Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MAKING OTHERWISE / FOLK LORE AND OTHER PANICS

passion over reason  by Mark Clintberg and members of Winds and Waves guild , Fogo Island Newfoundland
I have chosen a quilt made with wrong side out fabrics to begin this post about Folk Lore and Other Panics, a 12-artist exhibition curated by Mireille Eagan that was up at The Rooms in St. John's Newfoundand until April 26 2015.

The quilt flips the text from Reason over Passion , the quilt that beloved Canadian artist Joyce Wieland made for prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1968.  We learn from the wall label that artist Mark Clintberg designed this quilt because he is interested in women's intervention in politics and had ten similar quilts made by the Wind and Waves artisan group of Fogo Island Newfoundland.
Clintberg is one in a growing trend of young Canadian artists who are employing traditional craft, folk art, and commonplace materials to help us understand our panic-ridden contemporary world.
I like that the sixteen women's names from the Wind and Waves collective are listed on the wall label.  I like that the ten quilts in this edition are placed randomly on beds in the Fogo Island Inn.  I like that the story of the Wieland/Trudeau gift is held up for contemplation.  I like that artists as cool as Mark Clintberg are speaking the language of the quilt.
1970 stomped globe  by Kay Burns  2003 and ongoing
These interesting circular shapes are also from the Folk Lore and Other Panics exhibition.  The text on the wall label reveals that the artist, Kay Burns, impersonated Iris Taylor, the fictional founder of the Flat Earth Society and that these discs are the results of stomping on globes, an initiation act that new members do in order to express their common sense.
Like so much conceptual art, it helps to read about the intent of the artist, and then something goes bong in the mind and new insight (and laughing out loud) happens.

Two interesting and more comprehensive reviews of Folklore and other Panics are here and also here.
Road Trip  2012  by Janet Morton knitted wool man's outfit, video approximately  60 minutes
In Cambridge Ontario's Idea Exchange gallery, there is a second exhibition, Making Otherwise that features two videos about knitting.  In the first, Robert Kingsbury unravels an odd suit knitted by Janet Morton. Entitled Road Trip, the sixty minute video explores the dimension of time, and Morton connects ephemeral with repetitive, walking with thinking, and real time with embedded time for the viewer.
That suit took at least a month for Morton to knit but Kingsbury easily unravels it into a single ball in an hour as he walks through the outskirts of a town - past gas stations, alongside ditches, rhythmically lifting his legs to undo her labour,  not losing a step.  (Video was recorded by Nick Montgomery).

The second video, Shiny Heart, reminds us that while making things by hand is a slow and meditative quiet act for the maker, the result can be seen (and heard in this case) by others in mere minutes. Janet Morton's use of time based art forms such as music and video in combination with her slow textile production confounds us.  All the time that is spent making.  It's invisible.
 
The tuba that Colin Couch performs Bach's Goldberg variation #25 is muffled with knitted yarn over the 13 minutes that it takes to play it, beginning at the mouth piece and going around and around each and every tube large and small while he determinately makes his music.  It makes us think about all the time he spent learning and practicing the difficult piece.  It's invisible.
Janet Morton spent weeks covering the tuba with knitting, a complicated and fiddly thing to do and then in 13 minutes, it was undone.  The video of the undoing was shot by Morton's collaborator, Robert Kingsbury, and then played in reverse so that the instrument is magically covered up.  What is mind boggling is that the sound of the Bach variation is unaffected by the reverse video.  The hours spent by Andrew McPherson editing and fiddling with the video and sound looks effortless, but it's not.  It's invisible.
This Canadian Art review gives more information and a photo of the silent tuba.  Click  here.
The final artist I will mention is Sarah Maloney from Nova Scotia who uses embroidery and sculpture to address art history and women's  place in society.
A mother of three, the non toxic and portable art of embroidery allowed her to maintain her art practice (MFA Windsor) while raising the girls.   She also made the heavy oak frames for her large pieces herself as well as a fainting sofa with bronze tulips that is also part of the installation but not shown here.
The beauty of the curves and patterns are compelling.  There is intensity in this careful art.  The botanically correct and much enlarged couples of fertile tulips are bursting with life.

Making and otherwise: Craft and Material fluency in Contemporary Art includes six Canadian artists and was curated by Heather Anderson and organized by Carlton University Art Gallery.  It will be in Cambridge until June 27 2015.

5 comments:

Mo Crow said...

what a great post and exciting show !

Ms. said...

Ah--a cornucopia of delightful creativity....I'm looking forward to going through the links. Thank you for posting this Judy!

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing these inspiring exhibits. Kay Burns is leading a session at Banff this fall that I'm toying with applying for. Seeing her work makes me all the more interested.

stevensfaye said...

So much interesting information here, Judy. Thank you so much for bringing your and other artists' work to those of us who do not travel about so much!

Karen said...

Psst... it's Sarah Maloney from Nova Scotia.