Lithium-Induced Haze

Lithium-Induced Haze

I laid on the bed, tears calmly streaming down my cheek while my mother held my head in her lap. The doctors had called her in late that night to stay with me since I was exhibiting suicidal tendencies.

Did they stop to think about the copious amounts of drugs they had prescribed me?

She had tears in her eyes too and I wanted to wipe them away but instead laid there saying calmly “I’m just going to smash my head against the toilet over and over again until it’s…over.”

She soothed me, ran her fingers through my hair, “Britt, you will get through this.”

“No, I won’t. It’s too late, what’s done is done…I am done. Just take me to Dad, I want to be in heaven with Dad.”

She continued to stroke my hair and then I awoke the next morning…

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CUAG opening three new exhibitions in January

Carol Sawyer’s solo exhibition The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, curated by Heather Anderson, is one of three new exhibitions opening at the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) Jan. 18, along with Mathew Reichertz’s Garbage, and the group exhibition Continuum: Abstraction in Contemporary Indigenous Art.

The upcoming exhibitions curated by Heather Anderson, Robin Metcalfe, and Wahsontiio Cross feature works from artists Robert Houle, Rita Letendre, Helen Wassegijig, Lance Belanger, and Alex Janvier.

The Natalie Brettschneider Archive narrates the life of a fictional artist and performer named Natalie Brettschneider, which Sawyer has staged since 1998.

“I am intrigued by Carol Sawyer’s ongoing, self-reflective project of ‘uncovering’ Natalie Brettschneider’s life and performance work,” Anderson said. “She also includes historical documents that she has uncovered in the process of her research into the exhibition, weaving a narrative, tinged with a good deal of humour, that both illuminates aspects of Brettschneider’s life, and underscores the obscured  histories of many women artists.”

Reichertz’s Garbage, curated by Metcalfe, has a different style that calls to mind a giant comic book. Giant images on panels of up to 17 feet in height give the viewer the impression of walking right into the narrative.

Garbage is described on its website as a piece that “expands the narrative aspect that has characterized Reichertz’s work into a new, psychologically-charged realm that overlaps with popular printed matter.”

Continuum: Abstraction in Contemporary Indigenous Art, curated by Cross, showcases works by artists Robert Houle, Helen Wassegijig, and more who challenge the “so-called primitive” origins of abstraction.

Garbage will remain open until Apr. 3 and the other two exhibitions will remain at the CUAG until Apr. 19. Admission is free.

To see this article in its original context: http://www.charlatan.ca/2016/01/cuag-opening-three-new-exhibitions-in-january/

Series Exhibition at the Atomic Rooster

Photo by Kyle Fazackerley.
Photo by Kyle Fazackerley.

Atomic Rooster opened Sheena Kalmakova’s Series Exhibition May 4. Paintings from all four of Kalmakova’s series were displayed including Moon Series, Sun Series, October Series and The Crows Series.

Atomic Rooster is a small intimate space where people come together to eat, drink a fresh pint, and enjoy some art.

Kalmakova’s art gives the bistro a romantic, almost dream-like ambiance. Her series wraps around the restaurant and progresses through stages of subject matter and colour as the warm glowing backdrops of Sun Series progress into the more dark renderings of October Series.

“The scenes and subject matter I choose to paint are those that I need or want to spend time with, or those that have greatly affected me. My pieces are impressions of things I have seen, or they are my best physical depiction of a feeling that I have experienced,” Kalmakova said. “Painting is my entry point and method for processing, reflecting, understanding and dealing with my experiences.”

Kalmakova’s paintings are in various styles. She said she likes to experiment with different mediums and approaches in her work.

“Although the subject matter may be the same, the individual pieces within the series may vary,” she said. “I can understand how this deviation could be frustrating to an audience, much like when your favourite band puts out an album that explores a whole different sound than the one you’ve grown attached to.”

Kalmakova said she prefers to experiment rather than have her art become stagnant.

“I feel that experimentation and discovery are essential to the creative process to keep the work genuine, and avoids painting oneself into a ‘do-it-because-it sells’ kind of a corner,” she said.

Kalmakova strongly advocates showing artwork in a bar setting like Atomic Rooster because it is an accessible space.

“The Rooster is one of those fabulous venues that help support our local artist community,” she said.

Atomic Rooster also provides an outlet for local artists to create and express themselves in a laid back setting. Artists can gather once a month to draw live models. Elli Merkis, a server at Atomic Rooster, models regularly.

“They’re all different themes, the first one was Steampunk, the second one was rockabilly and this one ComicCon, next month apparently it’s supposed to be a glamorous, classic movie star red carpet,” she said.

All the events and concerts at Atomic Rooster, such as May’s “Ode to Comiccon” live-modelling event, are free. Dana Burton said she has been coming to the Atomic Rooster since she moved to Ottawa four years ago.

“I find the Atomic Rooster inviting and encouraging for local artists to produce work by giving them that option to potentially hang their art,” she said. “I find Sheena’s work especially interesting. It has this serene, beautiful, and almost dark quality to it that is striking.”

Kalmakova’s Series Exhibition will continue to hang on the walls of Atomic Rooster until June 8.

– See more at: http://www.charlatan.ca/2014/05/dreamy-art-takes-over-the-walls-of-atomic-rooster/#sthash.o4QWVgan.dpuf

Cedar Tavern Singers talk ‘art snob solutions’

The Cedar Tavern Singers discussed their work and exhibition, Art Snob Solutions, Phase III: At the Hundredth Meridian, with Christopher Rohde at the Carleton University Art Gallery Oct. 16.

The exhibition, curated by Sandra Dyck, featured the works of performance artist duo Daniel Wong and Mary-Anne McTrowe who formed The Cedar Tavern Singers during a conceptual art residency at the Banff Centre in 2006. Christopher Rohde, programmer at SAW Gallery, led the discussion with a Q&A.

“One of the things that interests me so much about the show is that it doesn’t really have a single, traditional exhibition element,”  Rodhe said.

“We like the idea of using these folk forms as a counter-balance for content which is sort of like art theory, art history, which gives an entrance way for the viewer,” Wong said. “All of a sudden they have this line of theory stuck in their head.”

The Cedar Tavern Singers were commissioned to create a limited-edition EP and music video featuring key artistic moments and works from Carleton and Ottawa’s past.

The duo is known for their ability to provide an informative art history lesson in the form of a catchy song.

“You got a music video, a CD, uniforms, the activity book and then the fragrance and also the drawing contest. All of those elements are not exactly what you would expect from a conventional gallery exhibition,” Rodhe said.

The duo held a drawing contest as part of the exhibition where gallery-goers could draw their favourite piece of Canadian Art and then have it displayed.

“We want them to learn about art and so for this show in particular it was about Carleton University Art Gallery and . . . Canadian art,” McTrowe said.

The Cedar Tavern Singers discussed their work and exhibition, Art Snob Solutions, Phase III: At the Hundredth Meridian, with Christopher Rohde at the Carleton University Art Gallery Oct. 16.

The exhibition, curated by Sandra Dyck, featured the works of performance artist duo Daniel Wong and Mary-Anne McTrowe who formed The Cedar Tavern Singers during a conceptual art residency at the Banff Centre in 2006.

Christopher Rohde, programmer at SAW Gallery, led the discussion with a Q&A.

“One of the things that interests me so much about the show is that it doesn’t really have a single, traditional exhibition element,”  Rodhe said.

“We like the idea of using these folk forms as a counter-balance for content which is sort of like art theory, art history, which gives an entrance way for the viewer,” Wong said. “All of a sudden they have this line of theory stuck in their head.”

The Cedar Tavern Singers were commissioned to create a limited-edition EP and music video featuring key artistic moments and works from Carleton and Ottawa’s past.

The duo is known for their ability to provide an informative art history lesson in the form of a catchy song.

“You got a music video, a CD, uniforms, the activity book and then the fragrance and also the drawing contest. All of those elements are not exactly what you would expect from a conventional gallery exhibition,” Rodhe said.

The duo held a drawing contest as part of the exhibition where gallery-goers could draw their favourite piece of Canadian Art and then have it displayed.

“We want them to learn about art and so for this show in particular it was about Carleton University Art Gallery and . . . Canadian art,”

 

– See more at: http://www.charlatan.ca/2012/10/cedar-tavern-singers-talk-art-snob-solutions/#sthash.QZk29XQp.dpuf

History, identity explored at Gallery 101 double exhibition

Gallery 101 hosted its first fall double opening, Real Job Interviews paraphernalia- re-enacting fiction and oskinikiskwēwak (Young Women) on Sept. 7.

Real Job Interviews explores Montreal-based artist Julie Lequin’s narrative process.  Within the gallery space rests five of Lequin’s hand-crafted characters, on mannequin stands, which she intends on using in later videos.

Also featured is Saskatchewan-born Joi Arcand’s exhibition oskinikiskwēwak (Young Women), which displays mock advertisements along Bank Street. Playing with aboriginal stereotypes, she uses sarcastic phrases like “these feathers are digital” to poke fun at the absurdity of old advertisements.

“I really wanted to make a splash in fall and so celebrating both at the same time was a really good way to do it,” new director and curator, Laura Margita said.

“The fact that they were both women artists, and both doing work about identity pulled it together for me,” she said.

Lequin said the current exhibition is based on personal experiences.

“This new project that I am working on is based on job interviews, inspired by my own job interviews, job interviews I went to, to have a job, and job interviews I gave to other people,” she said.

Lequin described a video in her exhibit in which she plays two roles.  One as the interviewee, and one as the interviewer. The interviewer is characterized by a strict principal of a Quebec General Vocational College, also known by the acronym “CEGEP.”

The exhibition emphasizes this pre-video process with look-books that show the characters de-constructed into random yet corresponding images. “Eeyore” from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh appears as a symbol of depression and character trait of the principal.

Margita said the two exhibitions have are related by process.

“Both of them are process-based and both of them are identity-based. They’re both creating alternative histories or stories built out of their histories,” Margita said.

Arcand’s work is explicitly identity-specific as it explores her identity as a Cree and German-Canadian.

She re-created posters based on 1920 calendar pin-up girls. “They depict really stereotypical native women in scantily-clad outfits and just really project that fantasy world of the Indian princess as a vulnerable character to be sexualized,” Arcand said.

Margita said the initial use of these images was an old advertisement scheme in the 1920s.

“Those pin-up girls were in calendars that were marketed in the United States to bring hunters to the Canadian wilderness,” she said.

Margita said that they were “pin-up girls” and “sirens,” used to lure “great white hunters from the south.”

Arcand had family and friends pose as the original figures in a contemporary fashion to “take back the image.”

“In the original posters, the models that were used were white women so I’m in turn putting back a real native woman into the background that was created in the original illustration,” Arcand explained.

“Native women are still alive and strong. We’re human beings that deserve respect and we can laugh, can have fun, and poke fun at these images at the same time,” Arcand said. Margita, referencing both artists, said

“both of them share a strength that all artists would like to do — to be able to talk about their realities in a way that is engaging and beautiful and meaningful.”

– See more at: http://www.charlatan.ca/2012/09/history-identity-explored-at-gallery-101-double-exhibition/#sthash.I1FwGldd.dpuf