Friday, April 25, 2008

Double Take, Group show, Fringe Gallery, April 2008

There were many double takes as I walked down into the Fringe Gallery through their instore entrance. More a bunker than ever before, I naturally assumed the wood paneled wall cabinet facing viewers upon entry was a Beth Pederson work. More lifelike than her previous works, what disappoint to discover it was a real cabinet and the first wall object confronting viewers.
First along the walls were older works by Jana Hargarten, pieces that continually reminisce over the every day, but that every day has had their day in many exhibitions already. “Alberta Birds” remains fascinating since the last time I saw it a year ago, and although not her formal best, it persists as one of her most sentimental works whether wittingly so or not.
The next cluster were Neil McClelland paintings, shining nostalgia down onto treasure-like objects. Like the beginning of a bad joke, a monkey in a jail suit holds a paperclip in its mouth in one piece while a plastic pirate hovers next to a Pink Panther pez clamped in a stapler. But beyond that feckless description, the paintings are quite impressive in their intimate compositions and conveyed sense of intrigue. Against dark backgrounds and reflective foregrounds, the objects are heightened and reinforced as precious commodities, and there is a touch of softness as surrounding paint streaks faintly against the mylar.
Almost missing the real Beth Pedersons, a series of 2 and 3D realistic pop objects that blend into the background of any room, that could possibly construct the setting of any room, this idea needs to start filling entire rooms while using all six sides--and showing as a solo artist.
While I was a little surprised to read that the underlying theme of the show focused on the everyday, as all three artists are doing quite different things thematically with the everyday, it was an interesting survey of their respective nuances, and it would have been interesting to hear all three of them talk about their work together.

Artists: Jana Hargarten, Beth Pederson, Neil McClelland

4 comments:

ADAM WALDRON-BLAIN said...

Did you see pederson's show at harcourt a few months ago?

af said...

yes I did. it was the most appropriate yet of her showings, though the carpet took you out of setting and I wished for a sound element. the dark and sorta dingy fringe basement suits her fascination with pipes and things way more. still not sure if she's more interested in painting or in installation.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it strike you as ironic that you couldn't tell what was the art and what wasn't? I recall you writing of another experience in the Art gallery of Alberta when your experience with an installation turned out to be the result of some kid breaking down more barriers than many of the show they've had. Somewhere an entire chorus of kids watching this parade has got to be screaming "But he's got no clothes on!'

Merriam-Webster said...

FACETIOUS

Main Entry:
fa·ce·tious Listen to the pronunciation of facetious
Pronunciation:
\fə-ˈsē-shəs\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle French facetieux, from facetie jest, from Latin facetia
Date:
1599

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish (just being facetious) 2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious (a facetious remark)
synonyms see witty
— fa·ce·tious·ly adverb
— fa·ce·tious·ness noun