Monday, September 10, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007: An opening and a closing

Friday, September 7 marked the closing reception for Tim Rechner and fellow Red Deer artist Craig Talbot's "Morning Light," which actually was the first time many would see the finished product of their collaboration together. As an ongoing art project/exhibition, Talbot and Rechner slowly filled the ProjEx room at Latitude 53 with their bits and pieces of drawings that at times resemble children scrawls, and at times were actually Talbot's childrens' scrawls.
Stepping inside the ProjEx room, visual focus couldn't be directed onto one particular thing. The works, both independently created but in collaboration with the space, carried a progression that was far too dense to absorb all at once--and on the night of its closing reception, there was simply too little time and too much distraction to take in something that was soon near its end.
Slightly poor in attendance where one observer noted it resembed "an underground party where no one went to," the experimental sounds by Chris Zaytsoff and ongoing video projections maintained an elusive happening atmosphere where nothing happend at all.



Works by Andrew French, Terry Fenton, Mitchel Smith, Hendrik Bres, and Peter Hide. Image credit: Ryan McCourt, 2007


A few blocks away, the Edmonton Contemporary Arts Society had their opening reception for their 15th annual show at the Peter Robertson Gallery. Jam packed with arts and arts professionals, with the live jazz band blearing, the room was so crowded that you couldn't even see the giant steel sculpture in the middle of the floor until you almost tripped over it. Similarily, most of the art on view was obstructed from view; but from what was seen squeezed inbetween bodies, nothing comes to mind as outstanding. With a mixture of large-scale colour abstractions to landscapes and even photography, a theme besides visual art from contemporary edmonton-affiliated artists may have helped root the show for viewers and to present any mandate that ECAS currently has.

Returning to Latitude 53, many of the same faces seen in both galleries continued to pass both doors either on their way or just coming from the other show. Gripes from both ends, that Robertson's was "too loud, too hot" and Latitude was "dead" leads to a couple of thoughts: that a) art functions have gained social ranking on a Friday evening? b) nobody seems to want to talk about the art.

10 comments:

MC said...

"With a mixture of large-scale colour abstractions to landscapes and even photography, a theme besides visual art from contemporary edmonton-affiliated artists may have helped root the show for viewers and to present any mandate that ECAS currently has."

So, the Edmonton Contemporary Artists Society (whose only 'mandate' is to put on a yearly exhibition of contemporary art) should have a theme OTHER than contemporary art? That's retarded.

Everybody I talked to at the ECAS show (before, and AFTER the opening) wanted to talk about the art, Amy. The question is, why don't you?

MC said...

Click here for Some unobstructed views...

(feel free to take these images for your own post, Amy).

amy said...

well clearly we didn't cross paths that night as everybody I talked to at the show had nothing to say about the art. or correction, nobody had anything constructive to say, which for some, is not worth jotting down or repeating.

and contemporary art isn't a theme, it's a time frame.

if I find the time, I would like to go back and see the work.
thanks for the link to the images.

MC said...

Yes, I saw you there, briefly. Indeed, you must have been talking to the wrong people... surely you must have spoken with SOME of the artists in the show, who would have at the very least spoken about their own work...

What was it again about the show that makes you feel it needed a theme to improve? DOn't you think it's better to see what the artists themselves are interested in, as individuals, with their own 'themes'?

Should all of the artists discarded their own trains of thought, and made something NANO, or some ass-headed thing like that?

MC said...

Oh, and you're welcome to the image... cheers for the photo credit... makes me feel like a published professional...

Tam said...

"art functions have gained social ranking on a Friday evening"

Whoo hooo! Sounds good to me. Speaks to that whole art imitates life thing.

MC said...

The ECAS openings are consistently the best-attended show receptions in town, year after year. Since this year's venue was the smallest in years, it made for a super-crowded event. But art-viewers know: going to an opening, and seeing an exhibition, are two entirely different things... That's why shows usually run for more than an evening, don't ya know...

ECAS 15: LAST CHANCE TODAY!!!

Amy Fung said...

yes, openings and viewings are entirely seperate activities, but those day jobs and gallery hours sure coincide.

I felt a theme would have provided some grounding for the general public to access the work. Most people walking in cold wouldn't automatically know that ECAS is mostly modernism-based work. also, with the introduction of landscapes and still life, was the selection of work purely based on membership of the society then? a members show like for Harcourt needs little explanation, but for a floating society like ECAS, a bit of history or mandate or stated theme would probably reach a greater audience each new (but one could argue that the room was crowded enough)

Anonymous said...

An opening is rarely a good time to look at art; too many bodies. It can however give you a good idea of whether or not to go back to look when the crowd is gone.

This show was a strange mix. While it's an admirable idea to attempt to pull a group together with the intent of showing work of the highest quality, good intentions don't guarantee good art or a good show. For example, one is left wondering what Robert Christie and Sasha Silverstein have in common.

Christie's painting commands attention more quietly than many others in the show, but it's the most charged painting in the gallery. Contrast that kind of masterful dynamism with the awkwardness of Silverstein's piece. Whatever connects this group is not obvious.

Perhaps the extremes of hot and cold in this show are to be expected in any show that relies on the self-editing of thirty or more artists. Perhaps one shouldn't be too hard on a show that offers at least one painting as good as Robert Christie's. Still, I can't help but wish there were a few more knockouts.

MC said...

Critical, but fair. Well said, anony...