001 she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
DEC 4 - 31
Craig Francis Power Dead Soldiers
Over the summer of 2004, Craig Francis Power was contacted by the departed spirit of his deceased grandfather, H. Ford, who instructed him in the formal and conceptual framework of the installation Dead Soldiers at Eastern Edge in St. John's. This exhibition represents the first time their collaborative efforts have been shown in a public gallery. Power's previous work has dealt with masculinity, the rural and the abject as manifested in imagery of cowboys and Jesus Christ. Craig Francis Power was born in St. John's, NL. and graduated from NSCAD in 2002. His work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals throughout Canada and the U.S. In November 2004, he received a grant from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for the completion of his first novel: A Long Ballad of Sorrowful Happenings.