Studio Sixty Six

Sight Sixty Six

Studio Sixty Six & SASC Ottawa: Holiday Party & Fundraiser

Please join Studio Sixty Six for a very special event at the gallery in partnership with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa on Thursday, December 8 from 5-9PM. As part of Studio Sixty Six’s mandate, every December a vital non-profit organization in Ottawa is chosen to partner with and given a donation of a portion of the gallery’s sales for the month. Studio Sixty Six is very pleased to announce its partnership with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC Ottawa). Founded in 1983 by a small group of survivors, SASC Ottawa works hard to support all womyn: immigrant, indigenous, lgbtq+, diversely abled, womyn of colour, trans womyn, survivors of war and torture through various programs, groups, and initiatives. 

 Both an art event and holiday fundraiser for the wonderful services provided by SASC Ottawa, the evening of December 8th will feature tasty food, drink and mingling. We welcome all to come and enjoy our last exhibition of 2016, Unholy Objects, and to learn more about the wonderful work of SASC Ottawa. There will be a donation table and a portion of all sales of artworks from the entire month of December will go directly to the organization. 

 Dress up, enjoy food, drinks and art while celebrating an incredible organization who has been contributing tirelessly to our community for over 30 years. Drop in anytime from 5-9! 

Free entry - Bar & Food 
Wheelchair accessible building
Studio Sixty Six is a safe space - all are welcome
This event is taking place on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation 

Facebook event link


For further information or press inquiries please contact:
Rose Ekins
Gallery Manager & Curator
Studio Sixty Six
rose@studiosixtysix.ca
613.291.0449

Amanda Graham
Funding Coordinator and Support Worker
Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa
funding@sascottawa.com 
 613.725.2160 ext. 221

ANNOUNCEMENT/CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Studio Sixty Six has set forth a mandate to ensure representation of emerging Indigenous...

ANNOUNCEMENT/CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Studio Sixty Six has set forth a mandate to ensure representation of emerging Indigenous artists. As a commercial gallery devoted to showcasing up-and-coming and wide-ranging talent of various medium and technique, Studio Sixty Six believes firmly in providing emerging Indigenous artists of all ages a platform to show and sell their artwork. We are currently looking for submissions from emerging Indigenous artists across the country to submit their artwork to be included in our 2017 exhibition programme as well as through our various sales channels. Please send submissions (including biography, CV, artist statement and proposed artwork) to Gallery Manager and Curator Rose Ekins rose@studiosixtysix.ca by Thursday, December 1st, 2016 at midnight. 
Any questions can also be addressed by the Curator.

13 REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?” 

For all of the following reasons, you can find the perfect work for your home or office on our online store (we can ship to you!) here.

1. Creates Mood 

Brain scans have revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers desire, pleasure, and romantic love (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201109/love-desire-and-art). Romantic, sublime landscapes provoke contemplation of nature and purity. Such works then create a mood of peace and are good for relaxation rooms such as the bedroom. 

2. Adds Personal Character to the Home 

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We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, social media - the list goes on! Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic and aesthetic interests in a way different from most, for original artworks are one of a kind. 

3. Makes Memories

Buying an original work of art is an experience. For whatever reason, you were drawn to a specific piece (or multiple). You may have seen it at a show opening, had a nice trip to the ice cream shop before hand. Whatever happened leading up to/during/after the purchase of a meaningful original work will be remembered every time you see it. This will not happen with a poster from Ikea. 

4. Provides a Colour Palette 

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When rooms have a lot of colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can become overwhelming. An original work of art is a beautiful, meaningful way to tie everything together and create a general focal point. 

5. Makes a Room Feel Finished 

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When walls are empty, a room does not necessarily look bad, but by no means does it look finished. Rooms with empty walls are functional rooms in a house. Rooms with original art work are comfortable rooms in a home. 

6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity 

This one is simple - in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking. This idea is expanded on in reason 11. 

7. Conversation Starter 

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As mentioned in reason 2, hanging original art in your home is a way of expressing oneself. That being said, guests will always be curious about the choice of artwork, the story, have questions about the artist, etc. It is a way to show off your art collection while having passionate conversations with house guests. 

8. Supports Artists 

One of the most important things about buying original artwork is that you are supporting an artist’s career. Each time you have a look at a work in your home, it provides a feel-good emotion that you are assisting an artist in achieving the success and recognition they deserve. 

9. It is an Investment 

Building off of reason 8, not only does owning original work in the home allow you to support artists’ careers, but it is also an investment. These artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for many years all while increasing in worth. This is never something that will be achieved with a $12 print from Walmart. 

10. Creates a Livable Environment 

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Art can make rooms that are not necessarily “home-y” become comfortable working and living environments. A home office, for example, can transform from a place of work and business to one of relaxation and productivity all the with addition of an original work of art. Attached is an article explaining how artwork in office spaces improves employee productivity (http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2015/01/12/can-office-artwork-influence-employee-productivity/#243c119d2c44). 

11. Keeps the Brain Active 

Art is very conceptual, artists use it as a medium to express personal thought, political or social issues, and to make us as viewers think. Some people do quizzes or crossword puzzles to keep their brain active, but another way to do so is to own original artwork in the home, to just sit, look, and think. 

12. Relaxation 

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In a busy, fast-paced world that demands speed and productivity, home should be a place of relaxation. Coming home from a busy day at work to sit on your couch and stare at a TV or a blank wall is not as recharging or relaxing as enjoying an artwork purchased with the means to create a positive mood. 

13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun! 

Last but certainly not least, curating a gallery is fun! Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists even, it is a fun experience! After a while you will start to notice a theme, in subject matter, colour, concept, etc. Playing with moods, composition, placement in the home, of all these reasons why to have art in the home, let’s not forget the fact that it is simply something fun to do.

Check out Studio Sixty Six’s emerging artwork for sale on our website here.

Written by Kayla Miller

these may (not) be places VERNISSAGE: JUNE 30, 2016 (6 - 9 PM) EXHIBITION: JUNE 30 - AUGUST 27 2016 these may (not) be...

these may (not) be places

VERNISSAGE: JUNE 30, 2016 (6 - 9 PM)

EXHIBITION: JUNE 30 - AUGUST 27 2016

these may (not) be places explores the depictions and abstractions of what place might be – and what its absence could look like. The exhibition invokes responses from artists working in mixed media, including etching, illustration, painting, and pyrography.

Place may be structure, expressed in the character of architecture or the clear textures of geography. But it is also, always, distant – the first idea of space, its memory, its secretive nature. The landscape is the point of departure for Toronto-based artist Laura Bydlowska, replicating the idea of nature through pyrography. Pyrography mimics the techniques of illustration, as the artist draws lines into the wood with heat. The grain of the wood remains visible, enhanced by transparent ink, or by carving texture into the wood. By burning and carving away at wood, and creating collages out of fragments of her etchings, Bydlowska depicts the earth, nature as the first place. Caverns and escarpments are tinted by shadowy palettes reminiscent of dusk, damp soil, granite, and exposed fragments of jasper or malachite. The textures of Bydlowska’s scenes mimic geological patterns – reflecting the slow, natural processes of the spaces she depicts. The landscape is imagined not as a static scene, but as an active, changing and tumultuous act of place in a process of becoming – devoid of the human hand.

In direct contrast to Bydlowska’s landscapes, Alex Thompson’s engravings capture sites of human presence and making. Thompson’s renders these urban scenes with the voyeuristic eye of a photographer, reconfiguring the focus as in the tilted perspective of Vertigo. Thompson shows buildings in construction, elements of the urban landscape that are often on the periphery—raised platforms, cables, construction workers. Space-in-construction is then re-imagined out of its intermediary stage, into a point of focus in itself.

Thompson examines the architectural character depicted through a study of ubiquitous geometries –buildings and their shapes that are resilient in time. Ancient and contemporary structural forms are juxtaposed in his studies Parthenon II and Aqueduct, where the monolithic shape of ancient infrastructures is translated into new contexts in the contemporary city. The aqueduct was crucial to the formation of early civilisations — influencing, and determining, the shape of a city. This urban infrastructure modeled itself on the naturally occurring forms of land – a suspended, artificial river that had its own ebbs and flows. Bridges are intermediary spaces, indicating and ferrying people toward possible destinations. In a similar manner, the contemporary city relies on the fluidity and speed of movement along roadways, connecting arterial lines between the heart of a city and its farther-removed enclaves. And as water has become interchangeable with ever-expanding trade of resources – an endless flow, networks of roads growing more distant, more interconnected – so the transportation of resources have become synonymous with the movement of people.

The making of place by people is also addressed in Guillermo Trejo’s flags from nowhere, mocking the grandeur of imagined geopolitical identities – artificial places that are made out of borders. Trejo’s flags for non-existent states challenge the way a nation exists as both idea and land. The emotional appeal of nationalism to some imagined or embodied connection to a particular parcel of earth is, nonetheless, the dominant framework by which we define a relationship to the places we live in. The way we treat land and the way we treat other beings, these are shaped by limits placed on movement, creativity, communication – limits that exist in words, and are often kept alive by the distancing of people. flags from nowhere is a sketch of the iconographic role objects have in rallying societies around these ideas of place, even though these places are crude abstractions of living through the land.

Relating to this intangibility, Kathryn Shriver’s delicate and surreal illustrations tell narratives of mental space, as it occurs through the passage of time, the interiority of ritual, and the terms of recollection. The illustrations are intricate depictions of spaces in turmoil, in formation, or in a state of decay. Shriver’s work is largely narrative, with her more recent excerpts from The Myth of the Phrasemaker’s Parrot borrowing parsed phrases and sketches from her journals, unravelling an intimate and poetic text. As a collected series, these illustrations not only reflect the conceptual processes of relating to space, but the materials that make a world. Here there are small encounters with windows and wooden beams, beaded drapery and palm fronds.

Meditations on time are given form: in her illustrations, they take on the highly symbolic shape of braids, ropes, knots – while Shriver’s beaded works refer to another element of her practice. In her multimedia installation This is not forever, Shriver works with beaded sculpture and performance – the simple act of threading beads associating with meditation, the performance of costume and clothing, and possibly to the enactment of femininity. While the small wooden pieces are excerpts from this body of work, Shriver’s larger installations put into material form this metaphorical weight. Thousands of tiny beads are interconnected on fragile strings to make heavy, draping sheets.

Joani Tremblay deconstructs place into graphic elements, explicitly mocking the trends of commercial art markets and the academic exploitation of naïve art. Tremblay’s practice is skillfully refined in large-scale illustrations, her expressive gestures evoking scenes of minimalist calligraphic art, shorthand writing, and classical landscape compositions. Tremblay’s current series is a more condensed, but obsessive portraiture of plants – mall-tropics and office-plant installation trends sending off echoes of Los Angeles and the disillusionment of young MFA graduates searching for life in barren, white wastelands. The deceptive naivety of her illustrations conceals a critique of the celebratory plastic kitsch of popular culture, within a collage of candycoated satire.

The influence of graphic design – its colour-blocked divisions of space and accents of simple geometric shapes – is exemplified in Prioritizing Connoisseurship Of The Mainstream, where space must be filled by all means, must be balanced with an appealing correctness and approachability of experimentation. In the absence of abrupt gestures, tiny graphite scribbles or bright IKEA-friendly colours frame each neat plant portrait with prettiness and safeness. This commercial accessibility – after all, the neutrality of Tremblay’s illustrations would perfectly accent any interior space with minimal intrusion and maximum compatibility – is seeped into the artist’s choice of paint. Gouache is similar to acrylic in its opacity and the vibrance of its colours, so when it dries, it can do so without leaving the impression of depth. Gouache is often marketed as a children’s paint – cheap and simple. Where art is product, optimized for the consumer, the artist can forego the elite materials of art-making, displacing value from the object and into its friendly, relatable nature.

Curatorial text by Lital Khaikin.

the game doesn't start until you say YES ARTIST TALK THUR. JUNE 23: 6 - 8 PM By digitally resculpting consoles in the game...

the game doesn’t start until you say YES

ARTIST TALK

THUR. JUNE 23: 6 - 8 PM

By digitally resculpting consoles in the game doesn’t start until you say YES, Alana Latincic changes the logical operating rules of these objects. Latincic’s consoles sometimes take on new representations of furniture—by assuming new possible functions, or simply representing the banality of their presence — but in her more recent work, these consoles are transformed further, into more abstract and sculptural concepts. There is a seductive luxury to the inert object. The material nostalgia in Latincic’s work examines the evolution of video game consoles, while questioning their relevance and utility as gaming objects.

Artist Talk discussion points:

This series came out of my longtime interest in graphic design and the visual language of advertising and my newfound urge to make art about video games.

- Thought about the physical form of the game console - how the designs change and develop.

- The meaning of consoles - their use as an intermediary for a gaming experience, their rise in popularity through time that has lead to a ubiquitousness in the modern home.

- Game consoles as a sort of new “furniture”

- Domesticity of these objects; how they inhabit our homes

- IKEA catalogue items and treatment of imagery

There is still a demand for a synthetic reality to virtual objects, where they replicate the material qualities and behaviours that are familiar. These digital objects too have a material weight: their glistening rendedered plastics and crisp edges. Latincic skews this familiarity with deceptive and varying perspectives, creating optical illusions of flatness or depth in unnatural places.

- More focus on stripping utility of the original form, but also leaving the identity of these objects intact

- Playing with the idea of the virtual space as my studio - I can create and recreate these objects in a sculptural way using tools that are so intrinsically related to their own nature - games are virtual, but the console is the physical body needed to emulate the experience.

The virtual object hovers at the edge of sensory feedback, scintillating and suggestive. When Latincic describes the consoles she is replicating, she uses a more intimate description—the objects as “severe” or having an “emotional surface”. The response of the Xbox Kinect to gesture or interaction means that it “intervenes more than other objects”, pushing against the boundaries between person and machine. It functions between the material and the intangible, at a distance from the body. Latincic’s digital sculpture, Are you ready for your final journey?, allows the viewer to manipulate the object, twisting it, turning it — and in effect, holding it.

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A...

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A website is also an important tool when it comes to showing curators, gallerists, and potential clients that you are a professional artist, that you are serious about your work, and in turn, that they should take it seriously too.

At Studio Sixty Six, we have found several of our artists through their artist websites, and we continue to scour the Internet for new, exciting emerging Canadian artists to include in our upcoming exhibition programmes. Through our experience, we have developed a list of tips for artists on how to best present their work on their artist website.

When it comes to designing your artist website, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

// BASIC STRUCTURE + CONTENT.

Artist websites typically follow a certain structure and they usually include the following pages:

  • About / Bio. This is the page where the visitor to your website will get a sense of who you are as an artist. It should include a short biographical paragraph, an artist statement, and a link to your artistic C.V. Some artists do not put a link to their C.V., but this is important information for galleries, collectors, and art competitions.
  • Portfolio (A.K.A. the MOST important page on your website). The portfolio page should be a curated collection of your work that best represent your practice and how you want to be seen as an artist. The images should be high-res and look professional (there is nothing more off-putting than looking at poorly photographed artworks).
  • Contact. This is the page where an interested visitor – say a curator, gallerist, or collector – will go to get in touch with you about your work. Avoid using a generic contact form. Be sure to inlcude a couple of different ways visitors can get in touch with you, like your email address and any other relevant points of contact, such as links to your social media pages – you want to make it easy for visitors to communicate with you.

  • // DESIGN.

    The design of your website should reflect your work. Generally speaking, it should highlight and emphasize your work and not distract a visitor. Try using a clean, modern template without loud colours (for example, white is a popular choice in web design circles for 2016-2017), and limit yourself to 1-2 font choices.

    // USABILITY.

    Make sure that your website navigation is clear and usable. Visitors to your website should be able to figure out how to use the navigation within 3-seconds or else they might navigate away from your page. Stick to a simple navigation menu that is horizontal or vertical that will appear in the same place on all of your pages.

    Another usability feature to keep in mind is your portfolio page. It is up to you on how you would like to set up this page, but make sure that if you are using a thumbnail-to-lightbox viewer, slideshow gallery, or a horizontal-scroll plugin that your users will be able to figure out how to use them easily and that they can easily find their way back to your websites.

    // OTHER TIPS.

  • Be sure to make your website mobile-friendly! More and more web-users are using mobile devices to look at websites, so this is a very important feature to consider when thinking about your own artist website.
  • Do highlight your new work on your website! It will help to contextualize you and your practice and give a sense of what you are currently working on.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to have a 1-2 lines or a short paragraph describing an artistic project or series. This information will help curators, gallerists, and collectors understand and contextualize your work.

  • // WHAT TO AVOID.

  • Any design elements that will shift focus from your work.
  • Avoid any website elements that use Adobe Flash. It is not mobile-friendly, and Adobe recently stopped suporting this software.
  • Do not include older work on your website if it does not reflect your professional practice (e.g. early student work, works in progress, etc).
  • Keep the content on your website relatively brief – do not present visitors with an information overload!

  • In summary, your artist website should be a professional online space that puts your best foot forward, it should reflect your practice and your artworks. When you’re designing your site, have fun and make sure that it is something that you are happy with – the most important part is that you have taken that first step into the World Wide Web, and you will find that it will open your work to entirely new audiences.


    Written by Danuta Sierhuis

    Want to start an art collection but are unsure where to start? It is repeatedly said that starting an art collection can be...

    Want to start an art collection but are unsure where to start?

    It is repeatedly said that starting an art collection can be intimidating and just a bit scary for those who are new to the art world. This has a lot to do with the perception that the art world is a place for those “already in the know,” a place not for the everyday person. However, in our experience, the art world is full of people who want to share and talk about their art with those who admire their work!

    To us, the basics of starting an art collection really has to do with engaging with art by going to galleries and asking a million questions of the artists and gallerists before committing to purchasing an artwork. As important as it is to learn about the art world itself, it is more important that you have a connection to the work that you want to add to your collection.

    The following are some quick tips and suggestions on how to start an art collection of your very own and building a connection to artworks:

  • Go to galleries. Go to vernissages. Find your local galleries and go and visit them. These are the best places to look when you are not sure where to find artists’ work. Go to as many galleries and exhibitions as you can (Ottawa has lots!) to whet your visual palette and to get a sense of what kind of aesthetics you are drawn to.
    Also, talk to the gallerists in your local gallery if you have questions about an artist, exhibition, or really just don’t know where to start in your quest for finding art to build your collection. Gallerists are there to help you with these sorts of questions and can often point you in the direction of a variety artworks that will suit your taste.

  • Dante-Penman-Castle-Bureaucracy
  • Know your budget. Starting out, you really should have an idea of how much money you are willing to commit to buying art. Even if you are limited to a very small budget, there are artworks out there that will be within your price range.
    A good way to start an art collection (without breaking the bank) is to collect emerging artists. Emerging artists are just at the beginning of their careers and their work is typically more affordable than more established artists – not to mention that collecting work by emerging artists is also a great way to nurture their talent!

  • Natalie-Bruvels-France
  • Let yourself enjoy what you enjoy. Don’t question your tastes There is no such thing as the “right art” to buy when it comes to starting a collection of your very own. Your personal taste should dictate the art that you collect. Ask yourself: What colours am I drawn to? What genres? What kind of textures? What kind of shapes? What kind of media? These questions can be answered after some research by going to galleries, searching the web, and speaking to gallerists, artists, and friends/family. The most important thing is that you LOVE the artworks that you collect. An artwork must speak to you in some way for you to feel confident about the purchase.
  • Let the pieces in your collection speak to one another. Over time, your art collection will grow and you may start to notice trends in the kinds of artworks that you have collected – be it a similar colour palette, tone, or subject matter. This will also give you a stronger sense of your aesthetic inclinations.

  • Daniel-Moisan-Cell
  • Have FUN. This is probably the most important piece of of advice we can give you. Have fun exploring the art world, meeting new people, seeing new things. Get excited about art in new ways by just exploring and you will build an art collection that you will cherish for the rest of your life!


  • For more tips on art collecting, stop by Studio Sixty Six to chat and see how we can help you find your first/next artwork!

    Written by Danuta Sierhuis

    IN THE BEGINNING Memory and nostalgic place in Gabriela Avila-Yiptong's abstracted landscapes EXHIBITION: Thursday April 14 –...

    IN THE BEGINNING

    Memory and nostalgic place in Gabriela Avila-Yiptong’s abstracted landscapes

    EXHIBITION: Thursday April 14 – Saturday May 21

    http://studiosixtysix.ca/blogs/exhibitions/78842823-gabriela-avila-yiptong-in-the-beginning-apr-14-may-21-2016

    In the Beginning maps the upturned geography of places that aren’t entirely real, wavering between the uncertain allusions of memory and the certainty of ground. Transferring vague impressions of tropical Mauritius from photographic artefacts, into dripping vespers and errant line, Gabriela Avila-Yiptong paints scenes of a rootless land, an idea space—land as it cannot be translated across memory or language. Place is no more a certainty than it is a soft impression of nostalgia, interpreted and misconstrued through recollection. Contours alternately fade into mist, or appear prominent and topographical—the latter alluding to Avila-Yiptong’s earlier works, such as her series Tectonic Gastronomy, where land is deconstructed into its geological layers.

    Fictional topographies of Mauritius are created out of the negative space where the borders and margins of earth decompose. The behaviour of the earth becomes reflective of the permeability of memory: processes that take millennia to create new land are compacted into an instant, where the ground is present for a moment, and just as simply disappears. Mountain ranges become ancient seafloors. Islands erupt out of ancient volcanic action. Avila-Yiptong emphasises the contrasts between the photographic and impressionistic memories that she manipulates—at the same time, indicating to a sense of longing for the unknown, the untenable. 95% Remains Undiscovered appears submerged in dark liquid, bleeding at its horizon—a photograph undergoing chemical transformation, the disappearing certainty of an event that is sinking into the void, an ecological depth that remains unattainable.

    The greater part of In the Beginning is communicated through subtlety and introspection. Spaces are fluid, temporary, cloudy—a sense of a half-shut, dreamy eye in Just Barely, or the physical recoil to the temperature of Sweaty Sunburn Weather. When Avila-Yiptong works on a larger scale, the murkiness of her spaces becomes overwhelming, immersing the viewer beyond a separation between the person and space—the viewer enters and becomes a part of the land. The fickle temperament of light as it falls, sometimes uncertainly, in inverted rays or stray glares—as in Inverse Glare, Memory Block or Foggy Memory—emphasises the alternating immensity and density of the scenes. A sense of the uncanny is heavy in Studying for the Trip; and Extraterrestrial, where nuclear colour auras seem to radiate in an alien time. Creating these experiences through the use of large, dominant colour fields, Avila-Yiptong conveys a hint of the alienation of the self, as it explores a planet that should feel familiar, but is always growing absent.

    The humidity Avila-Yiptong paints into her atmospheres creates a sensation of “old place”—an ancient world that is revisioned with a contemporary lightness, as in I feel small, smaller than a drip. In the Beginning resolves with a greater sense of clarity in the triptych The Dream ft. Paved Fluid, where Avila-Yiptong seems to return to a topographic expression that feels more resonant with real places. All of the transient moments depicted in fragments, seem to culminate towards a destination, drawn out in a pathway, a horizon—perhaps a familiar or reassuring sense of place and belonging in the midst of uncertainty.

    Written by Lital Khaikin.

    Interview with Shelby Dawn Smith for Different Every Time (Mar. 11 - Apr. 9 2016) What is your earliest memory of art? I’ve...

    Interview with Shelby Dawn Smith for Different Every Time (Mar. 11 - Apr. 9 2016)


    What is your earliest memory of art?

    I’ve always been artistic, and I also always have loved cats. I used to draw and paint lots of things involving cats, including comics and watercolour portraits. My favourite drawing that I ever did and possibly the earliest that I remember is a pencil drawing on a piece of scrap paper on which I wrote “cat tree” and made a line drawing of a tree that had cat-faces in the place of leaves. It is now framed and displayed in my living room.

    How did this memory inspire you?

    I found the cat tree drawing a couple of years ago when I was visiting my family during a winter break from university. At the time, I was struggling to find my own particular artistic style or approach. Finding the drawing helped me to embrace the freedom of a childlike state of mind when creating art, something that is still greatly influential in the art that I make to this day. In my practice, I always try to approach making art like playing a game.

    When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

    I probably always wanted to be an artist, though I never really thought of it as a viable career path. When I was younger, I used to think I wanted to be a doctor or a veterinarian, then late in high school I thought about how I could make a practical career out of art, like medical illustration or art therapy. When it came time to decide on University, I had applied for Biology, Bio Med, and Fine Arts programs, and finally chose art. That was the moment when I finally really knew that I wanted to be an artist. This was cemented in one of my fourth year class where one my professors, Andrew Wright, insisted that we start calling ourselves “artists” — to say simply “I am an artist” when someone asks what you do.

    Your greatest influence(s) (non-art)?

    This is difficult for me to answer because I am the type of person who sees nearly everything as a type of art. I like crafts, knick-knacks, and all things kitsch — the things that are often considered “low” art if they are described as art at all. I sometimes like to include non-art materials into my artwork. Music is a great influence, and I am particularly found of punk, hardcore, emo, and indie music. The different moods that certain songs can put me in can significantly impact the art that I produce, so that is something with which I experiment. The rhythms can also influence speed and type of mark-making.

    Your greatest influence(s) (art)?

    To name a few: Cy Twombly, Fiona Rae, Mike Kelley, and Jennifer Lefort.

    Cy Twombly is influential because of his strong use of line and the juvenile, free approach he brings to art. He embraced the scribble and made it art, and that is something that was immensely important for a number of artists after him, myself included.

    Fiona Rae has excellent compositions, and I am enamoured with her wide vocabulary of mark-making. She likes to combine various contrasting marks and shapes, and creates these absolutely dreamlike paintings, inspiring some of my work with visual “binaries.”

    Mike Kelley’s art is just over the top with kitsch and pop culture. He brought low-art to the high-art stage, and made some truly fun and interesting pieces. I, too, am enamoured with kitsch and low-art, and like to show this by incorporating pop colours and non-traditional mediums and objects into my work.

    Jennifer Lefort, whom I have actually never met despite her teaching at the University of Ottawa and being from the area, is another artist whom I admire. She explores dualities and binaries in her work, and blurring of the boundaries between them — something that I also attempt to work with in my practice. I love how her paintings are successful across the great variety of scales in which she works. Her paintings are also just very fun to look at.

    What all of these artist have in common is a sense of playfulness, and perhaps even rebellion, that runs directly though their art.

    What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

    My drop sheet and large box of clean rags, as I am extremely messy when I paint. It is not uncommon for me to be mopping up paint puddles, or hopping into the shower because I have covered myself near head-to-toe in paint.

    SplatteredShelby-Studio-1How do you start a painting?

    Every painting is different. Sometimes I mix some acrylic with water in a cup and spill it onto the canvas, other times I draw a circle. Still other times I take some spray paint and just start going at it. Always changing things up is very important to me. I do my best to keep art something that is fresh, fun, and innovative so I don’t bore myself.

    How do you know when a painting is “finished"?

    It’s hard to explain, but I somehow just know. There are a number of minor factors that influence a general feeling that a work is complete. It is when my eye moves all over the piece, rather than settling in just one place. It is when I feel that I have reached enough variety in the piece. It is simply when I feel that I don’t want to touch it anymore. Once I feel at peace, then I know. And even then, sometimes I change my mind and revisit the painting later.

    If not yourself, which artist would you be and why (living or dead)?

    I think it would probably be fun to be one of those hugely successful artists like Damien Hirst or Mike Kelley for a few days, but I am not sure if I would want to permanently switch places with anyone.

    Do you collect anything?

    I collect clothing tags — this started in high school when I had started to collection intending to use them for a mosaic style art piece, though I have yet to ever do that. I also collect beer bottle caps, which I started collecting in university, and had a similar idea in mind that I have yet to follow through with. I am planning on trying to do somemore collage and mixed media works soon, so maybe some of these collections might make their way into those.

    Shelby-Troll-Collection-1

    My favourite collection though is a collection of strange, quirky, and sometimes ugly figurines, toys, and other objects, either handmade or mass-produced. Some of these items include a hand-made glass bottle-stop shaped like a clown head, a couple of trolldolls, a matinee clown puppet, a broken figurine of a small girl wearing a “Miss March” sash, two very creepy happy and sad pig figurines, and a poorly-thought-out children’s toy that opens its mouth to sing notes in a scale when you press its belly, then after a few minutes of being left alone says “good night” in an extremely creepy voice. I like to keep some of them around my studio for inspiration.

    What is art to you?

    Simply put, art is everything.

    What are your plans for your future artistic practice?

    I plan to keep trying new things and exploring new possibilities, all while still having fun. I have a few larger canvases that I would like to try to tackle soon. I also want to dive a bit further into mixed media and do some collages with some of the items that I have collected over the years. I plan to keep working on my photography project “Tint Patterns” and figure out how I would like to display those pieces. For those who are unfamiliar with the project, “Tint Patterns” is a series of photographs of serendipitous patterns that have formed as a result of dispensing tint, or colourant, into a can of paint. I will definitely continue to share my process along the way.


    Thanks, Shelby! Here are some of Shelby’s “Tint Patterns”: green-tint-1rose-white-black-tint-2reddish-tintCatch Shelby’s exhibition DIFFERENT EVERY TIME at Studio Sixty Six from March 11 - April 9, 2016

    Shelby’s website is: http://www.shelbydawnsmith.com/

    DIFFERENT EVERY TIME, featuring Shelby Dawn Smith opens this Friday, 5pm! More info:...

    DIFFERENT EVERY TIME, featuring Shelby Dawn Smith opens this Friday, 5pm!
    More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1091132004264773/

    Ottawa, meet Toronto-based artist Amanda Boulos Amanda Boulos, a recent graduate from York University’s BFA program, is an...

    Ottawa, meet Toronto-based artist Amanda Boulos

    Amanda Boulos, a recent graduate from York University’s BFA program, is an emerging painter and new media artist. Her artworks examine the fragmented and mundane history of her Lebanese-Palestinian family’s struggle living in and leaving these countries for a better life in North America. Boulos’ work does not aim to mend these narratives, rather she aims to explore the lack of opportunity for these narratives to speak. Personal narratives of individuals and families living in conflict are often left out of the media, and it is these more “mundane” narratives that her paintings explore. Boulos, drawing from the stories and experiences of her family, paints these narratives in a fragmented way, which reflects their history, memory, and trauma. Although dealing with the experience of political events and conflict, her work is not overtly political. She abstracts politics, violence, generational memory, and what it means to be Lebanese, Palestinian, and Canadian through painting, video, and written instructions. She bridges the gap between the artwork and the viewer, allowing these events to become more “accessible” to us. The viewer must ultimately imitate the painting in order to experience it.

    Amanda Boulos received the Willowdale Group Senior Painting Award (2012), as well as a BMO1st Invitational Student Art Competition 2013 Nomination. Working with both student groups and community based art institutions, Boulos organized multiple curatorial art projects around Toronto. She has also exhibited her work throughout the city in shows including Vs. Separate at Graven Feather, Sign/Signify at Triangle Gallery and Show Off! at York University’s Gales Gallery sponsored by the Art Gallery of York University.

    - - We did a short Q & A with her to learn more about her and her work.

    What is your earliest memory of art?

    My earliest memory of art is from about 15 years ago in a combined music and visual art class. I sat hunched over my desk, arms crossed, and pouted until the class ended. I refused to engage with the material, which basically only required me to sing Catholic songs with my classmates. Being an introvert, I remember hating everything about the class: the teacher, my front row seat, even the distorted chalk stains on the board. We only had one independent art project, where we were asked to create an artwork in response to a famous painting. I remember being so angry with the world that I decided to paint this ugly cadmium green turtle lost in a cobalt blue sea, on a crumpled piece of paper. I didn’t even respond to the artist that was assigned to me, I just wanted to paint this ugly thing. I guess my first memory of art was not a healthy one.

    How did this memory inspire you?

    It didn’t inspire me at the time! But thinking back on it now, I realize that I really enjoyed making that rebellious neon turtle. Channelling that energy into my work relieved me of my anger.

    When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

    I knew I wanted to do something creative leaving Middle School, so I applied to both English and Art programs. When I dedicated myself to the Art Program, I knew there was no going back.

    What do the words “memory,” “history,” “trauma” mean to you?

    Recently these words have been at every corner and every step, constantly challenging me to both play with them and tear them apart. All three of these words rely on the past, but I don’t want to just come to terms with the past, I want to understand how it has shaped today. I was never one for dredging up history, but I can’t help but think that there is something in it that I need to find, something valuable. Right now I’m just a search dog catching little whiffs of information.

    What inspired you to work with narratives about your family’s experiences?

    Their stories are extremely banal, stories told at least a million times. I’m drawn to this banality; I believe it carries valuable information. Painting these narratives allows me the room to contemplate their existence and function.

    Your greatest influence(s) (non-art)?

    I’m constantly being influenced by my surroundings; I’m like a big sponge. I go on Facebook for 5 minutes, or hang out with a specific friend, and I change.

    Your greatest influence(s) (art)?

    I’m completely in love with an artist duo who call themselves DARKMATTER. I do not even know where to start when describing them or their practice; their whole way of life is inspiring.

    What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

    I do not know if I have such an item. I had to move my studio space multiple times in the past two years, and a lot of my items got lost. But I do have this rainbow slinky that helps me destress from time to time.

    Do you collect anything?

    As a kid collecting was my greatest skill, from Pokemon cards to rocks and seashells. I think at one point I collected a whole Tupperware of snails that ended up dying on my balcony. Today I limit myself to rocks/seashells, art, quirky toys and political agendas.

    What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?

    The weirdest part of any gallery is the toy section of the gift shop. They are pretty spectacular. If I was a five year old and got those $30 dollar toy sets I would have definitely been a better and more creative artist today. For real.

    What is art to you?

    Art to me is an alternative and free research method, which has the potential to give people a voice and instigate action.

    Thanks, Amanda!

    Amanda’s exhibition, SPLIT SPIT MOUND, opens this Saturday. January. 30th, 5-8pm. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/716167621816293/

    2015: A Year in Review Over the past year, Studio Sixty Six has had the extraordinary pleasure of working with some of the...

    2015: A Year in Review

    Over the past year, Studio Sixty Six has had the extraordinary pleasure of working with some of the most talented emerging artists in Ottawa. As Salvador Dali once said, “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others” – and this is certainly true of every single artist who has exhibited their work with us since we opened our doors. We are constantly inspired by the work that they do and the people that they are.

    Today, on the last day of the year, we are looking back at the exciting year of art that we have had in 2015. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our artists and everyone who has supported our gallery in 2015! We hope to see you all in 2016 for another year of art!

    February 1 - March 7, 2015 | Dissonance

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    Dissonance brings together work by artists who have previously exhibited at Studio Sixty Six, and represents a diversity of emerging artist practices and ways of thinking. While not collectively forming a narrative, the individual pieces are connected by an expression of tension. The restraint of minimalism and the eruption of chaotic accident are explored in painting, photography, lithographic print, as well as in sculpture and jewelry.

    Artists featured in the exhibition: ANNE DAHL, CHRISTIA MYCYK, CINDY MERSKY, DANTE PENMAN, DARREN KOOYMAN, DELPHINE SULLIVAN, GABRIELLE HOOVER, GABRIEL SÉGUIN, HASI ELDIB, JAMIE KRONICK, JENNIFER BOUCHARD, JULIA SENT, SUSAN ROSTON, TROY MOTH

    March 12 - April 19, 2015 | Sabrina Chamberland: Corporeal

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    There is a certain fragility – a vulnerability even – of the human body and our relationship to it that is fascinating. Our body has the capacity to make us feel most powerful, yet it can just as easily betray and alienate us. With a focus on the precarious and visceral qualities of the human form, a perpetual curiosity motivates explorations of the body’s limits and their link to the psyche.

    Corporeal explores the conflicting dichotomies that are inherent to the body, such as its capacity to attract and repulse, to comfort and estrange, to bewilder and frighten, to enlighten and disorient. Scrutinized become the intricacies of the corporeal surface, and unforgotten are the underlying contentions of the visually represented body. Through fragmented studies of the flesh, and atypical visual juxtapositions, my work further aims to question the body’s relationship to notions of gender, identity, and ultimately, the human condition.

    April 23, 2015 | Presentation Series: Ruth Steinberg What the Body Remembers

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    Artist Ruth Steinberg will be discussing her inspiration and motivations as well as her process in creating What the Body Remembers; an ongoing series of nudes of women aged 55 years and older.

    “I appropriated the title from the novel of the same name by Shauna Singh Baldwin; I like the suggestion that the physical and emotional experiences of life are remembered by their imprint on the body.”

    May 7 - June 7, 2015 | GRAPHIS

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    GRAPHIS samples the work of talented local graphic designers who are contributing in big ways to the design community of our Ottawa/Gatineau region.

    The diversity of styles and projects behind each of the featured designers allows us to see what’s happening on a local scale (you will recognize some of the work!). But we’re also able to see how this independent work relates to Canadian and international design communities. We’ll be talking about this come May, get stoked.

    Limited edition prints by BEN VAN DUYVENDYK, ISAAC VALLENTIN, PASCAL HUOT, and DANIEL MOISAN.

    June 11 - July 5, 2015 | Anna J. Eyler + Nicolas Lapointe: Between Différance, and Now

    5-between-differance-and-now-june2015

    between différance, and now investigates the shared understandings of the sacred that have existed over time and across cultures. The works in the exhibition echo or even simulate familiar forms, yet their original functions have been replaced by new and enigmatic processes, obscure to the viewer. While engaging with Minimalist notions of simplicity in form and attention to materials, austere structures are reanimated through material interventions to suggest some form of burgeoning life within. Whether in the endless pulsation of light-emitting diodes or in the glass-like stillness of contained water, the artists question divisions between circular and linear conceptions of time.

    July 16 - August 2, 2015 | Jordan Clayton: A Dialogue with Taxonomy

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    Jordan Clayton’s abstract paintings of microscopic organisms transform the grotesque into the ethereal. Viruses, fungi and other single-celled organisms are depicted with fantastical colour, taking on the mystery of science fiction renderings and, at times, evoking surreal landscapes. Clayton plays with deliberate composition and improvisation, informing his painting with the chaotic nature of the organisms he studies.

    A Dialogue with Taxonomy is a hybrid of scientific method and a deeply personal experience for Jordan Clayton, as the microorganisms are harvested from the artist’s own body.

    Extending from Jordan’s initial exploration of representing HIV, A Dialogue with Taxonomy is a sensitive response to the spectrum of invisible organisms that are present in our bodies. We can find a parallel in this interdisciplinary approach to artistic responses to microbiology in the installations of Elaine Whittaker and the participatory performance art of Caitlyn Berrigan. A broader discussion that emerges out of the desire to close the distance between ourselves, microorganisms, and scientific processes that we often know little about, and which we often fear or are revolted by.

    August 6 - 17, 2015 | L. Koltun: Distraction

    7-lilly-koltun-distraction-august2015

    Guns fired; inquests held; juries convened; riot gear donned; rifles slung and cocked — how long has police action generated reaction? The past is prologue everywhere — London, Russia, Monte Carlo, New York State, Chicago, Utah. L. Koltun grabs and skins imagery from today and from a hundred years ago, forces new game plays to expose the bleeding bones of the loyalty and love we have for shooting that shape shifts to entertain us. She walks us to the edge of seductive horror, where the camera is indulgence, the strong fear the weak, and distraction is injustice.

    August 22 - October 4, 2015 | Approachng Form: Abstract Painting Preview

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    Abstraction – rupture – fragmentation.

    From undoing, an emergence of bodies and landscapes.

    Approaching Form is a preview of work by emerging painters with upcoming 2016 solo exhibitions at Studio Sixty Six.

    The paintings sampled in the exhibition include the work of Gabriela Avila-Yiptong, who interprets real geography through a spectrum of emotional and cultural memory. Shelby Dawn Smith invokes the energy of gesture, exploring palettes of tension and harmony. Natalie Bruvels questions beauty as sublime, balancing her representation with a suggestion of discomfort. Jordan Clayton creates evocative images inspired by biological processes, and reminding at once of calligraphy and landscapes.

    October 8 - 25, 2015 | Laura Demers: Unknown Destinations

    9-laura-demers-unknown-destinations-october2015

    In UNKNOWN DESTINATIONS, Laura Demers interprets photographic collage in painting. Landscapes are fragmented, suggesting space that is askew in memory. The unusual details that linger in thoughts of place – an odd morsel of texture, a peculiar colour, a curious snippet of foliage – evoke scenes that entirely displace the viewer. Demers plays with an illusion of vertigo, foregoing the horizon in her many painted worlds.

    Unknown Destinations speaks about the land, and illustrates how one may envision and experience it, physically, psychologically and metaphorically. The viewer travels into a surreal, deserted, yet lush universe that is vibrant with movement and vivid colour. Unknown Destinations provides an escape from our habitual environment, and yet questions its own persistence and reality. In the depicted scenes, the wilderness is in a state of turmoil, upheaval, disruption. The land is fragmented, abstracted; the view is obstructed, often obliterated. There is no oasis. The prolific vegetation and dense atmosphere in the vistas and panoramas is deception, phantasmagoria. That is in part what my work addresses: the process of transforming, unearthing, and bringing improbable images to life, through painting. - Laura Demers.

    October 30 - November 22, 2015 | Guillermo Trejo: It Is About Plants, Modernism, and Other Things

    10-guillermo-trejo-its-about-plants-november2015
    There is an old and a new consciousness of time. The old is connected with the individual. The new is connected with the universal. The struggle of the individual against the universal is revealing itself in the world war as well as in the art of the present day.
    1918 De Stilj Manifesto

    It is about Plants, Modernism and Other Things is a series of woodcuts prints inspired originally by the shapes of plants blooming during spring. However, the project rapidly evolved into an independent project of system of abstraction that is contained under a series of aesthetic rules and constrained by a limitation of shapes and color.

    This project reflects my interest in the idea of universality and art, as well as the possibilities associated with creating visual information that can be appreciated solely for its composition. In this context, art becomes a universal language. Walter Benjamin called this the"theory of pure art", that is an art that only has a connection with itself, so that contemplation would not be in relation to values and contexts of the viewer but with a deeper sensory nature or spiritual connection.

    Curatorial Text

    November 26 - December 20, 2015 | Susan Roston: Actiniaria

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    Actiniaria reflects how movement, water and fragility within a solid form can translate into life at its most basic level.

    Despite the tendencies to look at form as physical, instead of the sublime and the spiritual, the possibilities that exist underneath the surface dwell within us as well.

    SUSAN ROSTON creates what she sees as being soft, reflective work without much in the way of vibrancy but having organic textural aspects. Her need to be near and around water has given her better insight into the subtle changes of form, light and movement.


    Keep an eye on this space as we have some more amazing exhibitions featuring the work of local, emerging artists planned for 2016!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Q&A with Susan Roston 1. The exhibition, ACTINIARIA, developed after a trip to Florida. The creaturely shapes in this show...

    Q&A with Susan Roston

    1. The exhibition, ACTINIARIA, developed after a trip to Florida. The creaturely shapes in this show are a great contrast to the more traditional ceramic pots you were working with throughout 2014. How did your trip to the ocean inspire the experimental shapes you’re working with now, and your new processes?

    It was a period of over 35 years ago visiting my Grandparents in Florida, and going shelling on the beach with my Grandmother, that gave me the foundation for my love of the Ocean. Visiting my Uncle’s camp on the lake also drew me to water at a young age, so loving water is not new to me, and I always waned to create something around that theme as my time working with clay advanced. My work in 2014 was, I suppose, a lead up to this, and if I think about it now, all the work I have done up to this point has led up to this body of work. I hope to expand on it but keep it calm and exciting at the same time.

    2. When we initially spoke about the concept for your exhibition, you mentioned finding something spiritual in water. Obviously, this is a cathartic experience for you, but can you talk about how you relate to water as an element?

    Water to me is more than just water, it encompasses everything I love, the softness, texture, the sounds, what it can sustain, and its way of just being – I know it sounds pithy, but if you really pay attention to water in all its forms, you’ll understand. It’s life and I see shape, light and so much movement, so how could I not work with the concept of water in my art.

    3. There are two framed pieces in your exhibition that hint at an experiment with flattened forms, sedimentary layers – in the same way that you’ve included various ceramic fragments, like broken shells or crustacean carapaces, for the installation. Tell us about your process and ideas around creating these pieces, and if they relate to any other ideas you may have around ‘non-sculptural’ work.

    I wanted to bring in an element to the show that reflected what could be found under the water, or above, as rocky flat outcroppings that I have seen in various places. It’s almost as if I can feel my feet walking on them and feeling the prickles and the roughness, seeing the colors, and really inspecting them. Texture has always been important to me as it’s not always about “vision”; it’s about bringing out a spirit in my work. These shapes make you look inward, as this show has made me do, and they have instinctual layers to them – no matter what we think about art and life.

    4. You also talked about integrating printmaking into your future ceramic work, and have given us a glimpse of some handmade glass shapes. How do you intend to work with these mediums further? What are other unconventional materials or techniques are you working with?

    The printing on ceramics has been done for many, many years; my goal is to find a way to integrate it into a story without it being or looking overly commercial. I find that commercial work can lead you into a trap to a point where it just becomes repetitive and “NORMAL”. This is a big reason I don’t do commercial works such as Mugs, bowls… Many people are doing just that, so I found early on that I needed to separate myself from that so called “INSTITUTIONAL” WAY OF THINKING and just do what I need to do.

    I love the concept of taking materials that are moveable for a short amount of time and working to make it into a solid form, but a form that still has movement and grace. Glass blowing and flame-work do just that, and it’s the same concepts in completely different mediums. I believe (this is just my thought) that you need to work with other mediums in order to remain fluid and not stagnate.

    My next venture is to work with wire and clay slip to create another environment that is not completely different, but in a larger format that will push me to do larger scale works and advance to where I need to be… even if it takes me the next 10 years.

    Thanks, Susan!

    Catch Susan’s exhibition ACTINIARIA before it closes this weekend, December 21st!

    OTTAWA RIVERKEEPER HOLIDAY GIFT FUNDRAISER: Gifts That Give Back To Our Rivers For the entire month of December, Studio Sixty...

    OTTAWA RIVERKEEPER HOLIDAY GIFT FUNDRAISER: Gifts That Give Back To Our Rivers

    For the entire month of December, Studio Sixty Six is donating 10% of all gallery sales to the Ottawa Riverkeeper, an independent, non-profit organization that provides leadership and inspiration to protect, promote and improve the health of Ottawa’s rivers for the future.

    The Ottawa Riverkeeper has been around since 2001 when a group of concerned citizens founded the organization and were licensed by the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Since then, the Ottawa Riverkeeper has advocated for the health and safety of the Ottawa River through projects and activities that support a drinkable, swimmable, and drinkable.

    Inspired by the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s efforts and our current water-themed exhibition ACTINIARIA, featuring work by artist Susan Roston, we will be hosting an event in support of the Ottawa Riverkeeper on December 19th at Studio Sixty Six. The Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown will be in attendance and she will be speaking about the efforts of the Ottawa Riverkeeper in more detail, followed by original art gift shopping, desserts and cocktails.

    In addition to our current exhibition, we will be showcasing artworks by Jordan Clayton, Guillermo Trejo, Sabrina Chamberland, Troy Moth, Julie Sent, Jamie Kronick, and Natalie Bruvels, among other fantastic emerging artists. Consider purchasing one of an original artwork for yourself or your loved ones this holiday season and support local artists and the Ottawa Riverkeeper!

    We hope that you will join us in supporting the Ottawa Riverkeeper on December 19th from 3-5pm at Studio Sixty Six at this special event!

    For more information about the event, see our Facebook event page.

    To learn more about the Ottawa Riverkeeper and their activities, see their website.

    A Dangerous Beauty | By Charles Enman If Susan Roston hopes to capture ‘life’ in her ceramic sculptures, her aim seems to have...

    A Dangerous Beauty | By Charles Enman

    If Susan Roston hopes to capture ‘life’ in her ceramic sculptures, her aim seems to have found its target.

    Her latest work—on display until December 20th at Studio66 at 66 Muriel Street—concentrates on recreations of beautiful and delicate sea anemones. They are almost too delicate to contain in something as solid and ungiving as ceramic, yet Roston somehow conveys a sense of flowing life in flowing water.

    The subject comes naturally to her. “I love sea anemones,” she says. “I love their physical beauty, their graceful quality, their fascinating tactile aspect—but there’s also something more complicated about them. When you see them moving, you realize they’re not just beautiful; they eat things; in their own way, they are dangerous.”

    She fell in love with sea anemones when she was child, passing the occasional week on the beaches of Florida.

    The works on show are the product of many months of experimentation.

    “I had to focus and go inside myself,” she recalls. “It took a while to get my direction—and I still feel directions that I might have taken.” She’s gratified though that so many pieces have sold.

    She finds the public’s response gratifying but you won’t easily hear Roston describing herself as an ‘artist.’

    “No, I’m not quite ready to say that of myself,” she says. “In fact, I was afraid that I was going to be sick at the vernissage.”

    Not that having a sense of arrival as an artist would necessarily be good: “You have to stay humble to grow, to be open to new things.” That attitude was partly conveyed to her by her late mentor, the ceramic artist Jim Thomson, who saw the ripening of an artistic career as a movement towards letting go. “You spend all this time figuring things out,” Thomson once said. “Gradually a freedom comes. You trust in the raw material, you recognize the bigger picture—and you respond to where you are and find the language to express it.”

    That seems to be Roston’s current route.

    Each piece was done individually. “They all came out one by one,” Roston says. “There was no multitasking at all, no assembly line.” With many of the pieces featuring delicate, easily broken tentacles (“… those tentacles give a sense of movement—I hate work that just sits there and stares at you…”), she often had several goes before a given piece was completed, an inconvenience easily justified by the results.

    Though Roston is focused on self-expression, every artist wants an audience. And her show contains that whiff of scandal that’s sure to attract crowds—namely, her low-for-the-moment prices. Some pieces can be had for a mere $95, though others, at the high end, are marked at $390. “We can’t expect to see [these prices] for long,” says gallery owner Carrie Colton. “Not the way this woman’s work rocks.”

    Susan Roston’s exhibition, ACTINIARIA will be on view until December 21st at Studio Sixty Six!

    Please join us for a very special event Saturday, Dec. 19th (3 - 5 PM) A presentation by the Ottawa Riverkeeper original art...

    Please join us for a very special event
    Saturday, Dec. 19th (3 - 5 PM)

    A presentation by the Ottawa Riverkeeper
    original art gift shopping, desserts and cocktails.

    ***

    At 3 pm, Ottawa Riverkeeper will give a talk about their work to preserve the Ottawa River watershed, and their programs and activities driven by their goal of swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters.

    Head out to the gallery this month for some great gift ideas and to support an amazing organization that is working towards healthy rivers - where you can take your family to swim, you can fish and eat the fish that you catch, and where the river and its tributaries provide people with a source of water that is both safe and abundant.

    For the entire month of December, 10% of all Studio Sixty Six gallery sales will go to Ottawa Riverkeeper. Stop by to see feature artist Susan Roston’s work, featured in the ACTINIARIA installation, reflecting how movement, water & fragility in a solid form translates into life at its most basic level.

    A Short Interview with Guillermo Trejo Before learning more about Guillermo Trejo's work at tomorrow's artist talk in...

    A Short Interview with Guillermo Trejo

    Before learning more about Guillermo Trejo’s work at tomorrow’s artist talk in conjunction with his exhibition, “It Is About Plants, Modernism, and Other Things,” we decided to ask him about his start as an artist and his practice in a short interview.


    S66: What inspired you to become an artist? How did you get your start?

    GT: There was nothing in specific that inspired me to be an artist, it was more the confident from one of my art teachers in high school, Fernando Delgado, he was my first printmaking teacher and he was the one that suggested that I try to apply to art school. I was exited about this because first the [National School of Painting, Sculpture and Etching] was in Mexico City, and second because it seemed to be an interesting school.

    The art thing was quite natural for me, I always liked working with my hands and my parents encouraged me in this aspect.

    S66: What drew you to printmaking? What is your favorite thing about printmaking?

    GT: When I was like 16 I moved from one high school to a new, more alternative school. In this school, they had a printmaking workshop. And as soon as I saw the press I was interested. I did not know anything about it before but at the time it was a fun thing to try.

    Everything, from the studio to the smells, I really enjoy been in the studio.

    S66: What is your process when you begin a new project?

    GT: First I find a topic, that can be triggered by a personal experience or from something that I read, then I discuss it with my wife to see what she thinks and then I think about it more and more, until I am sure about what I will do. I hardly start from no where, usually I plan everything before I start.

    I don’t really believe that the concept behind an art work is the most important so that is why I give so much time to the thinking proses.

    S66: Is there an artwork in the exhibition that you are most proud of? Why?

    GT: The canvas works, because they are so spontaneous and different from what I do but still they look like my work. [ see above ]

    S66: If you could have dinner with three artists (living/dead) who would they be? Why?

    GT: I have been reading about Hans Richter, a German artist that started with constructivism in the 1920, began working with experimental video, and he continued working until the end of his life in 1976.

    In the book that I am reading about him, they talk about a congress of international artists ranging from Dada artists from Switzerland, Constructivists from Rusia, DeStijl artists from the Nederland, and Futurists from Italy. I would like to be invited…

    S66: Thanks, Guillermo!

    Don’t miss Guillermo Trejo’s artist talk tomorrow night on his current solo exhibition “It Is About Plants, Modernism, and Other Things” at Studio Sixty Six from 5 to 8pm!

    For more information about this event, please see our Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/194369327566991/.

    LANGUAGE (IM)PURITY: A READING OF GUILLERMO TREJO’S “IT IS ABOUT PLANTS, MODERNISM, AND OTHER THINGS” TEXT BY LITAL KHAIKIN ...

    LANGUAGE (IM)PURITY:
    A READING OF GUILLERMO TREJO’S
    “IT IS ABOUT PLANTS, MODERNISM, AND OTHER THINGS”

    TEXT BY LITAL KHAIKIN


    *


    Chaos unscrambled

    back to the first

    harmonies

    And the first light


    Lawrence Ferlinghetti,

    A Vast Confusion


    *


    In a self-contained world of experiments in origin, Guillermo Trejo’s It is about Plants, Modernism, and Other Things sketches out an abstracted language through multiple series of lithographic prints. The geometric designs on paper and canvas relate to each other in the manner of a compendium—the serialised approach to Trejo’s prints speaks to a desire for coherence, for adhering to a total, logical system. The presence of original woodcuts creates a relationship between the works, where each motif may be seen as a work-in-progress. The geometric patterns in the exhibit reflect the inspiration of ‘plants blooming in spring’, as a language that is in formation. In this raw demonstration of process, Trejo considers the historic role of printmaking, but asserts broader questions that relate printmaking to its explorative, contemporary identity.


    From his critique of monument and protest iconography in S'endormir près du monument pendant la revolution (Galerie UQO), to the memorial project for missing students from Guerrero, Mexico at Montréal’s Art Souterrain (2015), Trejo’s practice is entrenched in a critical awareness of print as a method by which to determine, disturb, and transform social relationships. It is about Plants, Modernism, and Other Things borrows from Walter Benjamin’s negative theology – a theory of pure art – discussed in the essay “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936). Benjamin refers to the lithograph as an example of the increased reproducibility of art, which “emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual”. It is this capacity for reproduction, this divestment from the ritual of the artist’s touch, that is enabled by the mechanical process in printmaking. The idealised language of the machine follows a system, copying and translating information independently of the artist’s singular interpretation. Through the reproduction, the artist’s material becomes a kind of pure data that may be copied an infinite number of times, and with as many variations.


    While embracing the machine for its potential to realise an ideal of objectivity, Trejo is critical of this objective substitution: “At the cost of what?” he asks, “The value of art? To question the validity of uniqueness?”


    Trejo’s reference to the most persistent tenets of Modernism is explicit. The medium reflects the burgeoning of industrialisation and capital, collectivity and uniformity, which defined a greater part of the 20th century. Trejo revisits the connection between the written language and its formation from graphic illustration; language is abstracted back to its origins, as simplest geometric shapes – an alphabet that appears to supersede the intimacy of human impressions. This abstraction, with the intent to distil an essential form, is found in De Stijl. Artists sought a ‘relationship of equality’ between the communal and the individual, assuming this to be possible through a dissociation of their expression from the impressions of sentiment. Social conflict was believed to derive from too much emphasis on the individual, from the dominance held by the personal upon collective environments and modes of expression.


    We see in Trejo’s series a revisitation of this abstraction attempted within De Stijl: an experiment with the root of all systems of information, be they hieroglyphics, mathematical expressions, computer code. Used to constrain the geometry of It is about Plants, Modernism, and Other Things, Trejo’s autonomous, self-contained system translates into the realm of ‘generative art’ – which brings printmaking into a contemporary discourse that parallels the behaviours and social concerns of digital media. Most evidently, Trejo makes a deliberate reference to the closed systems of typography: within the borders of his autonomous language, symbols conform to rules that are particular only in relation to each other and the space in which they are exhibited – to a logical system for their formation, their patterns and behaviours.


    By suggesting this linguistic system but leaving its translation in mystery, Trejo leads us directly towards cryptography. For the symbols we encounter do follow a particular system of laws and relationships, but they exist outside of our scope of understanding. The otherwise benign decision to leave many of the serialised prints untitled shows a resistance to the power-play of language within an art exhibit – the title-as-definition does not exist as such in Trejo’s show. The cyphers of the exhibition are a challenge to interpret, but they also reflect the invisible, inseparable role of encryption in the languages of data systems that contain and disperse information. In all the secretive data of Grid and No Title, there’s a cheerful humour about the contemporary tension and malleability of language: between the artistry of communicating data in print, while the most democratised, accessible data is invisibly flitting between digital codes and algorithms that approach an untouchable universality, if not complete autonomy.


    Any failure of ‘pure’ abstraction, however, occurs when even that negation relies on maintaining legitimacy around meaning – around the signifier as ‘something-to-negate’. Language, as it is, constricts the experience and being of the world into compact forms that serve our needs. Coming out of the 20th century, abstract art attempted to remove meaning from image, to destroy the sign and express essence. This negation of representation, however, relied upon the same semantic system it sought to demolish – the crutch of polarity upon which ideas of reality are still carried – a crippling legacy that maintains human experience, signs, and the negations of these, as determinants of what is inaccurate or what is objective. The contemporary argument – the ‘anti-humanism’ explored in philosopher Levi Bryant’s A Democracy of Objects, for instance – is that this division and motivation for abstraction is already coming from a perspective that is inaccurate. As we see, the ideal with which Trejo experiments is a non-semantic language that is independent of human motivations.


    The exhibition space is occupied by fragments and attempts at constructing a language, in what Trejo calls an ‘enclosed universe’. This universe, in the truest spirit of abstraction, has no steadfast representation, and so it is not communicating for us based on such representation. In A Democracy of Objects, Bryant is immediately critical of a ‘reality for us’, which “condemns philosophy to a thoroughly anthropocentric reference” [1]. This kind of worldview cannot imagine that it does not contain or require human presence. It is as if the world of objects, beings, experiences, has no independent existence, and is made known only by our human relationships and values. This ‘anti-reality’ is necessarily based upon division—that of ‘true representations’ and ‘inaccurate’ imaginings—a validation of a distinction between an objective reality and subjective experience. As Bryant notes, this reality is a ‘consensus’ – where multiple impressions of an objective reality collide at a single intersection where we choose to agree to a single system of interpretation.


    It is in this way that we remain ‘anti-realists’ in a futile pursuit of truth while stumbling over the very illusory systems that leave us forever entangled in humanist interpretation. Most violently, this standard denies the legitimacy of a reality that may be constructed from a non-human perspective, and carries implications upon the relationships we have with other beings and spaces – relationships that are determined through a linguistic cosmology. We identify in Bryant’s argument that such an objective reality would rely on the relationship of humans and objects through an availability of knowledge – and thus, through the privilege of that access, and the power of having that knowledge. Bryant writes, “At issue was not the arid question of when and how we know, but rather the legitimacy of knowledge as a foundation for power.”


    We enter into a world that is by all appearances incomplete, but which has a self-sustaining structure upon which we are non-determining viewers. Outside of directly relating to the practice of printmaking as a contemporary form of media, Trejo’s experiment connects to a timely, radical discourse around the power-structures within language that determine social and environmental relationships. In the graphic net of It is about Plants, Modernism, and Other Things, the alternative model – the democracy of objects – is suggested in the presence of a system of knowledge in which the human participant is a visitor, not the centre from which reality is determined. This anti-humanist revolution in information systems requires a reconstruction of the ways we actually relate to language, how we experience it and the resilience of social and environmental oppression within our systems of communication.


    *


    CITATIONS


    [1] Bryant, Levi. A Democracy of Objects. Open Humanities Press, 2011. Online at: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.9750134.0001.001

    Q&A with Laura Demers about her work in her current exhibition, Unknown Destinations S66: How do we experience the landscape,...

    Q&A with Laura Demers about her work in her current exhibition, Unknown Destinations

    S66: How do we experience the landscape, in the immediate, fleeting moment?

    LD:Unknown Destinations, the title of this exhibit, refers to travelling, to the way we interfere with nature, the way we situate ourselves in relationship to the land, figuratively and literally.

    In certain paintings, for example “Where is North from Here”, I am interested in mapping the surface of the earth. It almost seems like the made-up landscape is floating, sitting atop a pedestal, or supported by some sort of structure.

    Laura Demers. Where is North From Here

    In other works, I want my viewers to look at the land as they would through a window. The scene is blurred, or there is something obstructing the view, some sort of filter.

    In some pieces, there is a certain sense of movement, or at least a sense of time, whether it is stopped or accelerated.

    What I am interested in, is that even though we often think of landscape and land as a very fixed, permanent, stable thing, it is actually quite fluid and unstable. In fact, in many of my works, the scenes are deconstructed, the horizon line is broken up or non-existent. Sometimes, the absence of solid ground (“Untitled III”, for example) further creates a sense of vertigo or instability.

    S66: Tell us about your interest in collage and photography. How does it influence and/or inspire your work?

    LD:With this series, I refer to imaginary places we construct in our minds, from memories of places we’ve visited, places we’ve dreamed of, places we’ve captured in photographs, places we think we know.

    The author Maarten Jacobs wrote this paper titled “The Production of Mindscapes, a Comprehensive Theory of Landscape Experience” that inspired me to explore the theme of the mindscape and explained it in a way that resonated with me. I liked the idea that social science theories and methods can be used to study humans’ relationships with landscape, nature, and wildlife. Jacobs wrote:

    “One can divide reality into three different modes: physical reality, social reality and inner reality. In each of these different modes, landscape appears as a different phenomenon. I will call these three landscape phenomena matter-scape, power-scape and mindscape, respectively.”

    “Mindscape is the landscape in inner reality. Inner reality is constituted by consciousness or states of mind; for example, the experience or imagination of a tree and the associations it involves. Inner reality is subjective; it exists in the minds of subjects only. The number of inner realities is exactly the same as the number of conscious subjects in the world, since inner reality is the product of consciousness. Mindscape is the landscape as people experience it and can be very personal in meaning. Mindscape is a system of essentially individual values, judgements, feelings and meanings that are related to the landscape.”

    So, to answer the question, I feel that collage and photography is an appropriate way of working with this idea of the fragmented, subjective memory, of a personal experience of landscape.

    From a technical point of view, the images I collect come from various sources; they have varied esthetics.. Because of that, the landscapes I create don’t represent a sense of one single place; there is no specific geographical identifier, but are rather an amalgamation of different indefinite locations.

    Laura Demers. Where is North From Here

    Collage also allows me to manipulate the composition of a painting easily; I use it as a tool, as one would use the preparatory sketch. Sometimes (often) the painting refuses to cooperate… That’s when I turn to collage. Out of magazine cut-outs, photographs, pieces of painted paper, I try and solve the composition, find new colours and motifs to work with.

    S66:Your paintings play with abstraction and the intangible in their “representation” of the land. Looking at other emerging artists’ work with abstracting landscapes, we can see: Gabriela Avila-Yiptong, Chelsea Jodoin. Elsewhere, we can see Stanzie Tooth (Hand to Ground, Karsh Masson). This seems to reflect, of course, on the strong history of Canadian landscape painting, but is exciting for the transformation with more gestural, conceptual practice. What is the significance of the “abstracted landscape” in your work?

    LD:Yes, when we think of Canadian painting, our mind quickly goes to the Group of Seven and their representation of the uninhabited Canadian land (or at least, what they perceived as uninhabited land). It is true that my paintings are also void of human presence, they are in a sense, empty. But the difference is that I’m not trying to render a particular, real, tangible, undiscovered place, but rather, the way we relate to the land (in our recollections, in photographs, and in the way we experience it and speak about it). I wasn’t interested in painting figures for this particular series, but am looking into ways of incorporating them in my work.

    When it comes to the question of stylistic influence, it is kind of undeniable that the University of Ottawa BFA has had a strong influence on the way I paint and what I am interested in, but the same goes for most universities or artistic institutions. Artists, while thriving to create something original, are quick to pick up tricks, tropes, palettes, and visual cues from what surrounds them. In the studios at the University of Ottawa, my colleagues and I often had this conversation. It is completely normal to be influenced by other peoples’ work (especially when you admire their work), it’s a matter of being cautious and conscientious when ‘borrowing’ from other artists. I haven’t yet decided when and where I want to do my MFA, because I feel that I need to take some time to work and paint more by myself, find my personal interests in painting, and do some more experimentation before I’m ready to start another degree.

    S66: How do you approach landscapes as an idea/subject when you begin a painting? How does “place become sensation” in your work?

    LD:I paint with oil paints almost exclusively. The first step when I start a painting is to mark the canvas. For me, having an idea and putting it directly on the canvas, is almost impossible. So I make it a more instinctual, spontaneous process. I start by simply marking the canvas with colour and gesture. It is quite like the “Blank Page Syndrome” for writers, or “Writers’ Block”; the more you look at the white page before you, the more you resist doing anything to it, for fear of doing something mediocre. So I paint without even thinking or judging. Then I take a step back and often, something emerges: a horizon line, a landscape, some kind of scene that I can start to make appear. And then it’s a matter of adding and removing, or marking and erasing, of abstracting and rendering, etc.

    Untitled III

    S66: You are also currently being exhibited in Toronto, in “Near, Far & Somewhere In-between” (October 17 - November 22, 2015), curated by Stanzie Tooth. The show looks at “relationships to the land”. What does this mean to you, and how do you explore this broader relationship between a person and the land throughout your work?

    LD:The exhibition in Toronto touches on similar subjects as this one:

    For one, thinking of the land as a habitat, and the irony in the fact that we continue to destroy it.

    Secondly, showing the land under different states (romanticized, destroyed and in turmoil, abstracted, etc.), through different mediums.

    Thirdly, interpreting the topic through different lenses. Correct me if I’m wrong, but to me Annie Taylor’s photographic work is a scientific interpretation of nature, through which she analyzes, researches, and deconstructs its elements, from the microscopic to the telescopic. Julia Martin’s photographs are more like diary entries about her surroundings, to which she attaches emotional value. She documents and narrates her immediate environment, and therefore appropriates it. In my case, l am exploring the idea that landscape can be a metaphor for thought, memories, and feelings.

    S66: Some have described your style of painting as an “obliterating gestural abstraction.” How do you think this plays out in your work? What do you think may/may not be obliterated? And to what end?

    LD: I think that this phrase describes well my process, the way I start a painting, rather than a stylistic choice. I start with marks and colour, which I wipe away and cover up and erase again, until something emerges from the surface of the canvas. Afterwards, it is a matter of obliterating/building, emphasizing certain details/cancelling out others, following the source image/denying it. I tend to gravitate towards abstraction (for now at least), because reproducing an image directly is not that interesting to me (perhaps I haven’t been very successful at it thus far). It is also exciting to let paint be paint. In this series, the abstracted quality of the paintings give them a surreal feel; it serves as a hint that these lands are fictional, fabricated. In many works, some parts of the gestural “underpaintings” were left intact, offering the viewer some insight as to how these paintings came to be.

    vortex

    S66: Now that you have also graduated from the BFA program at the University of Ottawa, what is next for you? What kind of projects do you hope to undertake?

    LD: I was quite lucky (and thankful) to be able to participate in exhibitions immediately after graduating from my BFA. Over the course of the summer, I participated in the Fresh Paint/New Construction 2015 exhibition at Art Mur in Montreal, which, like the title suggests, is an exhibition of new works in painting and sculpture. I am also showing some works in Toronto at Lonsdale Gallery.

    My short terms goals for the future: keep painting in my studio in Little Italy (Platform Gallery and Studios), perhaps show some work there, while submitting proposals for other artistic projects . I would also love to do an artist residency in the upcoming year. I feel the need for more experimentation and new influences in my practice. I am looking into set design. I have discovered that working with friends and fellow artists towards a production, an experience, is extremely rewarding and thrilling. After putting together a massive exhibition like XXV (the BFA Gradshow at the University of Ottawa) last spring, I feel that working on an artistic project that is not only mine can only push me, reinvigorate my practice, and open new possibilities.

    Long terms goals: complete an MFA and specialize in painting.

    S66: Finally, do you have any mentors and/or artists you look to for inspiration who have guided your ideas and practice?

    LD:Yes. The BFA program at the University of Ottawa brings in great new artists/professors for studio courses every year. I’ve had the chance to work with Jennifer Lefort, Matthew Carver, Martin Golland, Carol Wainio, Dil Hildebrand, and many others. These artists have had an impact on my work and my approach to painting and contemporary art in general, even if our practices or “styles” are different. I’ve also had the chance to have Jessica Bell and Stanzie Tooth as mentors during my undergrad.

    With regards to artists I look to for inspiration, there are way too many to list, and I find new artists to admire every day. But for the past year or two, I can say I’ve been in love with Kristine Moran’s narrative abstractions, Dil Hildebrand’s staged scenes, Ryan Sluggett’s collage techniques, and recently, Rosalind Breen’s exploration of materiality in painting.

    Thank you, Laura!

    Unknown Destinations will be on view at Studio Sixty Six until October 24th.

    (Questions prepared by Lital Khaikin and Danuta Sierhuis)

    Meredith Snider’s latest exhibition, Still Life: Bouquet at Central Art Garage (September 11 – October 16, 2015) is a beautiful...

    Meredith Snider’s latest exhibition, Still Life: Bouquet at Central Art Garage (September 11 – October 16, 2015) is a beautiful examination of the interrelationships of sculpture and photography, the social act of expressing an apology through a bouquet of flowers, and the notion of the absurd.

    An apology is normally a fleeting social transaction, and is often represented through a bouquet of flowers. Snider has transformed such emotional expressions into sculptural objects, preserving the sentiment for posterity–which can be seen to be absurd. In her sculptural work, Snider has encapsulated bouquets of fake flowers in plaster in order to create the abstract final products. She has also allowed for flowers to emerge from little ‘mouths’ in the pieces, which perhaps hints at the personal history involved in the act of apologizing through the gift of flowers. In this way, she reveals a “method through which to preserve the intimacy of history.”

    Snider’s work in Still Life: Bouquet is also influenced by architecture, art history, and history closer to home–literally. Part of the inspiration for this series came from her century old home in Hull, Quebec, and a bouquet of fake flowers. She says:

    Typically I don’t work (conceptually) from within my own home, however I had just moved into this house in Hull that was built in 1895 and I felt a strong sense of character and history seeping out of the walls. It did not feel like ‘my home’ so much as ‘a home’ and I felt intrigued to work within its confines while taking into consideration its characteristics and the effects it had on my emotions and behavior. The digital image, Untitled, 2015 that I used to promote the exhibition captures the atmosphere of the house in relationship to the sculpture.

    Meredith' snider untitled the series sculpture photography plaster fake flowers cement in x in.

    In the picture above, one can definitely see the connections between the house’s mouldings and the sculpture framed within the doorway. With this in mind, the connection between the photograph within Snider’s house and the sculpture can imply connotations of gendered space and acts.

    This was also a running theme in Snider’s research for this project, inlcuding reading Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle; by Silvia Federici and Sara Ahmed’s The Promise of Happiness. Ahmed’s book in particular, “ engages with feminist antiracist and queer critics who have shown how happiness is used to justify social oppression challenging causes unhappiness.Still Life: Bouquet is perhaps questioning the act of sending a bouquet of flowers as an apology within such gendered and spatial discourses. Snider further explained the genesis of her interest in the idea of a bouquet of flowers:
    My partner brought home a bouquet of fake flowers one day that his client no longer wanted. She asked him to pass the flowers on to me assuming I would want them to decorate my home. At the time I was in the midst of preparing a still life photography workshop for seniors and had come across the image of Cast of a Dog Killed by the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, about 1874, by Giorgio Sommer.
     Cast of a Dog Killed by the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, 1874, Getty Images

    I was, and still am, very intrigued and moved by this image. For one thing, it is a sculptural object that I came across in a book on still life photography and was therefore interesting as it related to my research on sculpture and photography (as well as the use of plaster). The object references a significant historical event while its materiality and posture indicate life and death, movement and stillness.

    All this to say that when I received the flowers, I had the urge to further ‘still’ what was already a plasticized version of something living, to encapsulate its form. It felt like an ‘inside joke’ as the term <em>Still Life: Bouquet</em> kept circling my mind… From this starting point I continued to take into consideration the routine use of bouquets as decoration and as gesture from within a domestic environment that has the characteristics of age and solitude.

    Untitled (from the series 'Sculpture and Photography'), edition of 2, 2015, digital photograph printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, 34 x 24 inches.

    Snider also conducted extensive research into the history of sculpture and photography while she worked on these artworks. For example, she looked at Heinrich Wolfflin’s 1896 essay “How Should One Photograph Sculpture” details (in a very passionate way) some of the best ways to photograph sculpture in the late-1800s, Rodin’s photographer shooting his sculpture in moonlight, or simply photographing a close up element of a sculpture, like an armpit. Snider plays and engages with all of these ideas one way or another in the photographs she took of her work. She photographs them close-up with coloured light highlighting the unusual landscapes found within the Untitled (from the series Sculpture & Photography).

    Overall, the exhibition has an absurd kind of humor that explores the custom of giving of flowers. The exhibition questions why we give apologies, where did the custom of giving flowers come from, and how it is a gendered act.

    You can catch Still Life: Bouquet at Central Art Garage until October 16th, 2015.

    Article by Danuta Sierhuis

    (Photographs courtesy of Meredith Snider, Hector Tovar, and Chris Snow)

    (Image by Maitland Shaheen, for The Fulcrum) The scientific method: approaching art with a new lens Maitland Shaheen ...read...

    (Image by Maitland Shaheen, for The Fulcrum)

    The scientific method: approaching art with a new lens
    Maitland Shaheen
    …read the full article click here.

    Last year, independent art gallery Studio Sixty Six opened for business at 66 Muriel Street in the Glebe. They have since amassed an impressive collection of local artwork and curated numerous successful exhibitions. The gallery’s current exhibit, Approaching Form, features four Ottawa artists, all of them alumni of the University of Ottawa.

    […]

    All four artists featured in the exhibit are showing paintings inspired by elements of varying disciplines, including biology, the human body, psychology, and landscape.

    Talking to Saw Gallery's Jason St-Laurent: What's next, Redevelopment, and Ottawa's art market C. I’d like to end by asking...

    Talking to Saw Gallery’s Jason St-Laurent: What’s next, Redevelopment, and Ottawa’s art market

    C. I’d like to end by asking you a couple of questions about SAW; where it’s coming from and where it’s going? Describe the shape it’s taking and how it’s changing?

    J. I’ve been here almost four years. As you know, we are in the midst of the redevelopment project. SAW is expanding by 10,000 feet which means expanded galleries, multidisciplinary space. We are working on an artist’s residency, live/work space for artists, and we’re shaping that into sort of an aortic lab that looks at Ottawa’s relations with Canada’s north — then also Scandinavia, the Baltic nations… Because there’s never that exchange in the north, and with climate change and a lot of artists addressing the changing landscape, this could be a really good opportunity for artists to reflect on those questions — exchanges between Inuit and Sami cultures. There’s all kinds of relationships that we can foster there, so that will likely become a new facet of SAW.

    C. I like that. Those are subjects that need to be explored and what a great way to do it.

    J. In terms of what the dynamic will be in the new centre we are still in the design stages, but the spirit of SAW will stay the same in that we like when there are no silos when it comes to disciplines. So if you come to our opening, like for Big Bang for instance, there’s bands in the court yard, there’s pop up performances — this idea that we can reach a larger community than just our own patrons, that we can extend that to our younger audiences through the music scene. And that’s very much going to be the spirit of the new SAW, in that we will keep up that programming that helps us contact cinema and music, and all that. We are taking as our model the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. I know that sound pertinacious, it’s the biggest contemporary art center in Europe, but there are elements of what they do that we really love. One of the things is that Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the gallery will be open until midnight so that we can connect with working people, for one thing.

    Arts Court Redevelopment

    C. So what are you doing about us (the art community) not just continuing to talk to each other — because what I find is whether I come here or to PDA Projects, or Central Art Garage, it’s already people who know what’s going on… How can we speak to all these other people who are highly educated and would be very interested in the culture that we’re marketing to them, if we promoted it to them and spoke to to them in an approachable manner?

    J. Exactly. You see it in Nuit Blanche. The second you open the doors to new audiences, you make the environment more pertinent.

    C. I agree Ottawa has a lot of really interesting people who don’t feel they are invited, or don’t know about our events, or they think they won’t fit in.

    J. There’s a lot of work to be done there to display old notions that certain spaces are for a certain class of people. We feel that by opening ourselves up in the evenings… well you know as well as I do, being opening on a Monday morning is not that useful.

    C. Yes, what you were saying about being open at night makes so much sense, because few people feel like they have to have a background in music, theatre to go and enjoy it. But invite someone to an art show, and you get “oh I won’t know what I’m looking at”.

    Music at the opening of Big Bang at Gallerie SAW Gallery

    J. With the National Gallery people say that is busy on Thursday evenings because it’s free. I would argue that it’s because it’s really convenient for people. That’s something that we are going to test out. Our model is going to become more and more experiential as we get closer to the opening of our new space. That’s because we know that the way young people connect to art and theatre and all the other disciplines tends to be experiential, they want an experience out of it, and that’s a lot more work. Our opening for Big Bang, we opened up tents and stages… but we feel that’s the direction to go in, for us.

    Geographically, we are in the middle of the city so it makes sense of us to connect with an urban audience who might have different habits than the suburbs. So we are thinking through these questions all the time, and it’s something our board is wrestling with. With the expanded centre we are now separating the gallery from the club; right now, it’s a thoroughfare, so 25k people come to the events in our club and have no chose but to encounter our programs. Some walk right through but you’d be surprised at how many young people come for an all ages show and say “I got the art bug at SAW”, “I was sixteen and I saw this really cool art show, and that was it.“

    C. It’s so true, like anything, you don’t know what’s going to move you until you expose yourself to it. Many of my design clients have amazing tastes in music, fashion, architecture, but have really tepid things on their walls that they have no emotional investment in. Then you start taking them to the gallery. Often the first question is “what’s good”, I say “what do you think is good, what are you responding to?” Your art work is telling your story, it will be a reflection of very personal things. Usually people quickly realize it’s the same thing, “I like this type of music I like this painting, I don’t have to know exactly why at first.” After a while, they understand why. Once you buy one piece it’s like tatoos, I’m told. Once you have one, you want another, and another. It becomes an the art bug.

    J. People need to know that there is not wrong way to look at art. Once you believe this things change.

    For more information about SAW Gallery, see the gallery’s website: http://www.galeriesawgallery.com/sawgallery.html

    Interview with Jason St. Laurent (Curator of SAW Gallery and BIG BANG), by Carrie Colton (Gallery Director, Studio Sixty Six) ...

    Interview with Jason St. Laurent (Curator of SAW Gallery and BIG BANG), by Carrie Colton (Gallery Director, Studio Sixty Six)

    C: Please tell me about the idea behind Big Bang and how you narrowed down the region’s art stars featured in this exhibition, Big Bang?

    J: It happened over the course of a year of research: talking with artists to find out what they were doing and if their practices were taking an interesting turn. But, interestingly, there were also discoveries — for example, Leslie Hossack. I didn’t know her practice at all. She had come in and submitted an exhibition assistant grant application. Once I looked at her work and support material I thought, wow! her work is great. We really wanted to show as much diversity as possible. That’s why this exhibition spans generations — emerging artists just out of the Master’s Program at the University of Ottawa alongside Leslie Reid, a pretty established artist.

    I have to tell you, one big impetus for me with this exhibition was visiting the Canadian Art Biennial at the National Gallery of Canada and not seeing a single Ottawa (or area) artist represented. I thought to myself, “it’s not very popular to have a regionalist approach to curating, because perhaps it’s seen as lazy and or pandering, but coming out of the biennial I felt that it’s time to put on a show that really puts Ottawa artists’ best foot forward.

    To push these artists, I asked them to either do something new, out of their comfort zone, or work in a scale they were not used to; you can see that in Gavin Lynch and Michael Harrington, working with overtly large size canvas and the bigger than life subject. That’s why the show is called Big Bang. In terms of how to make the final selection, these types of shows are almost more telling in their exclusion rather than in their inclusion.

    C. Very true; seeing this exhibition, it brings to mind all the other artists from this area who are also doing really exciting and pioneering things in contemporary art.

    Donna Legault, SONIC HORIZON

    J. If there is a common thread between these artists, these are are artists who we see have an undeniable life-commitment to their work. It’s always interesting for us to work with artists to create new work and, since we had enough time in the planning of this show, we pushed the artists to make new work. Now with Leslie, this is an ongoing series but in the case of our audience, we felt she would be a major discovery with these unsettling images of depopulated buildings taken out of time.

    With Donna Legault, who is one of the most interesting artists in the city, she tends to work with old technologies — which seems old school, but she reworks the technology into really complex systems. This is a new media project, but she strips it down to this elegant poetry. This an idea of a sound horizon that you can alter with your own voice. It’s really quite beautiful, and it’s a brand new project that she had prototyped, and was able to pull off a pretty significant installation for this show.

    C:. This is an amazing piece tell me about it.

    Gavin Lynch

    J. For this Gavin Lynch piece we worked with the artists and asked if there was way for him to push the presentation. We were able to give him an artist’s assistance grant, which was put toward working with a wood-worker to create this sculptural element which frames the work, which is a major new direction for Gavin.

    C. And here we have Justin Wonncot’s work.

    J. Justin is probably one of the most “present” artists at Axeneo-7. For this exhibition, he rifled through thousands of images, for these specific images. He’s one of those artists that really lives his art. He always has his camera around his neck; there’s not day that passes where he’s not snapping. This work is a bit surprising, if you know his previously presented work, because this takes you into the realm of the romantic with the landscape. But for Justin, nothing is ever clean in nature. There’s always an element of human intervention. You always see a pole, or graffiti, as shown here in these stunning photographs.

    This work here by Annie Pootoogook is an exception in this exhibition, in the sense that we brought work that is older for her, but represents an area of her practice that nobody knows — her erotic drawings, which have never been exhibited.

    C. Why is that?

    J. I don’t know, but when we found out she was working on this series, we invited her to be part of our HB Magazine, which is on the theme of erotica. It just seemed to make sense to bring this work into the exhibition, especially since she;’s an Ottawan, and still draws everyday.

    C.How did you come to choose one of my all-time favourite painters, Michael Harrington?

    J. I’ve been drawn Michael Harrington’s work. I’d worked as curator prior to this position, but also, I’d been embedded in the film world for so many years and there’s something truly cinematic about his work. If you look at all his paintings, it’s almost like one film he has created over a lifetime. He took this opportunity to run with it — create this extra-large, almost human-scale image. I really like it, fabulous painting!

    You’ll see that there is a lot of painting in this show, which some find shocking — because we do have a focus of new media and performance — but it is one of the biggest strengths in our region.

    M. Harrington

    C. I find this Josée Dubeau’s Rythme d’amour piece very romantic and poignant. What is the musical pattern based on?

    J. It’s improvised. Yes, so simple but so effective. Two lovers trying to find their way… This was her first foray into videos. It’s is a huge departure for her because her work is based in drawing and sculpture.

    This piece by Eric Walker was two years in the making. In a museum, it may not be considered large scale, but in Eric’s world it’s huge — one of the reasons we felt it was important to include this work.

    This is a redux. Frank Shebageget has done other configurations of this work. These are the planes that used to bring food and medicine into Aboriginal communities where he grew up. It becomes a light and sculptural piece with all the shadow coming off of it.

    For more information about SAW Gallery and Big Bang see the gallery’s website: http://www.galeriesawgallery.com/sawgallery.html

    The Sea-inspired Ceramics of Susan Roston

    artandsciencejournal:

    In Susan Roston’s ceramic work she takes the hard shell of the material and creates the illusion of flowing and organic sea life. Rather than creating a literal translation of underwater worlds and their inhabitants, this self-taught artist focuses on the movement of life through water. Her creations tremble as though caught in a current and reach for invisible food coming their way. 

    See more of Susan Roston’s ceramic works on our website! http://studiosixtysix.ca/collections/susan-roston

    A Dialogue with Taxonomy

    artandsciencejournal:

    image

    Jordan Clayton’s most recent body of work focuses on the microbiology available from the artist’s own body. As Clayton describes his artistic process for this series: “I explore microscope imagery of single-celled organisms, bacterium, viruses, and fungus, which are then conceptualized into abstractions that nuance representation.” The artist uses what he describes as visual quantification - painting or drawing used as a way to record raw data from observation. 

    image

    As for the inspiration, Clayton gathers his bacteria colonies from his own body. The harmless samples aim to create a more personal connection between the artist and his work, and contrast with his previous explorations into decay and pandemics. His use of abstraction with these subjects explores the possibility of infinite growth. As he states: “My bacterial colonies could, in theory be in any state of growth or size but are infinitely indeterminate until observed on a microscopic scale.” By observing and recording these processes, Clayton makes them real.

    image
    You can see more of Jordan Clayton’s work on our website! http://studiosixtysix.ca/collections/jordan-clayton

    FACE/OFF (AUGUST 5 – 28, 2015): PDA PROJECTS 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION Featuring over 30 artists from Ottawa, Toronto, and...

    FACE/OFF (AUGUST 5 – 28, 2015): PDA PROJECTS 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION

    Featuring over 30 artists from Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, FACE/OFF is an exhibition that looks at the contemporary Canadian practices in portraiture and representations of the human form. The exhibition features an eclectic mix of approaches to portraiture, from highly manipulated images, collages, candid photographs, and drawings—each reflecting the particular artist’s style and interests.

    PDA Projects’ Gallery Owner and Director, Brendan de Montigny described the show as “a sort of a mashup of low-brow and high-brow, and emerging, mid-career, and established artists. So on one side, you’ll have an artist like Adam Gunn , who is an artist we represent; and he’s smashed up against Tony Sherman , who is one of Canada’s preeminent portrait encaustic artists; and then right next to it, you’ll have someone who has just graduated from OCAD University, like Stella Cade .

    FACE/OFF is exhibited in a salon style, and attempts to take the hierarchy and structure out of how we regard emerging, mid-career and established artists. By mixing and exhibiting artists from different stages in their career, we are able to appreciate the similarities and differences in each artists’ work as they “face-off” against each other in the gallery’s space. Inclusivity is an important part of PDA Projects’ exhibitions, de Montigny says that “we have emphasize a wide variety of media and materials being used, but also age, gender, class, religion, and all of these really points that define where Canada is heading and reaffirming that in a really positive way.”

    This is definitely keeping in line with PDA Projects’ goals: to bring all kinds of artists and art appreciators together, and to exhibit a wide range of artworks in different media. Artists who have exhibited at Studio Sixty Six in the past, including Guillermo Trejo’s Me at 24 (2010) and Olivia Johnston’s Pregnant Madonna (Gaelyn) (2015) seen below.

    Guillermo Trejo, Me at 24, 2010 Olivia Johnston, Pregnant Madonna (Gaelyn), 2015

    Be sure to check out this anniversary exhibition at PDA Projects before it closes on August 28, 2015! More information about the exhibition and the artists in FACE/OFF can be found on the gallery’s website http://pdaprojects.com/HOME.

    The upcoming year at PDA Projects will certainly be an exciting one! Be sure to keep an eye out for three upcoming events in September, including Coalesce (September 3-6), a new performance art festival curated by Jaclyn Meloche that will feature a performance by Lilly Koltun (who recently exhibited at Studio Sixty Six); the opening of their next exhibition, Inflatable Deities (September 9 - October 3) which will occur during Nuit Blanche Ottawa 2015; and an event for PDA Press.

    Happy 1-year anniversary, PDA Projects!

    (Article by Danuta Sierhuis)

    second image by Peter Simpson for Ottawa Citizen....

    second image by Peter Simpson for Ottawa Citizen. http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-arts/review-take-your-shot-in-interactive-execution-chamber

    Utah Execution Chamber

    acrylic on canvas with steel hooks, twine and plastic water pistols, 2015

    (text by L. Koltun.)

    Based on execution chamber photograph by Trent Nelson/The Associated Press Files.

    Utah has brought back death by firing squad if lethal drugs are not available. A target is pinned over the heart of the seated and strapped-in convict. Sandbags control ricochet. Five volunteers are selected from police officers, with priority given to those from the area of the crime. There are always more volunteers than needed. One of the rifles fires blanks, but nobody knows which one, so nobody knows who actually does the killing.

    “PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SPRITZ THE PAINTING”

    Takedown installation with wallpaper, video, chair, 2015 (text by L. Koltun) “Is this happening? Am I dreaming?” The...

    Takedown

    installation with wallpaper, video, chair, 2015

    (text by L. Koltun)

    “Is this happening? Am I dreaming?”

    The following caption appeared with the woman’s image in the Ottawa Citizen June 12, 2015:

    “Armed with a .22-calibre rifle, Jennifer Hilchey-Reyell puts out a cigarette Thursday at her mother’s house near Dannemora, N.Y. Hilchey-Reyell, who lives next door, says she has been sleeping in a recliner with her gun and her pit bull Layla close at hand since David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped the nearby Clinton Correctional Facility last weekend. ‘My dog will slow them down, and that’s all I need,’ she says. Police were concentrating their search Thursday on a swampy area near the institution, about 30 kilometres from the Canadian border. Seth Wenig/The Associated Press”

    Tony Fouhse's exhibition, OFFICIAL OTTAWA: An unofficial portrait (July 18 - October 11, 2015), currently on view at the OAG...

    Tony Fouhse’s exhibition, OFFICIAL OTTAWA: An unofficial portrait (July 18 - October 11, 2015), currently on view at the OAG Annex at Ottawa City Hall, examines the impact of the Federal Government’s presence on the City of Ottawa’s image and landscape.

    Fouhse is best known in Ottawa for his series User and Live Through This, photographs of drug addicts and people on the street. However, OFFICIAL OTTAWA provides a subtle link to his previous work; in this new series we see government buildings and federal employees that we don’t necessarily notice on a day-to-day basis—especially for those of us that live in Ottawa. Additionally, the exhibition provides a subtle contradiction to the bright scenes highlighting Ottawa’s tourism and cultural industries that are promulgated by the National Capital Commission (NCC).

    NCC commissioned image

    Instead, we are faced with images of Ottawa that show a different side to city. Included in the series are images of federal employees, politicians, Brutalist government architecture, protests on Parliament Hill, the Canadian military, and events at different major memorial sites in the downtown core. Fouhse says:

    Many Canadians, if they think about it at all, think about Ottawa in media-fed images: it’s natural beauty, the Parliament Buildings, and all the clichés of staged politics and power. This new series of photographs looks at Ottawa from a different perspective. Rather than considering the hype and the myth and the fairytale that those in power create, manage and perpetuate, this work strips the capital down to show the bones of the thing. OFFICIAL OTTAWA looks, in a plain and simple way, at the official infrastructure, institutions and people that shape and inhabit this city. (Source)

    What is exhibited at the OAG Annex is most definitely not the NCC’s Ottawa.

    What is shown are images that invite the viewer to “look behind the clichés that are created, managed and perpetuated by the establishment. [Fouhse] presents his view of the city through a lens most would find difficult to popularize. He invites the viewer to form their own conclusions from his work, and decide how much of these clichés we accept as true.”

    NCC commissioned image

    OFFICIAL OTTAWA can be read in a number of ways depending on the viewer’s inclinations. On the one hand, the photographs highlight unremarkable vignettes of Ottawa life, such as the intersection of Scott Street and Holland Avenue near the complex of government buildings at Tunney’s Pasture. For the people who live in Ottawa, the fact that the Federal Government is based in our city does little to faze us—the government buildings and people wearing federal public service ID passes are a part of the everyday scenery of living in a government town. This is also perhaps reflected in the way that Fouhse has composed many of his photographs, preferring to shoot on days that are overcast with very matte lighting enhancing the otherwise unremarkablaccept as true.“

    NCC commissioned image

    While on the other hand, OFFICIAL OTTAWA can also be seen as a highly political statement on the Federal Government’s presence in Ottawa. In particular, the images of a leopard tank parked on Parliament Hill, where one usually sees hordes of tourists and of political protests, like the protest of missing and murdered aboriginal women on Parliament Hill, provides a striking example an aberration from the typical tourist images of Ottawa and how political issues can affect the cityscape. We are also confronted by 1980s Brutalist architecture from unusual and oppressive angles that make the government buildings seem unapproachable and austere. This is also reflected in the image of the Prime Minister’s limo with two sunglasses-wearing mounties standing guard.

    Ultimately, the exhibition is an invitation to examine our city and its relationship to the presence of the Federal Government. Together, these images represent several aspects of the fabric of the Federal Government and its agencies across the face of Ottawa. From images of buildings, like Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, the Department of National Defence, the Prime Minister’s Office, and CSIS Headquarters to images of the people who work in government-related fields, Fouhse has created a series of photographs that make us consider how our perceptions of Ottawa are created and managed by the government-commissioned "official” tourist images of the city, and re-consider our daily experience of the Nation’s capital as a government town.

    OFFICIAL OTTAWA: an unofficial portrait will be on view at the OAG Annex at City Hall until October 11, 2015.

    A publication of the OFFICIAL OTTAWA series is forthcoming.

    You can learn more about Tony Fouhse’s work on his website

    (Article by Danuta Sierhuis)

    Distraction 3-channel video, 2014 left: The People's Feast, Coronation [of Nikolas II, last Tsar of Russia], 1897 centre:...

    Distraction

    3-channel video, 2014

    left: The People’s Feast, Coronation [of Nikolas II, last Tsar of Russia], 1897

    centre: Tottenham Riots, London, 2011

    right: Roulette Salon, Monte Carlo, 1901

    (text by L. Koltun)

    Distraction uses two historical stereographic views and a split-screen broadcast from a monitor in Heathrow airport. The people at the feast inhabit a Russia which would rise up within twenty years to overthrow the Tsar; while the roulette salon would have been peopled with elite society, including Russian society at play. The Tottenham riots of 2011, sparked by the killing of a black man by police, signal that those who feel oppressed continue to find an outlet in riots. Tragedy induces fatigue with repetition; we never learn over generations because we are bored with the persistent tragedy of the underclass.

    Stereographic photography attained wide popularity as a parlour entertainment. As the first 3-D medium, it replicated depth through two near-duplicate views merging into one in a stereo viewer. It offered images from around the world by peripatetic photographers and positioned the photo document as distraction. Equally, the split-screen television monitor at Heathrow distracts travellers from the tedium of the wait. Hence photography’s forms and history expose its products as constructed and manipulated, undercutting its claim to mechanical truth-telling in favour of its value as created and creative distraction. The work makes the moral link between distraction and oppression, spotlighting the impact of repetition in dulling social empathy.

    Inequalities underlie riots. Photography is entertainment. Distraction is injustice.

    Q/A with Melanie Yugo, of Possible Worlds | “Prints & Inks: Risograph Edition” Local creative studio Possible Worlds wrapped...

    Q/A with Melanie Yugo, of Possible Worlds | “Prints & Inks: Risograph Edition”

    Local creative studio Possible Worlds wrapped up their recent exhibit “Prints & Inks: Risograph Edition”. Creative director, artist and designer Melanie Yugo curated an exhibit in the Chinatown-based space, bringing together experimental prints by artists from Canada, to Brazil, to the Netherlands.

    Melanie Yugo has a feature article in Uppercase Magazine, interviewing several risograph printmakers: http://uppercasemagazine.com/issue25

    S66: You recently curated the Risograph edition of the Spins & Needles “Prints and Inks” show at Possible Worlds for June-July. Please tell us a bit about Risograph printing, and what makes it so special.

    MY: The Risograph is a printing machine that is essentially a high-speed stencil printer. It looks like a regular photocopier, but what it outputs are prints similar to those with a silkscreened, handmade aesthetic. It’s great for producing creative content in multiples, like posters, art books, zines and album covers.

    The way it works is that a file is sent through a computer, or an image is placed on the glass of the machine. The stencil of the image is transferred to a master stencil sheet, which is wrapped around a cylinder filled with coloured ink. Ink is pushed through the stencil onto the paper as it passes through the machine. To get different colours, the cylinder corresponding to the ink colour you want is changed out each time.

    It’s only in the last several years that the Risograph has been used more and more in creative contexts. The machine was developed in 1986 in Japan for large-volume print jobs in offices, churches and schools. But then toner-based photocopiers took over. So artists and publishers began to experiment with these discarded Risograph machines, finding them in basements or online on eBay or Craigslist, for relatively good prices.

    I think what attracts artists and publishers to the Risograph are a few things. Compared to other types of printing, such as silkscreening or offset, there are less barriers to printing with the Risograph: less setup time, less equipment and generally lower costs overall. It has allowed artists to reclaim printing as an experimental process, to play with different colour gradients and inks and to push the limits of what the machine can produce. Since the artist or publisher owns the means of production, they are able to work on their own terms and share their publications more widely.

    S66: The artists you selected range from across the U.S., to Scotland, Singapore, and the Netherlands. What influenced your choice in artists, and their work?

    MY: I came across many of these artists when I was asked by Uppercase Magazine earlier this year to write an article on the Risograph printing machine. I had known about the Risograph for a couple years, and was interested in exploring this form of printing as part of the greater context of the graphic arts world.

    The artists, designers and publishers who are now part of the exhibition are all considered to be leaders in the arts-based Risograph community. I wanted to include those who represent a range of aesthetics and printing practices, particularly social or collaborative practices, such as knowledge sharing, collaborative publishing models. and even commercial work. For example, Knust in Nijmegen, the Netherlands are considered to be the pioneers of using the Risograph for creative purposes so you can see this in the complexity of their work. They also run a collaborative print workspace, performance venue and artist residency. Issue Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan, focuses on not just producing artist publications, but also organizing and sharing information about the Risograph creative community. Several publishers in the show are well-known for working in a collaborative publishing model, inviting artists to print with them in addition to their own work.

    I also wanted to reflect the international nature of the practice, which is what resonated with me the most when I was doing my research. I think one thing these artists and publishers have in common is their openness and awareness of being part of a global community of creative Risograph users, who are eager to share their work and knowledge.

    S66: Are there any styles, or techniques, that are especially dominant in Risograph printing right now?

    MY: Right now you’ll come across images with thick bold lines, solid shapes or filled with halftones, gradients, collage and patterns, often paired with text. However many styles and techniques dominant in Risograph printing now are because of the limitations of the machine. Like silkscreening, really graphic illustrations or designs print best. So artists design work with the Risograph’s strengths and limitations in mind.

    That said, many artists use the printing process to experiment and see how far they can go, for example on different paper stocks, colour gradients and line work. Many share the results of their experiments or process online, whether it is the final work or not.

    S66: As part of the exhibit, you announced that Spins & Needles/Possible Worlds now has a Risograph printing machine. Are there any projects lined up?

    MY: We’re really excited to have a Risograph as part of our studio. We’ll be using it for our own print projects, such as collaborative art books or poster series with local artists. But we’ll also be offering it up as a resource for the Ottawa creative scene.

    We’ll start to take on select Risograph projects starting in September. Several artists, studios and music producers have already approached us to ask about printing their work on the Risograph. We’re also thinking about offering workshops or meetups for people to become familiar with how to create work for the machine.

    We’re hoping to help artists and small businesses across disciplines to put more of their creative content out there in printed form, and to share with a wider audience. Print work is also a great entry point if you’re looking to add artwork to your walls, reading stories from alternative viewpoints, or just learning about independent art and culture. I think that’s what attracts us to the Risograph, and print in general: the means to share your creative ideas with a wider audience in an accessible manner.

    Lilly Koltun’s upcoming Studio Sixty Six exhibition, Distraction (6 – 17 August) appropriates photographs and video of violent...

    Lilly Koltun’s upcoming Studio Sixty Six exhibition, Distraction (6 – 17 August) appropriates photographs and video of violent tragedies from our past and present to ask “what is truth in the media anyways?” The show may shock, or may seduce us into asking some tough questions about how we think about today’s gun and police culture. As Koltun says, “They [i.e. the media] are setting up a narrative that touches the people’s buttons… What happens to the way we record and remember these things? I am interested in creating art that has a lot of visual strength in this regard.”

    Many of the pieces in Distraction will make us think about the indexical nature and so-called “truth-value” of photographs and video. She uses archival images and media to contrast with contemporary and dramatic imagery in order to undercut this “truth-value” that the media often lays claim to in its representation of the use of guns.

    Koltun has a very deep understanding of photographic media, and this relates back to her 30+ years of experience as a curator, academic, and arts administrator in major cultural institutions, like Library and Archives Canada (LAC). After working with and learning about the collection of photography at LAC, Koltun became interested in the variety of media and technologies involved in making photographs—right around the time when studying photography in academia was really lifting off in the 1970s. This is something that she came back to when she recently pursued a BFA at the University of Ottawa. The BFA program challenged her to use her past to create something new and that was inventive. She says:

    “In the end, you can see that when I started doing art, [my past] never left me, it’s clearly an important part of what I do. Although, I do not necessarily take still photographs a lot, which is what my knowledge area was,…I do video a lot more…I discovered that what I wanted to say needed more duration.”

    Koltun’s interest in video as an art medium began in her first semester of the BFA program at the University of Ottawa with Professor Catherine Richards. For example, her early work explored cellphones and a Xerox machine as media. She also developed an interest in performance as a part of her artistic practice while she was in the BFA program.

    Koltun considers her work to be performative and interactive—so be prepared to become a part of her artworks once you step into the Distraction exhibition space. Her work “sets up a scenario to draw [you] in so that [you] question [your] context—where [you] live.” Interactivity is also a way for people to examine their own participation and collusion in the sub-cultures that she is critiquing with her work. She wants us to come in to her work and unexpectedly discover that we have been a part of her work all along:

    “The issues that I want to deal with are life and death. They are about how we live our lives, what our ethics are, what our morals are, and what things we are willing to die for—and these are very heavy issues! And people do not want to deal with them, they don’t want to find themselves thinking about these things, so I want to draw them in at a level where they feel tempted to participate. It’s like a game. It’s only after you have played that you realize you may have colluded in something serious.”

    At some point in the exhibition, you will be invited to examine your own role in the culture that has produced passive reactions to historical and contemporary violence and brutality, and examine how your perceptions are being shaped by the news media. In Distraction, we are presented with “Guns fired; inquests held; juries convened; riot gear donned; rifles slung and cocked — how long has police action generated reaction? The past is prologue everywhere — London, Russia, Monte Carlo, New York State, Chicago, Utah. L. Koltun grabs and skins imagery from today and from a hundred years ago, forces new game plays to expose the bleeding bones of the loyalty and love we have for shooting that shapeshifts to entertain us. She walks us to the edge of seductive horror, where the camera is indulgence, the strong fear the weak, and distraction is injustice.”

    Vernissage: 6 August 2015 at 6pm.

    Show Duration: 6 – 17 August 2015

    (Article by Danuta Sierhuis)

    MONO-HA AND THE INTERRUPTED OBJECT (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 4) -----Text by Lital Khaikin----- (Image...

    MONO-HA AND THE INTERRUPTED OBJECT

    (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 4)

    —–Text by Lital Khaikin—–
    (Image courtesy of the artists)

    [1]

    Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe derive some of the characteristics of between différance, and now from the 20th century Japanese movement, Mono-ha. Roughly translated to “school of things”, Mono-ha is united by work that inhabits the natural state of its material, and equally relates to the spaces that encompass those things.

    The materials used in Mono-ha are contrasted between the artificial and naturally occurring: both forms are often presented with little modification. Concrete, for instance, is an artificially created substance and may use manufactured binding additives, but it is derived from natural rock. In Mono-ha, there would be little, or no, embellishment to the concrete. It would either take a simple geometric form or be allowed to solidify into whichever form it takes after pouring.

    With no embellishment or changing of the nature and behaviour of a material, Mono-ha asserts an inherent truth that exists behind appearances, revealing itself as opposed to the artist having a finite agency. What can materials reveal without being forced into shape? What is the essence of material before it is given use by its form?

    [2]

    Isolated elements of technology may still be involved, such as wires or lights.

    In the work of Lee Ufan, Jiro Takamatsu and Katsuro Yoshida, three defining artists of Mono-ha, we may find such use of simplified technology in their use of lights. Relatum, by Lee Ufan, unites boulders with long, wound black electrical cord and a single lightbulb, as though it were emerging from within the boulder. Cut-off by Katsuro Yoshida consists of a wooden plank similarly wound by a black cord, lighting a single bulb from the concrete ground. Jiro Takamatsu’s Light and Shadow* positions a stainless steel board against a narrow white wall, illuminated from behind by a single lightbulb.

    Each work seems to reduce electricity and artificial light to an absolute essential. Though electricity is a condition of modern life, it is not necessary for it to be complex. Mono-ha explores technology in these parallel works, where it is quietened, you might even say peaceful. This is, perhaps, the root of intangible qualities being examined as material, and may offer some answer to the pursuit of expressing the inherent truth behind a materially perceived world.

    * Light and Shadow (1973), Cut-off (1970) and Relatum (1974) were revisited as part of the 2012 survey exhibition “ Requiem for the Sun: The Art of the Mono-ha”, at Los Angeles’ Blum & Poe gallery.

    [3]

    Relating to the discussion on the simulacra – created through différance / confusion induced by the artificial mimicking the natural, between différance, and now plays with the unexpected relationships of material.

    This may be found in Susumu Koshimizu’s Paper, where a massive boulder of granite is enveloped by paper. The delicate contains the monolithic, the fragile wraps the abrasive, the ephemeral seems to protect the enduring. Nicolas Lapointe alludes to the influence of Mono-ha in Bolstrom’s Rock, where resin subverts the material qualities of concrete. The lightness of plastic replicates the appearance of concrete, but in the end it is conflicting and disorienting.

    [4]

    The object is in this way interrupted, where there is discordance in the natural state of its materials, components, its unpretentious form. between différance, and now provokes doubt in order for us to consider the relationship we have with materials, with objects and their encounters.

    Reducing the material to its essence is a revolt against the materialistic idolatry of objects. To revisit the question of the sacred: the adorned material, the changed substance, the sculpture, is associated with the religious object. Such an object – or changed material – has a specific statement, or obvious purpose. It is untrue to the essential.

    TRANSPARENCY, AND ROWE & SLUTZKY (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 3) -----Text by Lital Khaikin----- (Image...

    TRANSPARENCY, AND ROWE & SLUTZKY

    (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 3)

    —–Text by Lital Khaikin—–
    (Image courtesy of the artists)

    [1]

    In the combined practice of Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe, the material is a method equal to its form. An earlier collaboration between Eyler and Lapointe, CEP I, contrasts the monolithic presence of concrete with Plexiglas. This transparent material unites much of the work in between différance, and now.

    The nature of transparency in structural and architectural forms is written about by architectural theorists and historians Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, in Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal (1982).

    Transparency takes on a literal form (the material, that which we perceive), and the phenomenal form (a conceptual and spatial experience). These two forms of transparency contrast the act of looking versus that of reading. between différance, and now incites us to look, in that moment before the object becomes known by sign.

    [2]

    Rowe and Slutzky refer to transparency as it is expressed in Cubism. An intersection of layers that allow for simultaneity – a single representation depicts multiple instances of time.

    Transparency is made possible in the Minimalist reduction of the visual form, to approach an expression of the essential. between différance, and now takes on simplistic rectilinear forms, stark palettes, and the unadorned character of its industrial materials. This reduction to the essential allows for a fluidity of meanings, identities and signs, achieving that dissociation from associated function. The essence, then, is beyond the tangible, beyond the phenomenal.

    [3]

    In a less figurative way, we can find this transparency applied to between différance, and now in its linguistic challenge: the multiplicity that comes before différance, and the expression of time in this rupture.

    Transparency is the immediate: a linear representation of time distills the multitude into the singular. Anna & Nicolas’ use of “and now” refers to this exact temporal experience. In this way, the sought-after immediacy of encounter may be alluded to through the spatial layering of a material transparency.

    Artist's Statement works from field and stream - 2015 I paint landscapes, specifically my work is about “place”,...

    Artist’s Statement

    works from field and stream - 2015

    I paint landscapes, specifically my work is about “place”, inspired by various locations but abstracted from reality. I paint what I see and what I remember. I am interested in the transcendent power of the land, and seek to convey a subjective yet highly emotional response to nature. I have always been compelled by that distant line that divides the sky from the ground, what one sees depends on the person, it might be spirituality, a fear of the unknown, or the manifestation of a greater power or presence. I paint perhaps wanting to know what lies beyond . The underlining themes in my work deal with mortality and sublimity, distilling fleeting atmospheric conditions on canvas which have the power to move the viewer. I am committed to the medium of oil painting with a specific interest in the sensuous treatment of colour combined with the formal elements of pictorial properties and like the mid-19th century Romantic Landscape painters; J.M.W Turner and Caspar David Friedrich, I’m searching for those same transcendent themes that exemplified their work while trying to bring landscape into a contemporary and universal context.

    http://www.patricestanley.com/

    For more information on Patrice’s work please contact Carrie Colton 613 355 0359 carrie@studiosixtysix.ca

    FORGETTING BEING, AND THE DIVINE (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 2) -----Text by Lital Khaikin----- (Image courtesy...

    FORGETTING BEING, AND THE DIVINE

    (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 2)

    —–Text by Lital Khaikin—–
    (Image courtesy of the artists)

    [1]

    between différance, and now, stated by Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe: “investigates the shared understandings of the sacred that have existed over time and across cultures”.

    The sacred that cannot be explicitly associated with the religious exists before language. Divinity is negated through sign. A non-definition of the sacred allows for the sacred.

    Derrida quotes Heidegger: “The forgetting of Being is the forgetting of difference between Being and beings.”*

    Such a forgetting is a sublime absence of signification and sense of the ‘other’. It is the naivety of a universe of which everything contained is as changing water, indistinguishable. The totality before the binary, light before the distinguishing of colour. It is a forgetting of a suffocating memory to which an object-event is bound is the recovery of an ancient world, before the politics of the object.

    * Jacques Derrida, “Difference”

    [2]

    Absence of declared function is as the first draft of an ideogram with no definition. Formed: the [inspiration] for an iconography, before being bound to the material. The state of suspension between the object and its nature of ‘prior-being’ that is before the assignment of symbol—this is what Derrida refers to as freeplay, or “the occult zone of the nonknowing”*.

    Freeplay: “field of infinite substitutions in the closure of a finite ensemble” ** / buoy is suspended above water, its action indeterminate in what might be a moment before falling. This stasis is certainty suspended, function unassigned, action suggested but not executed. A line of lights illuminates the bottom of the Plexiglas tank. Each light suggests: moment, serialization, progression. An echo of A Barrier Against the Abyss. Water rests in the tank in an eerie stillness.

    * Jacques Derrida, “Difference”

    ** Jacques Derrida, “Writing and Difference”, trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge, pp 278-294

    [3]

    The sacred is found in the moment of the indefined, as it is, in [between différance and now].

    This can be reflected in a concept found in Japanese philosophy, known as Ma. In this, undefined space is recognized as equally important to defining object / event as the material. To encounter the sacred is to recognize the boundary of sign and the limitless space [void] that encompasses: a state between the known and the unknown.

    Note: To be revisited under “Mono-ha and the Interrupted Object”.

    [4]

    Lyotard writes further, “the object of the search is no longer God or truth, but the search itself”.*

    The question of between différance, and now is turned to the act of identifying the divine. Sacredness: is necessarily a distinguishing, therefore différance. Where the sacred is lost, we remain enraptured with false ideals, indebted to an incorrect divinity, adhering to crooked symbol. Language killed the sacred by making God: the religious and the political.

    Why not consider this problem of object-bound politics—where predetermined sign manipulates our relationships with objects, events, and their significance—that is inherent to symbol?

    Can we relate to such a problem on purely visual terms, where the wordless image—the hieroglyphic with no written or spoken form—becomes the interpretive mode of knowledge?

    Can we substitute the role of language, which stands now as the secondary, interpretive element to the “original and lost presence” (Derrida), for the world in its immediate encounter? Is this act not a radical act that disrupts and reclaims the construction of sign, and thus, the significance and relationship to the inhabited world?

    Iconography is acceptance of sign: an ecstatic rapture. Acceptance is to permit the history and author of the sign: this is the political.

    * Jean-François Lyotard, “Libidinal Economy”, 44.

    SIGN AND DIFFÉRANCE (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 1) -----Text by Lital Khaikin----- (Image courtesy of the...

    SIGN AND DIFFÉRANCE

    (A Reading of Between Différance, And Now: 1)

    —–Text by Lital Khaikin—–
    (Image courtesy of the artists)

    [1]

    Strange objects populate the room. The scattered uncanny, upon entry:

    1 : Roche de Bostrom: A cast resin rock is embedded with a generic liquid crystal display. The screen features abstract patterns referencing the processing of information as well as suggesting some form of communication.

    2 : A Sandstorm of a Different Name: A Plexiglas tank filled with water holds a buoy illuminated by a red light from inside the plinth.

    3 : Freeplay: A 3D printed buoy is suspended over a tank of water illuminated by a path of white LEDs.

    4 : Untitled Pink: A resin rock on a plinth, seeming to move of its own agency.

    5 : Fugue in 3 Steps: A fluorescent pink resin casting of driftwood sits atop a Plexiglas tank containing water. The water and driftwood are illuminated from within the wooden plinth that supports the tank.

    6 : Reclining Algorithm: A long slab of concrete with bands of gold leaf rests atop a resin rock. The rock contains a small LED light that blinks as if communicating.

    [2]

    Through the title of the exhibit, Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe reference Derrida’s writing on différance: a [play] on the homonymous closeness of difference / deference (FR). Difference: to distinguish separateness / [Defer]ence: to redirect, otherwise delay.

    In between différance, and now, the artists experiment with objects that lie outside of the function that symbol applies: none of the objects in the exhibit reveal any specific purpose. Their motivations, their very identities, are evasive as they are somewhat outside of the familiar: resin deceives the eye to be rock, further, why would rock be under glass, what rock may move, what is this futile buoy near to the ground, and so on.

    Différance is considered in the exhibit in contrast to the state of being that precedes and exists outside of the signification of language. This object to which we give a sign—that is, identity—is separate from this sign. It is a persistent other. We are witness to an absence of the origin in an infinite evasion. Negation: the object becoming sign is a losing of the essential, of the origin. It becomes, instead, the symbol: be that the word or the image. Derrida writes: “Signs represent the present in its absence; they take the place of the present.*”

    * “Difference”, Derrida.

    [4]

    We see this discourse continued by Jean-Francois Lyotard, whose libidinal economy interprets Derrida’s différance as a mode of political economy. “Postponement of the signifier” (Lyotard*) = temporal nature of representation.

    The temporal element of Derrida’s différance can be interpreted in Eyler’s A Barrier Against the Abyss*. In keeping with Eyler’s current exploration of serialization—linear repetition—a set of 3D-printed yellow buoys reference a set / a system.

    In a single line, we are presented with a multiplicity of instants, of object-encounters, events. Our reading of this series relies on 1) our perception of it: do we see one at a time, or do we see all at once? 2) our secondary interpretation of the series: do we then define a beginning and read each buoy as an independent instant, or do they evade such serialization and retain a self-contained totality, where one cannot be distinguished from another?

    * Jean-François Lyotard, “Libidinal Economy”, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant. London: Continuum (p. 44).

    ** “A Barrier Against the Abyss” (2015) was not featured in between différance, and now, but was part of the same series of work created by Anna J Eyler.

    [5]

    Fugue in 3 Steps: organists will experience a delay between playing the keys and the sound of the notes. Playing a fugue on an organ = delay in hearing / postponement, referred to as latency. The organist playing the fugue experiences the delay of the sign that is given to encounter, or event*. Encounter with [being / structure / object / event] is then a play of many notes that are heard only with delay. The musician must then rely, must recall and contain some innate [knowledge] of a music that comes before sound, as though a perceiving of a music as a whole that does not rely on hearing each note to play the next—that exists before the external.

    And it is in this way that we perceive every event—with the postponement that creates a miniscule state of silence after the internalized encounter with the ideal—so that by the time we are able to read the symbol, the meaning and function that is assigned to this undefined, we have already experienced this delay. All of this has already passed. So, is it not in this same way that we are asked to internalize the signs by which we define the world?

    * Jacques Derrida, “Writing and Difference”, trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge (p. 278).

    [6]

    “and now”: so, we come to the present moment, that which we perceive as the immediate, and contains our encounter with sign. Word, symbol, interpretation—the conscious mind. This too is examined inbetween différance, and now.

    Signification in Reclining Algorithm relates to specific codified images throughout art history. We see symbols that have persisted since our earliest systems of signs. The obelisk fragment takes the posture of a reclining nude—architectural refuse taking on the glorified body, a flesh that is tamed into megalith. The nude painted and sculpted, the dominance of the female body: in concrete and angles and brutal absurdity. We are given little else of form, but are left with the signs applied to colour.

    Such meanings have by now become so deeply engrained, that we ask, can colour exist for us outside of its signification? In the blue of Reclining Algorithm, there are the most persistent traces of ancient architecture; blue that is revealed in the preserved brickworks, ceramics, fabrics, of our archaeological discoveries. In this blue, we see an ancient Egypt, a Mesopotamia, a distant Mayan civilization. In the gold that is painted onto the concrete, we are reminded of the caps of ancient pyramids. In the rhythmic separation of these painted bars, we may read a binary system, a language, a division, and again, a difference.

    [7]

    There is only différance, writes Lyotard, “signification is always deferred, meaning is never present in flesh and blood.”*. In its place, we encounter all of the objects and meanings that are in the signs we apply to these objects: we encounter a legion of signs, we are met with the weight of multiplicity. Our problem is not of a fluidity of this being, where each sign may interchange variably, infinitely, with another. Rather, it is the association of sign that locks the [signified] down into a singular history: we are bound to a music that cannot exist without being heard by the one who plays. But, as with all of between différance, and now, we must become like the organist; we must listen to an internal music and assign meaning with an internally structured rhythm that requires no validation from the external.

    * Jean-François Lyotard, “Libidinal Economy”, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant. London: Continuum (43.)

    ANNA J. EYLER & NICOLAS LAPOINTE BETWEEN DIFFÉRANCE, AND NOW (Images courtesy of the artists) RUN: June 11 – July 5, 2015 ...

    ANNA J. EYLER & NICOLAS LAPOINTE

    BETWEEN DIFFÉRANCE, AND NOW


    (Images courtesy of the artists)
    RUN: June 11 – July 5, 2015

    Opening: June 11, 6pm

    Studio Sixty Six
    66 Muriel St. Unit 202, Ottawa, K1S 4E1
    www.studiosixtysix.ca

    “We are interested in the space that exists between words and matter, between definition and object,” write Eyler and Lapointe. “The reference to “now” highlights the temporal dimension of this exchange, with an emphasis on the present moment in interpretation.”

    between différance, and now examines the precipice between the tangible world of objects and the formation of meaning. Though the perceptible world is interpreted through signs and purpose, it is always in a state of flux. Making reference to the principles of Minimalism and the 20th century Japanese Mono-ha movement, Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe refer to this shifting nature of representation in language and in objects, and the strain to express an absolute, to approach the essential. Naked line and shape acts almost like a drawing upon the space, each structure a sketch for an event.

    Eyler and Lapointe cite American artist Donald Judd (1928-1994) and Japanese sculptor Nabuo Sakine (1942-) as influences on their work. From Judd, we see an allusion to architectural forms and a resulting ambiguity about the work being seen as sculptural. Sakine lends to Eyler and Lapointe a practice of intervening upon objects—interrupting their form with technology, resisting their completion, and assigned meaning. As in the practice of Mono-ha, between différance, and now expresses the teasing balance between naturally occurring substance and human-made material. Water attains an uncanny stillness in containers of Plexiglas, as in Freeplay, the weight of concrete is offset by the lightness of resin, electronic signals seem to communicate from within eternally silent objects.

    The exhibit considers the notion of différance in relation to the sacred, where objects are suggestions of sacred artifacts and the rituals of their experience. The iconographic is reduced to fundamental material and simple shape. At the same time, they are not separate from the everyday, where the material nature of the work reflects a contemporary industrial climate. Roche de Bostrom, for instance, makes use of this object intervention to abstract the potential of information. Blinking LEDs suggest a language coming from within the inanimate object, but the strange alphabet is undecipherable. The runes communicate the great rift of différance—the negative space between the object and the signifier. This encounter of tension is felt in the individual and collective systems by which we create languages for what we strive to know: the tangible, the temporal, and the unattainable. The meditative and experimental aspects of divinity are alluded to through those elements that form an undertone to the everyday experience, those elements that may be obscured by this same iconographic assignment of meaning to object. What remains is an uncertain pursuit, a necessary detachment, and the anxiety of the unanswerable.

    Text by Lital Khaikin.

    PRESENTATION SERIES: RUTH STEINBERG April 23, 2015 Studio Sixty Six recently launched a new initiative in late-April, the...

    PRESENTATION SERIES: RUTH STEINBERG
    April 23, 2015

    Studio Sixty Six recently launched a new initiative in late-April, the Presentation Series! Our first speaker was Ottawa-based photographer, Ruth Steinberg who specializes in portraiture and fine art photography. She spoke to a captivated audience about her most recent project, What the Body Remembers (2014), a series of nudes of women aged 55 years or older.

    This compelling series of photographs engages in notions of memory, age-ism, feminism, and the depiction and idealization of women’s bodies in popular culture. What the Body Remembers confronts the emphasis that fine art has placed on the young, “ideal” beauty of the female body; rather she (re)introduces the older woman’s nude body as a site of beauty, inspiration, vibrancy, passion, wisdom, and strength. Ruth’s talk and body of work inspired viewers to appreciate images of an older woman’s nude body, and to embrace our own bodies as we age for their beauty.

    We asked Ruth to speak a bit more about her work and this powerful series in the following questions.

    Q1: How did you develop the idea behind Where the Body Remembers?

    I developed the idea in response to a young woman’s reaction to a nude I had shown of an older model. The young woman had no reference to images of older bodies, and her reaction indicated to me that our culture denies us these references. And with that the idea to showcase older bodies was born.

    Q2: How do you see your photographs engaging with the history of the nude in fine art and/or photography?

    I don’t really look to answer these questions in my work. I choose topics that have some relevance to me or that pique my interest. Intuitively I know that nudes of older women are few; artists tend to venerate and mythologize young bodies for their image making.

    Q3: What has this series come to mean to you?

    The series allows older women to have a place in our culture and our art. As a 62-year old woman I believe that my life and my opinions still have relevance, and doing this series allows me to share this belief with a greater audience.

    Q4: What kind of issues do you hope to address with What the Body Remembers as the project moves forward? When do you think the series will be finished?

    I hope to look at other aspects of women’s lives, such as our sexuality. The series will be finished when I feel that I have expressed what needs to be said.

    Thank you, Ruth!

    Ruth Steinberg is an Ottawa based photographer specializing in portraitue and fine art photography. She holds a BFA from the University of Manitoba and graduated from the two year Portfolio Program at the School of the Photographic Arts Ottawa (SPAO). She was the Artist in Residence, Short-term Projects at Enriched Bread Artists in Ottawa, ON during the fall of 2014, where she initiated the series What the Body Remembers.

    For more information about her work, see her website: http://www.ruthsteinbergphotographs.com/

    TALKING WITH OTTAWA ARTIST ERYN O’NEILL I RECENTLY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK OTTAWA ARTIST ERYN O'NEILL (PRESENTLY EXHIBITING...

    TALKING WITH OTTAWA ARTIST ERYN O’NEILL

    I RECENTLY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK OTTAWA ARTIST ERYN O'NEILL (PRESENTLY EXHIBITING AT THE OAG) A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT HER ART PRACTICE AS WELL AS HER TAKE ON BEING A FULL TIME ARTIST IN OTTAWA. HERE IS WHAT SHE TOLD ME.

    CC: Tell me a bit about your background and how you decided on art as a career?
    EO: I’d always been interested in art and drawing. After working as a technician at the OSA during high school I enrolled in their portfolio program to ready myself to apply to the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD). After I completed a 4 year BFA I returned to Ottawa. Initially I divided my time between working part-time and developing my painting practice. Quickly I found artistic mentors in Ottawa that I could look to as examples of full time professional artists. At this point I decided to devote myself full time to my painting career. That was 5 years ago.
    CC: Why did you decide to focus on becoming a full time artist?
    EO: I had considered teaching and or art administration, knowing that the road of devoting one’s self to being a full time artist would be a challenging one, but what I know about myself is that I am an extremely focused, determined and driven person; all things required of a professional artist. I’m not afraid of taking risks and failing. I understand that’s all part of growing as an artist.
    CC: Why paint?
    EO: During my time at NSCAD I explored other mediums, but I always knew drawing and painting were my thing, my visual communication tools. I love the freedom I have with drawing materials and paint to manipulate my chosen subject of often harsh materials such as concrete and steel.
    CC: Tell me about your subject matter; urban architecture?
    EO: I’ve always been aware of how I navigate within the city I’m in. I find the different architectural elements that make up a city exciting. Like a person, a city is in a constant process of changing shape, developing, breaking down and being recreated or re-built. It’s a visual perspective I’m very tuned into. I’m endlessly interested in exploring the aesthetic of a city, representing and abstracting simple shapes both man-made and organic in an effort to show its unique aspects.
    CC: How do you see this new body of work being exhibited at the OAG as different compared to your past series?
    EO: In past series I was exploring a wider range of the city where in this work I have narrowed my focus to individual simple elements of our city; pylons, an underpass or an individual crane for instance. Again I’m looking at the temporal nature of aspects of the city’s urban architectural elements but in a more bare bones, abstract fashion, focusing in on simple shapes and textures.
    CC: What type of feedback are you getting on the work?
    EO: People are telling me they enjoy the fresh energy and contrast of the colors and the narrowed down focus in the compositions, others have said that they feel a certain amount of stress and tension viewing the work because it reminds them of traffic and the chaos of a city. I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had while showing the work in this space (OAG), they have been refreshingly intelligent and positive.
    CC: What are your plans to navigate your career next?
    EO:I am primarily focused on being an Ottawa artist. For me that means staying a free agent and being an integral part of the community.  I will continue to show at two main Ottawa art festivals; the Ottawa Art Expo and the The New Art Festival in June. I also show with Orange Gallery (290 City Centre) who are supportive of Artists being involved in other non-commercial ventures. I have a solo show coming up with Orange (Opening October 1st 2015).
    I have participated in the Toronto Outdoor Art Festival (torontooutdoorart.org) and this past February I was accepted to The Artist Project in Toronto (theartistproject.com). I can see myself moving my representation a bit more into that city as well but for the most part I am planning on working and being a supportive cultural partner within Ottawa. 

    Eryn’s solo exhibition “Obdurate I Endurci” at the OAG ART Rental & Sales (http://www.ottawaartgallery.ca/content/art-rental-sales-0) runs until May 30th

    Eryn can also be found though social media and her website: www.eofineart.com Twitter: @eofineart Facebook: Eryn O’Neill

    Eryn can also be found though social media and her website:
    www.eofineart.com
    Twitter: @eofineart
    Facebook: Eryn O’Neill

    CHUO On-Demand / CHUO Sur Demande

    Graphic design exhibition GRAPHIS is on until June at studiosixtysix! Featuring: PASCAL HUOT (LOG Creative Bureau) DANIEL...

    Graphic design exhibition GRAPHIS is on until June at studiosixtysix!


    Featuring:

    PASCAL HUOT (LOG Creative Bureau)

    DANIEL MOISAN (Animal Haus)

    ISAAC VALLENTIN (LOG Creative Bureau)

    BEN VAN DUYVENYK


    Curated by Lital Khaikin.

    XXV: POST-EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS | PART 2 The graduating class of the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program exhibited...

    XXV: POST-EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS | PART 2

    The graduating class of the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program exhibited their work in XXV. What a great opportunity to see the work of twenty-five emerging artists in Ottawa! 

    There were a few installations at the exhibition, including a deceptively abstract video and sculpture work by Miles Rufelds, which nonetheless had sociopolitical undertones. Miles’ videos of objects in human-made or natural environments seemed to inquire into the absurd place that inanimate things sometimes hold in our lives. With little context, and presented as protagonists of their own static scenes, these littering objects are separated from the functional and symbolic roles of consumer society. Miles also had set up a curious contraption that was intended to drill through a stalk of celery over a period of eight hours, the amount of time being equal to a standard shift of work in the schedule of most full-time employees in Canada.

    This set also features two works by Anna J. Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe, who will be exhibiting between différance, and now with us next month. Anna and Nicolas have exhibited together at “Sanctum”, a curated multimedia exhibition by La Petite Mort for Nuit Blanche 2014. In their sculptural installations, the artists bring together their individual inquiries into experiences of the sacred, the use of technology to animate the inanimate, and the qualities of industrial materials such as concrete and plexiglass.

    Once more congratulations to all of the graduates, and great work on the XXV exhibit!

    XXV: POST-EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS | PART 1 The graduating class of the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program...

    XXV: POST-EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS | PART 1

    The graduating class of the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program exhibited their work in XXV. What a great opportunity to see the work of twenty-five emerging artists in Ottawa!

    The last photo in this set is of work by painter and collage artist Laura Demers, who has previously exhibited at Studio Sixty Six. Laura’s painting takes the fragmentation of photographic collage as a departure point, creating richly coloured and surreal allusions to space.

    Congratulations to all of the graduates, and great work on the XXV exhibit!

    please let me know of the next art event in ottawa! :)

    Thank you to everyone who came out to the GRAPHIS vernissage on May 7! Exhibit features Ben van Duyvendyk, Pascal Huot & Isaac...

    Thank you to everyone who came out to the GRAPHIS vernissage on May 7! Exhibit features Ben van Duyvendyk, Pascal Huot & Isaac Vallentin (LOG Creative Bureau), and Daniel Moisan (Animal Haus).  

    Exhibit runs from May 7 - June 7.

    Images by LOG Creative Bureau.

    Letter from Gallery Director

    Sight 66 is a new project from Studio Sixty Six. Though it comes from the gallery, we want it to reflect something about the broader community in Ottawa. Thanks to broadening connections between the artistic communities in the city, we’re beginning to see more diversity in the artists and work being represented. So, this blog is a way to connect between what’s happening here in our gallery, with local artists, and the city at large.

    LETTER FROM CARRIE COLTON, GALLERY DIRECTOR:

    Hey Ottawa, it has been 18 months since we opened the doors, and walls, of Studio Sixty Six - and what an exciting and fulfilling 18 months it has been!

    A little history: As a founding partner at Exposure Gallery in 2009 along with Sheila Whyte of Thyme and Again, a space dedicated to contemporary art photography that I designed, and curated for the first 2 years of operation - we ‎worked hard to contribute to Wellington West as a shining light in the Ottawa art landscape. Working with the other great galleries and studios in the area, and the local BIA, we initiated the Wellington West Art Walk - a monthly event also known as “1st Thursdays"‎ that is still alive and well today.

    In short, I had tasted the excitement and satisfaction of contributing to the burgeoning Ottawa art and gallery scene, and wanted more. After a couple of years I truly missed the fun and satisfaction of engaging with artists and helping Ottawans see, experience and buy some of the amazing work that is being created here. When a larger space came available adjacent to my design studio at 66 Muriel St. in the Glebe I knew right away that I wanted to develop it into a new and unique Ottawa exhibition space, and Studio Sixty Six was born!

    ‎The decision to focus exclusively on emerging artists has delivered all that we had hoped, and more. It is truly rewarding to provide a showcase for Ottawa’s newest and brightest creators, and to experiment with work that is not shown anywhere else in our city. Most recently, we have been fortunate to secure talented emerging curator and writer Lital Khaikin to assist in curating shows, managing the space, and develop the gallery programs.

    In 2014, we featured a series of group shows, tied together by specific mediums - New Painters, New Photographers, and New Printmakers to name a few. This year, we have decided to shift focus to solo exhibitions in order to provide a more complete "first show” experience for the artist and gallery customers alike - shining a light on the artist and their materials, processes, concepts and inspirations. The one exception is the upcoming show Graphis - a group exhibition focused on the amazing graphic design of some of Ottawa’s newly minted design pros. As a designer myself this is a show near and dear to my heart.

    I would like to thank you all for your interest in, and support of Studio Sixty Six and our growing roster of talented artists. You are directly contributing to help the Ottawa cultural landscape grow and evolve - and to making our great city an even better place to call home.
     
    Carrie Colton | Gallery Director

    Jessica Eritou of Fulcrum (University of Ottawa), features Sabrina Chamberland in an interview: “Chamberland’s first solo...

    Jessica Eritou of Fulcrum (University of Ottawa), features Sabrina Chamberland in an interview:

    “Chamberland’s first solo exhibition, Corporeal, on display at Studio Sixty Six in the Glebe until mid-April, is a good indicator that she found her calling. The 12-piece collection revolves around how in mainstream media, the female body tends to be fragmented and airbrushed, made to look like something that isn’t real.“


    http://thefulcrum.ca/arts/artists-muse-is-skin-deep/

    Peter Simpson of the Ottawa Citizen features Sabrina Chamberland’s exhibition, “Corporeal” in Big Beat....

    Peter Simpson of the Ottawa Citizen features Sabrina Chamberland’s exhibition, “Corporeal” in Big Beat.

    http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-arts/discomfiting-photographs-of-the-human-body