In the Main Gallery 6 Aug. to 10 Sept. 2011 Opening | Saturday 6 August at 7pm for more information, contact: Michael Davidge/Bronwyn McLean modern fuel artist-run centre 21 Queen St. Kingston, ON K7K 1A1
(613) 548-4883 firstname.lastname@example.org www.modernfuel.org
The Rough Edge of Beauty Jessica Marion Barr, Mackenzie Browning, Decomposing Pianos, Frank DeSa, Rebecca Houston, Maayke Schurer, Su Sheedy, Andrew Sims, David Woodward. Curated by Iga Janik. Modern Fuel’s 13th Annual Regional Juried Members’ Exhibition will be presented at Modern Fuel from August 6th to September 10th. An opening reception with the artists and curator in attendance will be held on August 6, 2011 at 7pm Works by the nine artists in this year’s exhibition, Jessica Marion Barr, Mackenzie Browning, Decomposing Pianos (Owen Fernley and Julia Krolik), Frank DeSa, Rebecca Houston, Maayke Schurer, Su Sheedy, Andrew Sims, and David Woodward, reflect the excellence of the wide-ranging practices of artists in the region, including sculpture, photography, painting, video, and sound art. This year’s guest curator, Iga Janik, has selected works in accordance with Modern Fuel’s mandate to support contemporary Canadian art practices that are innovative, experimental, and from diverse communities. Image: Rebecca Houston, The Northern Beaver Gallery-In-A-Box (detail), 2011..
iga janik is the Curator responsible for the exhibition program at Cambridge Galleries in Cambridge, Ontario. She was previously the Executive Director at Artspace, the artist-run centre dedicated to contemporary art in Peterborough, Ontario. Janik graduated from Concordia University with a Fine Arts degree in 2000 and since has been involved in the cultural sector at both the local and national levels. Janik’s focus as curator has put a spotlight on new media and performative works as well as projects beyond the gallery walls. She is an often recruited guest panelist and moderator on issues around contemporary art practice and cultural planning.
coming up at modern fuel: In August: Square Pegs IV (Wednesday, August 17th). In September: Vapours Concert with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (Friday, September 16th). In October: Abbas Akhavan in the Main Gallery and Michael Amar in the State of Flux (Opening Saturday 1 October at 7pm).
Roughing It. essay by iga janik Something gritty, something rough. Something not quite right. Why the fascination with the dead, or dirty? Rough edges can be beautiful. Amazed at this common thread in the works selected for this show, I am left to wonder why there is such a fascination with all things dark and gloomy. Except, very little of it is dark. Most of it is puzzling, nostalgic and quite a bit personal.
Watching artists develop their practice and deliver their craft in ways that reflect all of us is a treat. Many touch on the everyday with quizzical glimpses of possible futures. Canadiana in vending machines, or the romance of fragmented sounds: this exhibition brings to light many of the simple questions that ask about how we live, and why we live the way we do. I give credit to these artists willing to take risks and expose some of the rough edges that surround us. Experimentation is very present in this exhibition. So is diversity in media. A simple video clip of a police body check when exponentially slowed down reveals intimacy and suspense that might give you shivers. Memories of spaces, old histories of people, forgotten landscapes; artists selected for this show bring a glimpse of themselves in revealing the darker parts of our common experience.
Jessica Marion Barr’s Augury: Elegy is an installation comprised of chicken bones and branches. While striking in a sad and lonely kind of way it brings beauty back to life in how delicate it feels, almost lace-like in its composition. Spending time with the work the long gone lives of animals linger in the air but the audacity of the artist to work so freely with these small pieces of carcasses brings us back to our impact on the environment, our habits of consumption, and our inevitable reaction to things we may not like to face so easily. Mackenzie Browning, with a single image, Rural Repetition, contrasting rural landscape, ornamentation and artifacts of urbanism, supports the same ideas of nostalgia and responsibility, the changes in how lives are lived, and the impact of industrialization on histories we may have forgotten.
The work by Decomposing Pianos also offers a very interesting contrast to the silent video work included here. Ultra Slow Body Search seems quite straight forward as a concept. Maayke Schurer has taken a video recording of a body search by a female cop and slowed it down considerably. So much so in fact that the entire nature of the event captured changes. It is frighteningly captivating, with a quality of psychological horror and suspense playing itself out over a very long eight minutes of a single-framed event. A different kind of mystery exists in photography by Frank DeSa. Using model scale characters he frames small scenes that present a kind of waiting. Something may have happened, or it might, but his scenes are banal, maybe a little hopeful, although always kind of empty. What’s so great about these images is the lack of definition, sometimes even focus, and what’s emphasized in these is the empty space in between the figures, leaving us with proposition that maybe what’s around us it that much more important. Rebecca Jane Houston plays with us in other ways. She questions the assumptions of art proper, the value of an object made, by crafting small sculptures for consumption in vending machines. While this would be fun enough on its own, the objects give us souvenirs of nature, the collectable Canadiana of clay canoes and acorns and maps of streams. Su Sheedy too is a player. Her well established career as a painter is evident in a large body of work. Formally beautiful and well balanced she makes lovely images. But Pond Scum 1 and 2 take away all that preciousness in thick and mucky layers of encaustic. There is something really great about how beautiful this mess is and how trusting she is in her medium to deliver paintings that are sculptures. The beauty in the ugly and the ordinary is brought out richly by Andrew Sims in his large print of an abandoned Bathhouse. The growing moss on the structure and the peeling paint seem romantic in the lonesome survival of abandoned spaces. Maybe if we left more things alone a better truth would emerge. Ending with a triptych by David Woodward, Things We Lost In The Fire, a series of small and intimate collages, we’re brought back to a basic need for collecting memories. For preserving objects. For paying attention to what’s around us. And stopping to worry about what’s valuable and focusing more on the inherent values of the things that just are. Even if they are full of roughness.
Nostalgia is also key in the improvisational audio pieces by Decomposing Pianos. This auditory experience produced by Julia Krolik and Owen Fernley is a soundtrack that easily sums up the exhibition in small and simple pieces giving it a layer that allows the works in the gallery to speak to each other just that little bit more easily.
New Works Ulrich Panzer In the State of Flux 6 Aug. to 10 Sept. 2011 Opening | Saturday 6 August at 7pm In the State of Flux Gallery, Ulrich Panzer (Gananoque, ON) presents a series of new works experimenting with acrylic and acrylic inks on mylar. The artist will be present at the opening reception on August 6 at Modern Fuel at 7pm. “Our perception is associative by nature. We can’t look at shapes or form without the desire to “know” or to make sense of them in a narrative or representational way. These works can be read as film stills, photographic sequences, or x-rays. I see parallels to ancient calendars, prayer wheels, cyclical unfolding of events, Nietzsche’s principal of “the eternal return of the same,” the cycle of creation and destruction. In this sense, these recent works deal less with formal aesthetic questions, but rather consider the role of memory, projection, and personal experience in our reading of the paintings.” -Ulrich Panzer Image: Ulrich Panzer, Untitled 12 (detail), 2011.