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!

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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!

“Self Same” Maia Stark’s MFA show

Maia Stark has had her MFA show “Self Same” up at the Snelgrove Gallery AND TODAY IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CHECK IT OUT IN PERSON!!
but I guess if you can’t see it live you can at least read about it online.

ok?

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with pink lately (or the last year!) so I was excited when I walked into the gallery to see this.

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A huge pink title wall!!
What’s with pink? It’s a crazy color. It’s more than being girlie, pink is extreme on the eye. It’s really GROSS and that’s why I like it!
So from this pink wall, I was intrigued “is there something gross in this exhibit??” (more of this later on)

Maia’s exhibit is dominated by some large oil paintings with some smaller mixed media and drawings.

You’ll probably find this out, but I’ll just say it: Maia is a twin. She has a twin sister that I often confuse with her, Cassandra.

How do you feel about twins? Some people are a bit freaked out by them, some might think they are weird or perhaps even tricksters. As a non-twins, they are a bit of a mystery. I’ve read psychology studies that have spoken about mental connections between twins. They’ve been known to share physical symptoms as well as each others depression and pain. Society through the ages have shared my fascination with twins. There’s myths and stories regarding twins in many cultures.

Maia is looking at her personal story of being a twin with some mythology mixed in.

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Light boxes are cool. Maia has a series of three layered drawings that are quite beautiful. I love looking through the layers and appreciating the nuances.

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While most of her work includes two people. Maia has some photographic work that duplicates herself and in another combines her and her sister through collage. Her double exposure photo is really cool, with two heads mind merging. Her collage has Maia creating hybrids of herself and her sister by collaging pieces of the their faces together.

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Ok, so back to me wondering if there was anything gross in the exhibition. There is some cryptic gross elements to some of Maia’s painting. There seems to be a reoccurring skin condition in most of them. I’m intrigued and would like to know why!

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Why are we fascinated with twins? I think non-twins are really missing out. With the risk of sounding cheezy they have a “soul friend” that have a deeper understanding of each other than anyone else. A twin without a twin feels so alone… is that the way I feel all the time?

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Make sure to come visit the Snelgrove tonight for Maia’s reception! 7-9 with drinks and snacks.
We can talk about twins and stuff!

Pamela Ollenberger’s “Many Feathers Flock Together: A Celebration of T-Bird”

This week at the Snelgrove is Pam Ollenberger’s MFA show “Many Feathers Flock Together”

Her work is a reflection and celebration of fond memories when Pam worked as a camp counselor at Camp Thunderbird, a camp for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Pam’s show looks awesome in the gallery. Her paintings are massive, colorful explorations of memory, where Pam uses a lot of different painting materials and techniques. With the lights being dim and calm the bright crayola colors seem to glow and jump out of her paintings. Each painting also has a sophisticated black frame. I don’t know if it was just me, but I really noticed the gallery floor during Pam’s exhibition. It could have been freshly waxed and buffed, but the bright rich colors of Pam’s paintings spilled out and reflected onto and activated the floor of the gallery.

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Pam’s paintings gave me a load of feelings of childhood nostalgia. I went back to my own memories of summer camps as a kid. Allow me to reflect, summer camps are something sincerely special. The week (or two week) span of a summer camps feels as if it’s something SO EPIC. I remember coming out of summer camp and feeling like it was a month or two because the experiences were so rich and concentrated. Friendships were made, crushes formed, lessons learned, and camp counselors were always heroes. OK reflection over, sorry If you didn’t do summer camps as a kid.

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My favorite paintings of Pam’s were here photo-transfer / painting collages.
The source imagery for these if pretty neat. Pam gave out disposable cameras to campers to document their day as they want you to see it. Her massive paintings look at little like a Rauschenberg without the pop culture imagery. There’s a lot going on in them so you can spend some time exploring the imagery. Pam also has painted over areas both additively and reductively.

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Many of Pam’s paintings have recognizable elements with hints of an inner story. I’m sure that they have loads of meaning once dissected, or with Pam’s help.

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Come down to the Snelgrove to see Pam’s massive paintings for yourself!
ORRR come for a drink and snacks at the reception Friday evening! Cya at the Snelgrove