Patricia Shiplett “Break On Through to the Other Side” at Snelgrove

Patricia Shiplett, or Patty, has a very nice installation-exhibition in the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery until the end of the week. This is a show that you need to spend some time in, absorbing and reflecting on what is going on. It’s place to meditate and reflect on your reality, mortality, what might lie beyond. It is a quiet journey about one’s existence. There’s a delicate balance that this exhibit walks; teetering between elements of psychedelia (through various uses of lights/lasers) while also grounding you and connecting you to memory and self reflection. There’s hints of phantom mysticism and I found myself searching for something deeper than average reality. Lights appear like spirits. Many of Patty’s projections have moments of beauty, that you want to grasp on to but they quickly fade away. Maybe it’s something to be said about the impermanence of life.
Everything someday will go away.
But were they ever there? What is the basis of our reality, is it really real.
One projector cycles through the lit words “are you really sure you really are”

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The largest sculpture in the exhibition is in the center of the room as you walk in. A few bundles of branches that are wrapped in a way that feels like a funeral rite. Then surrounding these bundles are lit tubes containing sapling plants. Accompanying the ground sculpture is a wall projection that shifts between light clusters resembling cell division and Patty’s own archival footage of domestic scenes or something resembling old biology films. That’s the thing with this whole exhibition. There is a vague familiarity with a lot of elements but you are never completely sure. Which brings you back to that phrase ..are you really sure you really are? Back to the sculpture, Bring your own meaning to it, I felt like I was witnessing the life cycle. Old plant life, with new plant life, and the projection being the non-physical; memory and consciousness.

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To the side of the entrance is a long sheet of plexiglass with thousands of spiked glass shards poking through, the whole thing is back-lit by a red LED. The lighting effect made a line with a large round shape above it. The circular shape is a good focal point but it’s nice to explore the peripheries of this piece seeing the light and shadow play as its shines through this complex surface. The shape of the red circle with the line made me think of a persons silhouette maybe a Buddha, but another person I spoke to saw a horizon with a sun.

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On another wall is bands of color on a wall. When inspecting this more you realize that each band of color is actually a distorted video feed. There’s moments during these bands videos that their colors and pattern have a beautiful harmony together, but just as you realize it, it changes. You do this a lot with her exhibit. Finding a moment and it disappears. Makes you want to watch through it again to see that moment. Patty told me that they were streams of consciousness. Which makes sense, people’s lives are sometimes in tune with each others then they keep moving. Whatever it is, I like it.

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Here we have cut portions of Emerson Poetry, plants, and a photo of a man and a skull.
A collection of thoughts, an example of life, light, and the physical body.
-I liked the reflection of the lights inside the box. Like phantoms of something existing somewhere else.

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Here’s another projection. A figure appears and disappears into the background, fuzzed up, sometimes looking like a blob more than a human. Looks like a moving abstract painting. The figure in dark blue amid a blue background with the hint of a warm inviting light behind the figure. There’s something nice about it.

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Beside that projection is a light box photo with a shifting laser pyramid. The light box photo is a person behind a screen with hands and chest close to the screen. It reminded me though of the face of a fetus in that strange development phase when fetus of humans, sharks, bats, dolphins all look the same,

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My favorite film is on the north east wall. There’s two sections of this film that I really enjoyed. One moment there are globes of light traveling across with an ambiguous structure that might be double exposed. But eventually it clarifies to a bus seat and the reflections of the city traveling by.

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At another point in the film is a beautiful wall of color that has slight variations and shifts throughout it, as it slowly moves into another color. It didn’t seem like a computer made color, because it feels like there is more substance and depth to it and knowing Patty’s tendency of collecting odd bits of interesting things she films over the last four years it was probably more.I asked Patty about it and she told me that she shot this scene into a pool of water that was under-lit.

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Patty’s has a few of these slow pulsing lights that she calls portals. They fade and shift through different colors. Once again it had me staring into light trying to find the best color combinations but was also good to imagine nothing else existing but this globe of light. If it was a portal, would you enter?

Particia Shiplett’s show is really worth seeing. There’s a lot of interesting work that she brings the viewer into exploring with her. I mentioned a few things but there is a lot more. A big factor in the success of this exhibition is mood inside the gallery. With blacked out windows you don’t know what to expect. Entering in you see lights, lasers, strange sculptures and many projections but the music sets the tone. The exhibit is paired perfectly with a soundtrack composed by her son Alex Stooshinoff (aka Living Room).

The music is integral to gallery experience, Alex’s music slows you down, calms you, and grounds you. It’s beautifully rhythmic seemingly in tune with your breath that aids the gallery guest to begin the process of introspection that Patty’s work calls for. Like Patty’s practice of collecting film, Alex pairs his melodies with samples of sounds that he’s recorded through a pilgrimage in Spain. The soundtrack brings life, memory and comfort to what could sometimes be a strange exhibit.

While exploring death, this show also explores life, meaning of existence and memory.
If you want to take a quiet journey and explore something different than your usual gallery. I suggest you take in Patty’s show while you have the chance.

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Robert Taite’s Interior Latex Eggshell at AKA Gallery

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Something a bit different happened this weekend, there was a closing reception talk for Robert Taite’s Interior Latex Eggshell at AKA Gallery that was led by Levi Nicholat (of Art Placement Gallery). I was excited about the premise of inviting another gallery in the community to respond to a show at AKA. Especially someone from Art Placement Gallery, that has a rich tradition of Canadian Abstraction and Minimalism. Though I ended up feeling a bit disappointed with the talk, it was a great way to revisit Interior Latex Eggshell while engaging with members of the art community. I hope that something like this happens again.

While there was some critical discussion of Robert Taite’s installation, I really enjoyed it.

With Interior Latex Eggshell, Robert Taite seems to be having fun playing a bit of an antagonist. First of all, he’s turning minimalism on it’s head. Most minimalism is lacking personality, composed of shapes in the frame. Robert Taites work breathes some life into the genre by breaking from the frame and creating sculptural paintings that play with material, balance and color. He’s made custom geometric canvases and replacing the painted object with an actual painted object. These objects are organic blobs, goops and turds made of wood that rest and hang by balance and gravity on his canvas frames. The wooden blobs are shaped in a dynamic way that might suggest a life to them but the way they rest seems like someone has pressed pause, nostalgic of an 80’s Nintendo Game

I love Robert Taites use of colour. While a lot of minimalism is a conversation with bold colours, Taite chose to use muted tones of interior latex mis-tints. Using boring mundane home interior colours, the gallery looks a bit odd. Is it a hybrid of homestaging and gallery installation? There’s a prosaic dullness to it with the exception to the colored globs and framed highlights.

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While the gallery does feel like there is a medicated pause, there is some elements of life that Taite has included in his installation. The gallery flows like a oval with focal points holding down each end. At the main entrance there’s a feature wall where numerous sculpture-paintings are hung salon style then at the other end there’s an area that contains sound coming from art crate shipping containers. The sound is close to inaudible, especially when there’s other people in the gallery. But it does bring some life into the gallery. It sounds like some rhythmic white noise but I guess there is a story behind the content which escaped me. Connecting the two ends Taite uses a series of long and short rectangular canvases that follow a zig-zagging path along the interior of the gallery negotiating corners, windows, door frames, fire exit signs etc.

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^the only object in the gallery without a flawless paint job: art crates emitting noise
–*see the rectangular canvas road following through

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^Robert Taite playing with framing and the standard squared pictorial frame

Interior Latex Eggshell ‘s run at AKA gallery is over, but make sure to keep an eye out for Robert Taite’s work in the future.

 

-David

 

Untitled (New Visions): Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot at AKA Gallery

The last installment of my Three Gallery Shows You Need to See in YXE is Untitled (New Visions) by Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot, curated by Tarin Hughes.
(* if you want to see it in person you need to act fast, it’s last day is Feb 28th!)

I really like this show but it’s kind of hard to talk about. A mystique. Groat’s and Hobot’s work weave together throughout the gallery in a quiet dialogue with each other. While observing this show I get the feeling of a quiet mysticism. The mood in the gallery feels stark, peaceful and profound. The silence is heavy. The gallery is made up of a collection of objects and artworks that all contain feeling / memory or imagination / association. Quite an interesting thing to let your mind loosen a bit and let these objects (in some cases artifacts) speak to you as they are speaking to each other. Maggie Groat functions like an artist shaman as she collects and organizes objects and collages that carry spiritual weight and memory while pulling to the references to natural and supernatural world. Barbara Hobot creates beautiful objects that appear like found oddities from the natural world. Lots of her work looks likes tree bark, but peculiarly curved, plastic and hand painted. By mixing Groat’s found objects and Hobot’s made objects the exhibition as a whole shifts between real and imaginary as the viewer grasps faint traces of distant memories and associations.

Curator Tarin Hughes explains that the show was inspired by Elaine Scarry’s Imaginary Flowers: Perceptual Mimesis (Particularly Delphinium) where she states that the presence of a flower triggers dreams, ghosts of recognition, and memories. Tarin delivered with this show as the presence of the objects carry meaning and associations in reality, memory and your imagination. Engaging with this show is almost like chasing the curious feeling of deja vu.

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There’s a closing talk by curator Tarin Hughes Saturday at 2pm. Try and check this show out if you have the chance!

IN THE MAKING at College Art Galleries, U of S Campus

In this next segment of 3 Gallery Shows You Need to See in YXE we are looking at In the Making at the College Art Galleries.

In my opinion, the College Art Galleries (located in the ground floor and 1st floor of the Admin Building on the U of S campus) have repeatedly and secretly been the best gallery shows in Saskatoon. Strangely, the College Galleries are often overlooked by the general public. If you appreciate art, In the Making needs to be seen.

Organized by Alberta College of Art + Design as an alumni show, the curator Diana Sherlock took a different approach. Rather than a broad survey of ACAD alumni, Sherlock looked at artists that have practices where their craft is merging with digital media/ technology. As an artist, I think about this all the time: is what I’m doing completely outdated? Should I be using technology to assist my process and/or be tied to the product? Does using technology (over completely handmade/ analogue) affect the worth of art? All of this is completely relevant and pretty interesting. Despite these art philosophy questions I ask myself, there are some really beautiful and intriguing work to check out.

Upon entering the lower gallery you are greeted with Dean Drever’s “Pass the Hat” which is a stack of laser cut papers to resemble a totem. To my recollection of Diana Sherlock’s curator talk, Dean Drever first made the totem out of wood, 3D photographed it and entered that data into the program that laser cut thousands of individual pieces of paper that were stacked to create this piece.

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Along the wall on a shelf you’ll see a 10 piece china set Handle Series by Jenna Stanton. These were created by a 3D printed cast with the lips / edging hand finished. These porcelain vessels look perfectly made by a combination of machine and human hand.

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Perhaps the most visually captivating sculpture is Brendan McGillicuddy’s Overtone. McGillicuddy designed this work using computer modelling software with the intent of using CNC machinery to mechanically produce it, but found that the machine couldn’t make it to his finishing standards. So he hand milled it, which is pretty amazing (I also like the custom made base that it rests on)

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There’s a small room in the back of the gallery with a blue lit globe of liquid, Here in this room is a bit of fun. The dark room with the blue light gives a cool ambient mood and you’ll soon discover that the globe reacts to sound. Every sound made in the room is echoed in the globe by bubbles in the liquid. While I was viewing it, there were small children having a blast clapping, talking fast and yodelling to the globe. One creative boy laid under the globe and stared straight into it explaining that he felt like he was being abducted by aliens! Make sure you break typical gallery conduct and have some fun interactions with this piece.

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I was captivated with a picture that appeared to look like a modern minimalist painting on a super glossy finish. The edges of the white lines in the work were intriguing to me. No wonder, it wasn’t a painting but photo.

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^Ward Bastian was a glass blower that used photography to document his work. He fell for the images he made and began to create special glass works for the purpose of his photography practice. What you see here is Highlights 02 which is light reflecting off of black glass in a black room. Pretty cool stuff.

Many of the works in this show beg you to ask, “is the process more important than the product?”
For most of these works the products are amazing and by learning about the process they gain additional worth. There are some in this exhibition that are process driven.

For instance, the work of Hyang Cho. Hyang Cho listened to audio English translated version of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. And what a trial! While listening to the audio-book she attempted to transcribe it word for word on a giant scroll of Stonehenge paper until she ran out of room (over 6 times!). Hyang Cho tested herself in a performance aspect to become machine-like herself. Though maddening to think about attempting a task like this, there’s something interesting looking at her work compared to the original German version of the book. Does this serve as a document of her recollection of the book and how much is lost from the original version through translating, listening, transcribing.

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It’s difficult to see this from the picture, but the writing is interesting. She kept straight and neat but lots of it is illegible and a form of shorthand. It’s also super long.

I’ve only gone through a few of my favorites. There are still 2/3 of the exhibition worth discovering for yourself.
Up until April 11th, In the Making is a show that you can’t miss!

3 Gallery Shows you Need to See in YXE -Wanuskewin

There’s been a lot of talk these last few weeks from people in Saskatoon, including our city council, expressing concern about Saskatoon not having an art gallery during the period of the Mendel closure and the Remai opening.
(The Mendel is closing its doors June 7th and the Remai is expected to open Summer/Fall 2016 http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/Move+Remai+Modern+more+than+year+away/10757291/story.html)

Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely going to miss the Mendel Art Gallery and I am extremely excited about the Remai Modern Art Gallery; but Saskatoon has other art galleries…and they are awesome. There are currently some great exhibitions at AKA Artists Run Center, U of S College Galleries, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park that you shouldn’t miss.

Today Wanuskewin

Did you know that Wanuskewin has not only one, but two art galleries?

Wally Dion’s show “Polygon” is up in the smaller gallery. You might be familiar with Wally’s previous work “Star Blankets” where he fused technology with tradition by creating star blankets out of computer circuit boards. His new work in “Polygons” is exciting. Polygon can be separated into two areas of study both are sculptural paintings that explore colour and pattern. In one series he cuts and layers colored paper to create work that is fascinating to inspect. They remind me of Frank Stella’s early work but with a twist – loud colours and relief make them optically engaging to view.

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His other work in Polygons are geometric wall sculptures that are a beautiful mix of raw and polished. The frames are raw plywood with a super glossy vibrant painted interior. The sculptures feel modern and fresh while still feeling like they carry references to tradition, Neo Tribal maybe.

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The larger gallery at Wanuskewin is “Eco Indian”  with art by Michael Belmore, Amy Malbeuf, Mary Longman, Tanya Harnett and David Garneau. Stepping into the great hall I was floored, with beautifully tall ceilings and excellent lighting the great hall is the nicest gallery room in Saskatoon. Eco-Indian is a contemporary exhibit challenging Aboriginal stereotypes examining Aboriginal worldviews and environmental relationship in a modern context.

I was captivated immediately by Amy Malbeuf’s huge sculpture. Using a massive apparatus she displays stretched animal skins pulled tight but floating across the far gallery wall 15 feet high by 40 feet long. The animals are native to the plains: beaver, coyote, muskrat, rabbit, fox but have safety vests sewn into them. What does it say? I’m not sure exactly, but I was rethinking our relationship with our natural wildlife. We exist in this place but rarely think about or encounter these animals whose land we have displaced. Yes, immediately I thought about road kill but I also thought about “safety culture” where we are sheltered from and ignorant about wilderness and wildlife.

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David Garneau had a video playing of a native man dressed as a clown washed the oil from a dead owl. Clowns are creepy and circus music is even creepier, but this video was worth watching. An owl is symbolic of wisdom and guidance but has also represented Aboriginal people. The act of washing the slimy oil from an owl is uncomfortable to watch but timely considering Canada’s current political agenda. Oil centered economics and continued growth of the tar sands despite environmental warnings and upheaval about destroying indigenous lands fits into the dialogue of this clown film.

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Michael Belmore has a sculpture of a fawn laying dead on the gallery floor. The fawn is a beautiful piece of work. The clay has a rusted patina on its surface with hints of glowing bronze in the interior. Upon inspection, the fawn is cut into strange segments. Could be about society’s disregard and rude attitude towards nature for hints of profit, I’m not sure. But it’s a piece of beauty.

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There’s sculptures by Mary Longman and photos from Tanya Harnett but I need to leave something to be discovered.

Located just 5 minutes out of the north end of the city, Wanuskewin is totally worth the trip.

It’s Prime Time at the Snelgrove

It’s Prime Time!
How does that enthusiastic phrase feel to you?

I hear the phrase like a jingle from a radio voice
and I feel like drinking a beer.

Come down to the Snelgrove and over analyze a title of a show, sprinkled with nostalgic longings and drink a refreshing cold beer.
Because you’re worth it.

Over the last two weeks the U of S MFA students brought their studios to the Snelgrove Gallery where they set up a process show. The idea is simple: bring something to show what you’ve been working on and maybe also something to work on. In my opinion it works better than just inviting the public into the MFA studios for an evening. Why? Because people might be able to come in and actually watch you work – how NOVEL! This Art takes Process?? Also people can revisit to see progression. ALSO If an artist is involved with installations can actually use a gallery setting (rather than a studio). For me, I’m bad at fixed schedules so I got to visit the show a few times at odd hours to appreciate it. So let’s talk about the show.

The shows organized with each MFA student having a little parcel of gallery to their work. I know that I might sometimes bitch about too much didactic but this show needs SOMETHING. It’s like an inside joke, I’d like to know who is making what but there is no way of knowing. It’s also good to have a little blurb or something for the folks that might just be wandering (wondering) in the gallery. Maybe say where the grad studios are currently situated..about the MFA program..about Process.. ya ok

So the art. As I entered I was greeted by Andrei Fehergyhazi who is doing ink spot/splash/swipe experiments that he’s photographing and to possibly animate (I’m not really sure) Andrei looked like he is working in an art lab and for added effect had a giant monitor at his station playing some of his commercial animation work.

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Alexandra Thiesson was working on some insanely rich and detailed chalk pastel works. It was neat seeing her work, since I could never do that. She had a clean system to eliminate smudges and tiny little dirt devil vacuum for the dust. Alexandra has some crazy patience and love for patterns and fabrics. She also has some serious balls leaving her work sitting on a table unfixed and unwatched in an empty gallery. I might be being a cynic but people are stupid with art, you can’t trust the public to not touch art.

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Corinna Wolf has a large scale drawing that she has been previously been working on in Italy. There’s some European inspired architecture that I’m interested in seeing once completed.
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I think* this might be Robyn Anderson’s work since I knew her previous work has been centered on myths, fairy tales and storytelling. If this turns into a gallery sized diorama  or haunting creepy Tim Burton style environment then I’m excited!

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No idea who made this crazy roll of lace-like papercuts and what exactly will happen from it, but I’m excited
–Please use light and shadow with it!

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I’m not sure who made this giant landscape drawing, but it’s been nice to see how it has changed since my first visit.
Working on a sheet of paper that big would be epic

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Doesn’t look like much (I think her stuff was not fully put out when I visited) but Dana Chisolm’s work sure sounds cool. Repurposing industrial and found materials in her sculptures, she has an intriguing interest in utility and art.

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This last one I’m thinking about. Xiao Hun has made a little installation that looks like the starting of a dining room, I’m not going to talk about it because I want to learn more about what she’s doing.

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OK, so there was a quick glimpse into my take on the MFA Process show “Prime Time”
If you are anywhere close to intrigued like I am, then you should pop in and check it out. The MFA’s will be there to chat and the beer will be cold, and 7-10 is PRIME TIME to visit the Snelgrove Gallery.
Hahaha I had to do it. Check out the show, last chance tomorrow!

Tonight is SILENCE!

~~SILENCE and read this blog post mortal earthlings!~~
Tonight is VASU’s annual silent auction “Silence!” The Snelgrove Gallery is packed to its gills in a salon style manner adorned with a plethora of student art.
What is Silence? It’s a fundraiser for the Visual Art Students’ Union as well as a chance for art students to show and sell some of their creative work they’ve been doing. It’s also a party with drinks, food, and music. People of all shapes and forms can enjoy themselves, bid on art (usually for amazing prices), win door prizes, take photo-booth pics, and revel in everything good.
I’ve also heard someone was bringing a swaddle of lil bity cutie pooty puppy dogs too (*yet to be confirmed)

Some of my favorite student artists are representing their work including: Aralia Maxwell, Yonina Rollack, Jory Simpson, Emily Koelert, Kenton Doupe, Stepanie Mah, Jordan “the Bulge” Bulgis, Michael Tremblay, and Shelby Lechman (there’s many many more to mention but my anorexic fingers are getting tired)

Here’s a little tantalizing treat for your visual tastebuds

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^Kenton Doupe is steppin up his drawing game with his recent crispy clean drawings.

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Shelby Lechmen has been creating these elegant and subtly beautiful monoprints

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Devon Roy put in this massive drawing. Little bit of inner madness, identity crisis thing going on maybe? I dig it!

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Jordan Bulgiss is fine tuning his expressive brushwork, with this sly lookin lady.

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Everyone that is anyone in the Art Department knows who this is. The beloved Snelgrove Gallery Director Marcus Miller of course! Now you can own him!! errrrr.. a painting of him

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Michael Tremblay has these insane drawing/pencil crayon pictures. They are fucking hysterical and totally rad.

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Yonina Rollack has silkscreens and collagraph prints in her excellent graphic style.

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Stephanie Mah’s delicate silkscreen monoprint is sure nice

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Jory Simpsons got his silk screen technique dialed in.

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^It wouldn’t be Silence without a Lego sculpture from Terry! He’s riffing on University politics with this re-imagining of the U of S campus.

OK that’s enough of teaser photos. I’ve purposely left out some of my other favorites so that you have to come down to Silence to see if for yourself. Tonight Dec.5th, 7-10!