Sunday, April 6, 2008

Projections, Art Gallery of Alberta, April 5 - June 8, 2008

A remount of a previous reincarnation with a few minor edits and the addition of Alberta based David Hoffos, Projections traces the rich evolution of Canadian projection-based art.

Though without clarifying how the exhibit is at once showcasing only Canadian artists without necessarily pushing a nationalist agenda, curator Barbara Fischer excels at tracing a lineage of Canada-based projected works that most interestingly addresses the screen as much as the light projected onto it. In this way, the work and exhibit as a whole reconciles with its traditional visual art counterpart that seemingly distinguishes video/projection art as more cinematic than visual art. Emphasizing the screen and its transcanvasdental quality of audience engagement, Projections securely captures the sublime experience of time based art work.

From its carefully constructed install to the progression of process, the exhibit perpetually dazzles and startles with one example after another. Highlights include walking into the emptiness of Genevieve Cadieux's projection, that is an elegiac work separating and respecting erotica with a moment of tenderness, while commenting on the basic principle of voyeurism. Another is the eerie reconstruction of moment by Hoffos, who is and creates the living uncanny.

"Two Sides to Every Story" Michael Snow, 1974. Images provided through the Art Gallery of Alberta and Courtesy of the Artist.

From the seminal and formally preoccupied works of Michael Snow and Stan Douglas, whose latter piece was debated during the panel discussion as to whether it needed the repetitious chug of the live projector (it is being shown without), time based art needs to distinguish itself further from the cinema, which in its own circles perpetually contests its own death. The experimental works of the New American Cinema from Maya Deren to Harry Smith have definite connections to Snow and Douglas, but that connection grows less obvious as projected art grows into its own medium. The formal preoccupation with the form of projection and its variables is hinged on the power of light, which in bare physics, boils down to being the strongest force existing in the universe. In cinema, the audience is still considered passive as a subjected viewer, but with time based art, there is a greater acknowledgment of bodily mobility and presence and its overall effect on the work as experience.

Curated by Barbara Fischer and organized and circulated by the Justina M. Barnickle Gallery


Anonymous said...

it would have been nice to hear your thoughts on Espezel's work as well.

af said...

patience, that's coming next week.