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David Carey / Mathieu Léger / Craig Francis Power

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Small animals made with WonderBread and other white bread.

MAY 2 – JUN. 13

In The Animals, David Carey imagines how toy animals would adapt themselves to a domestic setting. How would they establish themselves in this strange environment? Carey has placed each one in a scene that he believes would be naturally appealing. “Sheep graze contentedly on my bedroom carpet, giraffes nibble at a plant on the kitchen table, and zebras try to blend in with their habitat. Deer gather nervously in a clearing, and a contemplative lion inspects his mane in the mirror. Distinctive character traits emerge. These fanciful scenes are created with a sense of fun and humour that is inspired by my childhood imagination.”

Mary Reid, Curator at The Winnipeg Art Gallery writes, “[By] using his domestic space in close up, intimate scale, as a backdrop, Carey’s composition of animals at home explores these unsettling tensions. When looking at Carey’s “animal/still-lifes” we smile, we see the humour but yet feel unsettled. His cast of characters become metaphors for our own anxieties, problems, issues, joys and celebrations that play out in our private spheres, where our daily life, full of rituals and transgressions are carried out. Although the trace of child-like play is felt, the arrangements are too sophisticated. Carey’s animals are observers, judging, hunting our psyche, and opening up possibilities for the unexpected”.

In The Wonder Bread Project Mathieu Léger has modeled a variety of animal forms from Wonder Bread™. Inspired by a dinner roll, Léger links current exploration of uranium in New Brunswick to his breaded subjects. “Wheat flour has been listed amongst food items approved for irradiation in Canada,” Jennifer Belanger expands, “The irradiation process, which exposes items to radiation in order to kill bacteria and organisms, utilizes Cobalt-60, a nuclear reactor by-product. The reactors themselves are powered by uranium.

Léger links the global push for mass agriculture and the new health regulation processes it entails with the realities of an economically strapped province envisioning short term quick cash investments. Wheat = flour = bread. Bread signifies money, work, love, survival and, in a traditional setting, daily ritual. Léger’s animal bread sculptures hint at the notion of play while establishing an underlying notion of environmental, economical and political posturing. From the depth of the earth to the food on your table, The Wonder Bread Project questions the broader impact of uranium mining on future generations.”

Experimenting with the rudimentary drawing program Microsoft Paint, Craig Francis Power combines his interest in drawing – its immediate expressiveness – with video installation in Inevitable Heartbreak. Power has constructed what is simply a row of 10 red birdhouses. As unassuming as a suburban neighborhood, inside quiet melodramas ensue, human arguments and desires articulated by humbly drawn birds. Their sharp observations are not dulled despite – at times – their alcoholic tendencies.

In the artist’s words, “I am attracted to this particular style of drawing because the apparent lack of skill seems to contradict the sophisticated ideas being displayed. The animations concern my interest in country music, drinking, and failed romantic relationships. The birds in the animations are stand-ins for myself, the feelings of futility I struggle with in the face of my own loneliness, depression and paralysis.”