“On this day in…”December 12 2012 Mark…

“On this day in…”
December 12 2012

Mark Mizgala’s Remains

“Artist Mark Mizgala presents posters of pop bottles and other containers coated in slip, creating a look of ancient clay vessels in this off-site exhibition entitled, Remains.  Mizgala investigates contemporary food and beverage packaging, represented as mock archaeological findings.  The artwork appears in a form that is intrinsic to advertising: posters printed on commercial-grade paper and displayed in bus shelters across the city of Vancouver.” (grunt)

“Having worked as an art director for most of his professional career, advertising is familiar territory for Mizgala.  He is fascinated by the corporate machine, its by-products, and the manner in which they are presented in popular culture.  Mizgala immortalizes on film that which is already immortal: garbage, enjoying a particularly long life in our landfills, rivers, and ocean floors.  The poster series is a testament to long-term environmental impact - a sharp contrast to the ephemera of advertising and mass media.” (grunt)

Check out Mark Mizgala’s interview here.

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“On this day in…”November 22nd 1988David…

“On this day in…”
November 22nd 1988
David Ostrem’s Social Criticism - a display of generational rage by a guy born in 1945

Captain Dave in Ostremtime - Art Perry

“If anyone was to ask me where I thought David Ostrem fitted in, I’d proudly say, he doesn’t.  That is one of the refreshing bits about Ostrem.  He’s looking at the same world we are.  He’s listening to the music.  He picks up the same magazines, watches the same newscasts and eats the same packaged food.  The difference is that Captain Dave is in Ostremtime; it’s the same world and it’s the same culture, only David Ostrem, like Billy Pilgrim, is unstuck in time.  Maybe, like Billy in Slaughter-house Five, Ostrem sees himself as prescribing corrective lenses for Earthling souls.  3-D glasses to punch into the past and punch out the present.  Not too far into the past to be irrelevant but just far enough to make sense out of the present.”


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“On this day in…” November 14th 2004 Laurie…

“On this day in…”

November 14th 2004

Laurie Anderson’s - The End of the Moon

The End of the Moon, [Laurie Anderson’s] new and still- evolving solo show, is about many things, among them NASA, dogs, tress, and travel.  But one of its most obvious topics is the Unites States of America: when Anderson says, ‘When you look at something this big and this broken how do you imagine putting it back together?’  she’s not just talking about the wreckage of the space shuttle Columbia.
In this performance, she offers no easy answers, revealing instead that even teh good things in life are fraught with peril.  Discussing a 10-day retreat she took on the Northern California coast, she describes hiking with her dog Lolabelle and being stalked by vultures hoping to chow down on the terrier.  For the rest of the trip, her pet walked nervously, its head in the air- just like the post-9/11 residents of Anderson’s home city, New York.  Death from above, she posits, has become a constant waking nightmare.” (Alexander Varty - Georgia Straight - November 18 2004)

Check out Archer Pechawis’ interview with Laurie Anderson from Brunt 2007/2008.

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“On this day in…”Blue Moon – October 31st…

“On this day in…”
Blue Moon - October 31st 1989

“The Blue Moon is an amorphous group of Kootenay based artists, writers and people interested in the arts.  A member-run gallery was started in Nelson in August 1985.  Although the gallery closed in December 1986, the Blue Moon has continued to organize exhibits and events, showing what’s not shown, in the Kootenay area.
Artists contributing to the show are LX Forde (painting), Anne Degrace (painting), Gary Ramsbottom (painting), Gustave Russ Yougreen (painting), Judy Wapp (collage), Caroline Woodward (writing), John Cooper (painting) and Linda Mennie (assemblage).” (grunt)


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“On this day in…” March 5th 1996 –  Juicy,…

“On this day in…”

March 5th 1996 - 

Juicy, Cultivating Queer Culture: Emily Carr Group Show

“Juicy, Cultivating Queer Culture pulled a mini-coup by escaping the tiny orbit of ECIAD into the mega-universe of the Vancouver parallel gallery scene. i.e. a week at the grunt.  But this upscale venue only exacerbates the nagging and oft-asked question, why a queer show - or why a show of work by queers - or why a show of queer work?  To stick to the theme, what’s the value of a show on, around, about dykes, fags, bithings, trannies, and loser straights?

Well plenty, fuck face. ‘Cause it is interesting to ask, over and over, what defines this queer thing.  I go to queer shows, and participate in them, because I want to see what a bunch of sexual miscreants can get up to , or down for, or on about.  I’m interested for the same reason that I’m interested in what’s happening with the whole I-P scam.  Basically, Juicy tempts you to  believe that there may be something to queer (self) identity that actually links it up across individual expression.  The short answer is, of course, that queerness is just as varied (and just as voluntary) in art as in life.  So the value of the show, to belabour the point, is its unintentional detooling of the assumed inevitability of explicitly ‘sexual’ and/or victim imagery in so-called queer work.  For some the revelation came off a bit flat.  I heard more than one practiced scenester bemoan the loss of queerness as evidenced by the absence of sex.  If the lesson of Juicy is, finally, that there ain’t much of a diff between breeders and their betters (at least in terms of art making), then what we’re left with is something of a minor crisis in identity politics - that institutionalized difference is maybe more like institutionalized privilege.  A dangerous argument in the wrong hands.” (Andrew Power, Planet of the Arts, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design,Volume HI, issue 3+1= May/June 1996)

Artists who contributed: Diane Barbarash, Carla St. Pierre, Michael Bell, Carmen Schwartz, Damon Crain, Christopher Sheldon, Jacques Gaudet, Constanza Silva, Kine Gullberg, Teri Snelgrove, Chris Hamilton, Penny Treen, Krista Lee Hanson, Jonathan Wells, Robert Harper Jones, Robert H. Lawrence, Brain Langlands, Selena Liss, Karla Martinez, Allison MacFarlane, Allana Murray, Chris Nash, Andrew Powers

For more articles on this subject check out our (queer)intersections: vancouver performance in the 1990s site!

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“On this day in…”February 22nd 2008 – Rolande…

“On this day in…”
February 22nd 2008 - Rolande Souliere's Materiality and Otherness

“Basic values and traditions of the Anishinaabe people continue to fuel my thinking and behaviour and this comes through visually in my artistic practice; through the material selection, through the various processes such as binding, weaving, knotting, threading, felting, etc. and lastly through the aesthetic.  For example, aesthetically the traditional teaching of the Heyokah is made visual through the play of the inside outside relationship of the objects and reflects through the processes enlightened states of understanding.” (Rolande Souliere)

Upon closer inspection of Materiality, we see on two walls Souliere’s installation of feathered cones. A cluster of pieces on the left and a couple to the right, they are intricately fashioned to display like horny peacocks, those elaborate feathers in perfect rows. Inside are deeply colorful weavings of seemingly seamless proportions. They draw you in to see them closer and examine the pieces. However, a need to stand further back registers as if they would curiously retract if advanced upon. When confronted with her pieces, it’s as though you are forced to participate in a meditative chant. It pushes and pulls and breathes, finding your rhythm until you lose track of your breath. Perhaps the language she is using requires more context. (Skeena Reece - Brunt 2008)

Check out the full Skeena Reece article, page 29 here

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Thoughts on Hannah Claus’s ‘Interface’, cultural identity, and colonization

While sorting, through, organizing, and attempting to make sense of grunt’s massive archive today, a particular exhibition captured my interest. 

Hannah Claus’s ‘Interface’ explored the rise in popularity of decorative surfaces with the newly expanding middle class during the Victorian era - that period of time which represents the explosion of colonialism and the Industrial Revolution. 

Claus explored this concept by using mud to create a Victorian wallpaper-style design on the wall of the gallery, and creating a small enclosure, comprised of rolls of paper silkscreened with the same design, encircling a pair of moccasins. 

While actual photos of the installation were limited, I found myself fascinated by the installation’s central concept  - how the other cultures, which in fact inspired many of the designs the era is famous for, were essentially decimated by the colonizing culture itself. 

It got me thinking about, and questioning, the hidden histories behind the seemingly innocuous cultural symbols we encounter everywhere. For what, on the surface, could seem more commonplace, more European and bland, than the Victorian style florals and patterns that are so familiar to us? It surprised me in much the same way that the knowledge about where the signature points and curves of the Gothic period came from did; for they came from contact with the East. 

It’s easy, for me at least, to forget just how mutable and fluid the standards, cultural and otherwise, that we take for granted are. It really is only through understanding the past that we can make sense of the world of today, in all its messiness and complexity.

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“On this day in…”February 14th 1989 – Julie…

“On this day in…”
February 14th 1989 - Julie A. Valenti's Drawers of Life

“An avid recycler, her works form narratives that poke and pull fun from popular culture and institutions.  They are insightful, witty and clever.”
“Valenti says of her work ‘I look at my art as a natural outgrowth from my life long interest pattern and design, my almost compulsive sense of order and symmetry and my philosophical belief in recycling.’  This exhibition entitled Drawers of Life, features a series of drawers containing scenes and tableaus of imaginary settings that take jabs, reflect and speculate about our lives and concerns.”

Happy Valentine’s Day from grunt! <3

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“On this day in…”February 9, 2001 – Tomoyo…

“On this day in…”
February 9, 2001 - Tomoyo Ihaya's Garden of Life/Chart of Animism

“Because of my deep desire to explore the origins and co-existence of all living things,  I have a long lasting interest in such subjects as the philosophy of animism, folklore, mythology, and the natural environment.  Through daily contemplation, fascinating symbols of cosmos, natural objects, and old artifacts occur repeatedly in my mind.  I communicated with them and interpret them visually on paper.  Then, each symbol starts relating to the others through channels that together create a chart of wholeness.” (Tomoya Ihaya)

This exhibition features long patch paper murals combining mixed media techniques of papermaking, painting, staining, printmaking and collage and explores animist imagery from folklore and mythologies.  Ihaya’s work is based in printmaking techniques of etching and chine colle.  Her work evokes the natural world and uses archetypal images in a new and exciting way.

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