This week the Snelgrove Gallery is packed showing 4 BFA students’ exhibitions!
We’ll start with Samantha Braun’s show “Facade”
I don’t know if this is a regular thing that people do but me and my partner go for walks in desirable neighborhoods and talk about houses. We look at them as if they have a personality. It’s like people watching. Some are cozy and cute, others serious, some are bland, others are whacky. We revel in roofs and eaves-troughs, windows and porches, accents and foliage. Samantha must do this too, because she sees her houses as personalities.
For her show, Samantha has painted a series of small house portraits combined with a wall mounted sculpture of the front of a house. Samantha hints at her subject matter with her title. Facade is not only the word for the front of a house but also how people can put on an act, or appearance. Samantha’s show is both of these meanings. The facade of a house is also like a mask – it’s an appearance to the public, a communication that people respond. In a way when we paint a portrait of a person they are putting on a facade. Is their facial expression/ pose of friendly, elegant, melancholic? When I look at Samantha’s house paintings I think about what kind of person they are, but also who would own the house -because houses can be like dogs, reflecting their owners.
Samantha paints freely and expressively despite their small size. By the most part they are colorful characters with group of seven-esque foliage accents. I particularly enjoy the mix of paint application. Some of her painting is thick and sloppy, sometimes precise, and in some joyful instances so thin that you can see the contrasting under-painting.
Nest up is Lesley Kerpan’s “Slight Alterations”
Lesley Kerpan is interested in architecture and abstraction. For her multimedia show Lesley takes local and international architectural and slightly alters them to create a reimagined place. Lesley’s show is dominated by three large primary colour paintings. These are her most abstract, as she hints at the buildings architectural features with vague suggestive mark making. The buildings seem to have been once there but washed away from the colored surface, all that is left is memory, dust, and shadows.
Lesley also has some interesting small works in between her larger paintings. At first appearance they seem to be video stills set into a deep frame. Looking at these local photos you realize peculiarly that inside each there is something moving inside while the rest remains still. Something about this felt ghostlike and creepy.
Finally Lesley has a few digital paintings that appear velvety. Both are of local places re-imagined and distorted. I liked her choice to do these in black and white, because they had me contemplating memory and losing/distorting memories with time. Leslie created a neat 3D effect by cutting out areas of these and placing them behind or in front of the rest of the picture plane that is best appreciated in person.
Next up is Laurissa Nagel’s show “Men at Work”
Laurissa is a female artist that likes to paint/draw men. In her show, “Men at Work” she analyzes male roles. Laurissa grew up in a small town and since arriving in Saskatoon was shocked at her changing perception of masculinity. Her previous town being a traditional homogenized community of the archetypal man to living in Saskatoon encountering metro-sexuals, stay at home dads, and gay communities. Laurissa’s work looks at a variety of male roles using black and white printmaking that appear to look like charcoal drawings.
Finally, Rhea Lonsdale’s installation “Collator”
I really love Rhea’s installation. She has a intricate paper cuts that remind me of Ben Hettinga or Ed Pien combined with Jennifer Steinkamp but with an element of interaction. Let me explain: the wall of her paper cut mandala is back projected that is responding to movement inside her space. She has a cleverly hidden webcam that with her programming changes the projection/pattern behind the paper-cut screen depending on activity.
The mandala is beautiful and mesmerizing as you stare into it and it shifts kaleidoscopically with you. To either sides of her installation room are screens with paper-cuts over top of them. The screens are distorted enough that they are familiar yet not exactly sure what is going on. It’s beauty amidst technology. The roof is also nice. She has what seems to be a massive tarp with cuts out of it.
Rhea’s work reminds me of something mystical crossed with technological with elements of psychedelia. I often get easily fatigued when looking at new media video/computer works, yet hers has a delicacy that is lovely. It’s a nice little quiet space inside the Snelgrove that you appreciate greater with the more you interact with the space. I only wish it was more and bigger.