Sunday, June 17, 2007
Candy Mountain, Latitude 53, June 14 - July 14, 2007
Photograph by: Marcus Miller, 2007
Plucking inspiration from Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock's folk ballad "Big Rock Candy Mountain," a song often described as an utopian vision for hobos from the '20s, Mindy Yan Miller and Montreal-based artists Katherine Bodmer and Susie Major have come together collectively in each of their own discplines to render the age old idea of "turning nothing into something." Although the song tends to focus more on the phantasmagoric illusions of the hobo lifestyle (cigarette trees, gin lakes, dogs with rubber teeth, jail bars made out of tin, etc.) the Candy Mountain exhibition peers into the everyday banality around us and infuses a light, wonderous glow.
Yan Miller's installation sculpture using emptied coca cola cans, her medium of choice, predominantly took up the majority of the interactive space. Created on site, the final touch occured on opening night as guests were invited to open, pour, and add cans of cola onto the sculpture and actively take part in the root of this project: the jubilant, the cathartic; the gross act of excess. Combined with mountains of candy during opening night, the urge to crush the pile of sculpted cans, the child-like impulse to destroy, was severly palpable.
Image: Susie Major, 2007
Major's series of drawings on grid paper reminds us of the physical process of procrastination, but also of the sheer intensive labour behind any act of exploration. Following the shades and forms from square to square, a navigation emerges and to look for a destination is to miss the point.
Bodmer names each of her photographs after real mountains, imposing a literary frame of entries from several mountain explortaions onto photographs of parking lot snow mountains, those mounds of excess snow piles often spotted during the winter months of urban ennui. Relating the crevices and shadows, and reminding us of existing mountains that she fondly remembers, the question that emerges is: what makes one exploration a more legitimate experience than another? The entries from trips up Mer de Glace or the Matterhorn (in which she subverisely includes the height of each mountain with each title) are utopic, awe-filled descriptions of how one must face the glory of the mountain. Peversely, in these urban shots, grey skies stretching behind dirty grit filled mounds against graffiti walls and chain link fences, Bodmer sustains that same awe of respect and intrigue.
Image: Katherine Bodmer, 2007
The show as a whole presented three very different artists with very different ideas, held together loosely; but respectively as individuals, each artist inevitably complimented the others in methods beyond themes and methods, pushing each other's works forward through like-minded perspectives of the world and like-minded perspectives of their roles as artists in this world.
Artists: Katherine Bodmer, Susie Major, Mindy Yan Miller