When it Stopped: Bruno Vinhas
rOGUE Gallery: June 3rd – August 7th, 2021
“The hardest thing about being in a depressed state is that people have preconceived ideas of what it might look like. They usually associate it with not being able to cope with daily life and isolation, but in truth, not everyone experiences depression the same way. Some people are fully functional as social beings; I am one of those.
On When It Stopped I depict my coping mechanism of staying busy, all the time, as a way to propel my mind to be thinking about the next thing not permitting any voids in which I would have to think about my own self. Through a series of textile art pieces steaming from the anatomical heart and the brain, I speak about what depression looks like to me and allowed all thoughts and feelings swimming around my head to be manifested.”
— Bruno Vinhas
Brazilian by birth, Bruno Vinhas is passionate about global craft culture which drove his will to work in a gallery environment. A degree in Tourism and Hospitality has provided Vinhas with the experience of living and working in multiple countries and being immersed in different cultures changed his perspective about art and craft. Graduate with honours through College of North Atlantic’s Textiles: Craft & Apparel Design program in 2016, Vinhas has devoted his practice to textile art with a focus on embroidery; he has also been part of several different projects including but not limited to set and costume design, mixed media and visual arts, theatre and dance. He has been working as the Craft Council of Newfoundland’s Gallery Director/Curator since August 2018, previously holding the position of Gallery Assistant Director for a year; his primary focus in the gallery is regarding accessibility and inclusion in public art spaces.
Click here to go to Bruno’s Website
Bruno Vinhas Artist Statement:
In me. With me. Alone. To assume that you are someone when you don’t even know you exist is highly complicated. In this phase – half crazy, half polka, with a hint of lyricism – in which I am going through: I believe that I am everything I did not want to hear. I would be able to tell me if I had time to meet myself and exchange some ideas. When in doubt, I doubt myself and my existence. I dream, however.
Plan, paper, smile and tears … symptoms of a life gradually revived for a new birth. If you ask me who I am I will tell you that I am what I once was, what I assimilate from the world and what I intend to be. It is me and not others in search of myself and so I live. One day at a time. An hour at a time just like the heart only beats once every millisecond.
I wish to rediscover past lives and re-establish my course towards what I insist on calling “the future”. I am life and luck, heat and death. I am all and nothing and there is still the question of whether I really exist. Therefore, I leave you the freedom to tell me and me the responsibility to read: what, when and how I am or will be…
I am in me, like a weird spectator of a fantastic world … I lean over imaginary clipboards and describe myself as the smoke rings fill the air around me and all threads fall, one strand at a time in the place where they are bound to live forever. I suggest images to me of what I am and I am not, I draw them with needle and thread, I blur my existence with what I believe you want to see of me and by doing so … I confess my deepest fears and insecurities on a piece of cloth…
And by confessing to myself my most secret dreams, it may be that I am sweetening my mental guts with palliatives: “thoughtful” boomerangs – that take me to far places only to later return me safe and sound to the cocoon I carry on my back … to the place I call home or once did.
The hardest thing about being in a depressed state is that people have preconceived ideas of what it might look like. They usually associate it with not being able to cope with daily life, isolation and crying most of the time, not being able to hold a conversation and in a constant state of needing other people. But in truth, not everyone experiences depression the same way.
Some people are fully functional as social beings when they are out and about, they make jokes and laugh with other people, they carry on with their work and some are very productive … But then there is that time of the day when everything falls silent and the crippling thoughts fill their mind and they feel worthless, guilt for things they did or didn’t do and that the world is falling apart around them.
I am one of those. My coping mechanism is to stay busy, all the time, as a way not to allow any “undesired thoughts” to take over, just like that I propel my mind to be thinking about the next thing not permitting any voids in which I would have to think about my own self.
I make art to express what is going on in my head when, by mistake, I give it a break. Every tiny stitch placed on the fabric is a relief and moment of breathing, exhaling the anxiety. The precision of where the needle goes down is proof to myself that I am worth and I can do beautiful things. The knots are the last cry for help at the end of a cycle … and then is moving on to the next one.
Just like most embroidery pieces, where most people only see the beautiful surface of the work, the composure on a daily basis helps create the image of a strong person, the one you can come to and talk about your issues, the one willing to help anyone. When you turn around an embroidery though, you may see an entanglement of threads and knots and that is exactly how my head is … deep inside there is a mystery not known even to oneself, and a tangled black hole of thoughts that squeezes the will power of one’s heart to keep pulsing.
My body and mind will go on but the heartbeat weakens bit by bit … and those embroidery creations only happen When It Stopped…
Holding Place: Christeen Francis, Emily Neufeld, Andrew Testa
Main Gallery: August 28 – October 9, 2021
Holding Place brings together the work of three artists: Christeen Francis, Emily Neufeld, and Andrew Testa, who are individually immersing themselves in this place, and exploring who they are in relation to this (new to them) land. This exhibition begins to navigate: how can settler artists with no ancestral connection to Newfoundland build a relationship with this place in a way that is centered around integrity and care?
Using slowness as methodology and paying attention to the rituals of daily life, all three artists search for ways to make meaningful connections to place, and attempt to answer this core question through diverse material explorations in printmaking, installation, video work, and site-specific interventions.
Christeen Francis’ work critically engages with aspects of urban development and displacement, considering the lived realities of humans and non-humans in cities, the concept of home, and the trauma of constant change and restructuring. Viewing cities as places of intersection and blurring of binaries such as urban and wilderness, Fallow investigates the fragility of our assumptions of permanence through video installation, and considers the evolving urban landscape, and the transitional or fallow spaces within. Collecting moments of the intersection of built and fallow and blending footage and manipulated audio, she creates a space to pause and contemplate one’s connection to the city as land and consider how we navigate and relate to it.
Originally from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Christeen came to St. John’s for a residency at EE, where she took daily walks and fell in love with its many secret pathways and transitional spaces. Seeing St. John’s as a unique intersection of wilderness and city, she eventually made her way back as director of St. Michael’s Printshop.
Christeen Francis, Borough Burrow, 2019, installation view at Alberta Printmakers, relief print, screenprint, collage, chine colle.
Emily is currently an Artist in Residence at Eastern Edge. Working with assistant Drew Pardy, Emily is conducting this residency from BC pending the relaxation of travel restrictions. Emily Neufeld’s work explores the connections between a person’s identity and their location. Through her work, she asks the questions: Can a space ever be empty? Where does the content of a house end? How do our memories survive as we are continually displaced, and our homes eventually dismantled? Neufeld seeks to answer these questions through staging interventions into private homes that have been slated for demolition. Searching for the patterns of wear and tear within homes, she finds evidence of the rituals of daily life and amplifies them through her sculptural interventions. Neufeld documents these installations through photography, before leaving the home to be demolished.
Emily was born and raised in farming country where Treaty 6 and 7 meet in what is now called Red Deer, Alberta. She now lives and works in the unceded territory of the Squamish and T’sleil Waututh peoples in North Vancouver. She is examining her own Mennonite and Scottish settler colonial histories by investigating her relationship to these Indigenous lands in which she now lives and works. Her definition of this place extends beyond the land itself to include plants, the soil microbiome and animal habitats (including the human animal). Her work explores how all of these aspects of place influence and are influenced by each other. This will be Emily’s first time visiting Newfoundland.
Emily Neufeld, Before Demolition: Tides, 2019, Installation in fisher’s house with tide and lunar charts cut through the walls.
Andrew Testa’s work asks and attempts to respond to the questions: What does a mutual and nurturing conversation with the other-than-human look like, and what would be the ethics of such an endeavour? Testa engages with these questions by documenting his daily-rituals of walking, pausing, looking, and listening. In the piece, go for a walk, find a place to sit and wait, wait in this place, go back to where you began, repeat, he creates prints from an intaglio plate that has been dragged on the ground during a long walk. In, All the other things, a series of books document natural items borrowed and returned during his stays in various places (Corner Brook and Kamloops). The photographs that document his performative process illustrate gestures of slowness and moments of intimate interactions with the spaces and places around him.
Testa first came to Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) in 2016 to teach at Grenfell Campus and has since become an active community arts member in Corner Brook, where he currently lives and works, and in St. John’s, where he currently serves as the Chair at St. Michael’s Printshop.
Andrew Testa, Go for a walk – find a place to sit and wait – wait in this palace – go back to where you began – repeat, 2019, performative gesture/ process, Port Union.