Sunday, September 28, 2008

Edmonton Print International Preview, September 26 - October 17, Various locations*

More than 80 artists from close to 30 countries will have work in the first-ever Edmonton Print International September 26 to October 17 in the city’s Capital Art Gallery and at satellite locations such as SNAP Gallery and the University of Alberta. Selected through a combined curatorial process and open juried competition — the jury included Tetsuya Noda from Japan, Belgium’s Maurice Pasternak, and Canadian print artist Davida Kidd, more than 1,200 works were submitted.

The point is to present both the art and the technique behind printmaking. Artist Walter Jule, general secretary for the EPI, says that traditional printmaking will be shown alongside contemporary digital techniques, and print-based sculptures, installations, and video projections, book plate miniatures, digital murals, and fabric.

Born from the remnants of 2002’s TrueNorth Biennial, EPI 2008 has been growing in momentum, in large part because of Jule. Edmonton, and particularly alumni and faculty of the Fine Arts program at the University of Alberta, have done particularly well in international competitions and awards during the past 30 years. The city’s print community has participated in international exchanges for decades, but this show will bring together the breadth of contemporary international printmaking into one setting. The EPI jury will award $30,000 in prizes during the show.

There are at least 50 print biennials around the world, most of them in Europe, and EPI hopes to fill a gap in North America. “I compare the development of printmaking to weather patterns,” says Jule. “A new movement starts in one place and it flows around the world, partly because of these kinds of shows.”

*First published in Galleries West, Vol. 7, Issue 3, Fall/Winter 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cockfight: Gloves on, Pants Down, The ARTery, September 19 - October 23*

As either the third in a series of ongoing curatorial experiments by Andrea E Lefebvre (with the addition of Amelia Aspen) or viewed entirely as its own formation separate from the two previous Catfight group shows, Cockfight has raised the bar for local exhibitions.

Image credit: "ohdear" S.C. Max and William Eastly, 2008

Considering each of the exhibiting artists are in many ways trying to one-up each other, the level of standards kicked itself up a notch culminating in several rounds of live goodhearted boxing matches on opening night. Playing up the cock-etterie of masculinity with plays on individualism, sexuality and the tongue-in-cheek trials and tribulations of being a young, cute, hipster boy, Cockfight does round up a solid cast of artists that deal directly with their contemporary existence in Edmonton.

Introducing new media works to their repertoire include Sean Borchert (who, although he may have been the baby face of the group, nailed all of his boxing opponents’ balls to the wall) and Luke Gallivan-Smith, who finally unmasks his mischievous actions in a state of self vs everything else. While Gallivan-Smith presents documentation incorporating his alterations within the city, Borchert provides a multimedia sound and sight experience that caters to a more private viewing experience amidst all of the conscious posturing. The range of sensitivities and grandstanding certainly exudes testosterone that often releases as confidence, but there is no clear reigning cock of the walk within the exhibition. As with the old-timey boxing matches and matching handlebar mustaches, the atmosphere of the show and the works opens up the theme with humour and showmanship—the one major criticism of Catfight was the heavy attention of female-to-female violence that only reiterated instead of challenged the loaded theme.

Other notables include the photographic series between SC Max and William Eastly, adorning most of the back space with esteemed portraits of Max and her gigantic cock in various environments. Other mentionables include not just which cock is behind which work, as women artists are also included in comparable ratio to men participating in Catfight, but it’s notable to see who’s also been included in the exhibition, as local faces from the arts community are also subject matters in many of the works. A camarderie and mythology of local artists working with and for each other is clearly unfolding, and it’s not so much a fight as it is a welcomed challenge to artists and viewers alike. V

The ARTery (9535 Jasper Ave)

*First published in Vue Weekly, September 25 - October 1, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christophe Jivraj, THE SWIMMERS, September 12 – October 11, Harcourt House, REVIEWED BY: Mandy Espezel

There is no easy way to think of, or discuss an exhibition like The Swimmers. The subject matter, that which address’s the complicated and often under-represented individuals whose lives are connected with physical disabilities and limitations, can be hard to view objectively. I can actually almost hear the unspoken immediate negative reactions to a work that uses such subject matter as its central focus: you have no right to discuss or presuppose your own understanding of the lives of these people. How dare you even attempt it! But I am also of the opinion that this work, which tries simply to be a source of investigation into not only the similarities of action between people of physical obstacle and those who are oblivious to that reality, but to relate a message of sameness in that awkwardness. In Jivraj’s explanation for this work, he mentions how we are all uncomfortable and ungraceful in the water. That swimming can be seen as a unifying activity where physical ability is of little import, and where we all look slightly ridiculous decked out in spandex. But I am not of the opinion that this really was the effect portrayed through viewing the work.

Image credit: Christophe Jivraj, 2008

Formally speaking, it is a very seductive piece. Multiple horizontal bodies moving repetitively through the water, with legs and torso’s drifting in and out of frame. How could we not be captivated by such a sight? But when the contrast between those who are physically able, and the swimmers who display the difficulties of controlled movement becomes apparent, the work shifts in its effect. Perhaps it is my own weak susceptibility to the sight of physical pain or struggle, or a general lack of exposure to the circumstances presented, but I did not perceive that sense of sameness or equalizing element that was to be the driving artistic impression. The verticality of the swimmers with physical disabilities were in direct and violent contrast to the methodical horizontal movement of the background individuals. Their movements harsher,less controlled, with feet pained and tense. I was under no impression of ‘universality’ while viewing this, rather, I felt quite frustrated. There was this sense of infuriation that those swimming calmly in the background found the motion so easy, that they could execute such actions without great struggle. To myself then, this video served to examine the actual visual difference of motion between people with easily controlled physical movement and people with severely constricted ranges of movement. I felt a contradiction between wanting to be of assistance to those who struggled, and the suspicion that no assistance was possible. And that perhaps I really would be of no use either way.

Even though the impression I personally have developed from this work was not in sync with the proposed ideas stated by the artist, I still consider it quite relevant and brave in its lack of tentativeness. In a time when we can almost predict our own reactions to exhibitions we have heard only summaries about, it is not unappreciated to be struck so strongly by a work with such humble execution. The Swimmers is a video of people swimming,projected on a suspended panel, hanging in the centre of a darkened room. I saw this show on September 13th, and have not known what to write about it for over a week because I did not really know what I thought of it; or what I was supposed to think of it. I still don’t really. It is an uncomfortable and unapologetic work, and I am glad to of seen it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prairie Artsters - Going Public*

During the most recent installment of Pecha Kucha Edmonton, Kristy Trinier, Edmonton Art Council’s Director of Public Art, presented her quick and dirty version of public art from around the world. From inverted pyramids in Munster, Germany, to sidewalks outside of churches in Philadelphia, the works ranged not only in geography and scope, but in their ability to engage in site specific interventions with the space and lives around them.

The presence of Edmonton-based public art was not surprisingly missing, but a query into an Edmonton aesthetic was proposed by way of simply looking around and critically accepting what currently surrounds us.

Image uncredited

A general survey of Edmonton public art in 2008 could not exist without the list of works coordinated through Art and Design and Public Places. For close to a decade, ADPP has bridged the business and artistic communities by pairing up public art commissions with locally prominent artists and architects that now pepper our city’s public spaces such as major intersections, Churchill Square, and parks. But looking at the works individually and in relative proximity to the structures around them, artist Krystztof Wodiszko’s sentiment comes to mind: in elite, alienating public art, the “noble idea of public access is likely to be received as private excess.” A great majority of the works, most notably pieces from Churchill Square and the big bat, come to mind as the forefront of this discussion in their sponsor-centric displacement of ignoring the locale and the locals. As with any form of obtrusive public visuals, these works are detrimental to their supposed cause of beautification as they are visually polluting our cityscape on the same degree as billboards. Public art should not be selling you on a company or on art itself; place and art must inform each other to make each respectively more meaningful to those who view it and live amongst it.

Which brings us back to the question of place, specifically Edmonton as place—a flat sprawl with an extended river valley—and its slippery grasp of a visual identity. Architecturally, we’re glass and concrete amongst areas of density surrounded by small one- or two-storey misnomers stretched few and far between traffic lanes and unwalkable blocks connecting district to district. For public art to succeed within these parameters, a consideration of space needs to be evaluated within these terms first, instead of imposing an adopted aesthetic onto what already exists. There are certainly problems with what already exists, such as the absence of pedestrian-accessible paths that connect and retain neighbourhoods for those who live here, but ignoring these issues by covering them up with disconnected public art objects will only do more damage in the long run.

Public art, often appearing in the form of monumental objects, cannot simply be dropped onto a neighbourhood and accepted as a beacon of decor and culture. Whether it’s sculptural or graffiti-based, commissioned or non-sanctioned, public art addresses social issues, intentionally or not. Promoting thoughtless art used in terms of revitalization that does not consult, engage or challenge its surrounding people, buildings, and institutions is a veil of nepotism and safe misgivings, and a city will never come to terms with itself amidst such things. As arguably the most transparently social and conscious lot within visual arts, public art holds the great potential to transform the everyday experiences of its audiences, and, in turn, should remain vulnerable and susceptible to the public’s desires and demands.

Next up: Prairie Artsters takes an in-depth look at the Edmonton Art Council’s Public Art Master Plan.

*First published in Vue Weekly, September 18 - 24, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Form Unfolding, McMullen Gallery, August 30 - October 26, REVIEWED BY ERIN CARTER

It’s kind of weird walking into an art gallery based out of the University of Alberta Hospital. Before I arrived I was anticipating feel good art, something healing and or beneficial to all those who call the hospital a home for a short or long term period and their visitors. Hospitals scare me, but when I walked in to the McMullen Gallery located on the main floor, I was surprised at how comfortable I felt amidst the sculptures and hospital upholstery. Form Unfolding is a sculpture based exhibition put on by the Sculptures Association of Alberta running from August 30 until October 26.

Greeted at the door by the friendly staff I was left alone to walk around (like any art gallery) and pick away at my thoughts. Perceiving feeling and meaning out of the work at hand, I’ve struggled with the meaning behind sculptures before and did eventually find an even ground of comprehension; but this time I’m struggling with the fact that there is more than one artist at hand and that I have to look at the show as a whole. From the title I have garnered a certain aesthetic from most of the pieces. A lot are sculpted human bodies bent, folded and look to be in different positions of pain. As I move throughout the exhibit I notice the more reaching and or powerful sculptures towards the end.

The human form was a major theme throughout this exhibit. I especially enjoyed pieces by Steph Jonsson. Her use of female form protruding from what looks to me like a hunk of the Rocky Mountains really reminded me of the healing beauty of nature and organic shapes. There were a few other “organic” pieces that looked like mushroom spoors made out of the mixed media of fabric and ceramic. It seemed displaced amidst all the pain and power coming from most of the sculptures’ in this show, but it struck me that hospitals are not always just about pain.

As I walk out of the gallery I wave goodbye to the staff and walk into the University of Alberta hospital. I almost forgot where I was. I guess that’s the point of having an art gallery in a hospital.

Project Greed, CAP, Stollery Gallery, August 28 - September 26

With the tenacity of obsession and a narrative detailing of murals, CAP (aka Kirk Switzer) creates an exhibition on the many faces of greed that can only be summarized as intense.

With both image and text speculating on the negative downfall of humankind through greed, growth, and wealth, the obsession over the compulsion of greed is captured through fantastical renderings through painting, hieroglyphics, pyroglyphics and housing maquettes.

The range of style and form at first suggests a group show, but the exhibition's underlying seething intensity pushes forward a unified vision by Switzer, who has devoted his life to artistic practice following a serious brain injury during his career as an influential business consultant.

As one of the few solo shows I can remember ever seeing at the Stollery inside of the Nina Haggerty, the space lends itself well to representing a single artist rather than packing in numerous artists as they often do. With a strong roster of in-house artists creating bodies of work, The Nina Haggerty Centre should showcase their artists with solo shows--demonstrating the range and depth of work being produced within the centre.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Curatorial Text for Edmonton: EXPLORED, Art Gallery of Alberta, September 5 - November 2, 2008

Edmonton: EXPLORED pulls together five artists and collaborative teams who contributed to Edmonton’s 2007 designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada. From street art, non commercialized billboards, discreet beautification plans, to the visible and invisible interactions we experience everyday in our city streets, the contemporary artists gathered explore the underbelly of our Edmonton.

Concrete, graffiti, gravel, weeds, and boarded up buildings present themselves as the dominant aesthetic. Based entirely from a pedestrian point of view, Edmonton: EXPLORED extends a firm belief that you will never truly know a city until you have walked through it. All five projects occurred outdoors over the past year with each attempting to engage with its surroundings and individuals. These works do not look or feign elsewhere; these works try and identify the city of Edmonton by looking deep into our core and engaging with what exists.

Acknowledging the forgotten soul of the city, these are locations not recommended to tourists and visitors, but inhabited and traversed by its citizens. Edmonton: EXPLORED steps away from Edmonton as destination and focuses on Edmonton as home. As a transient city, a gateway, a hard working blue collar city, Edmonton is more complex than the tag lines of “world class city” and “city of champions” suggest. The projects address themes of social conscious and urban renewal within the ruins of Edmonton in the 21st century and the role artists play as civically minded instigators. It is within these ruins where the heart of our city beats, and it is amongst these empty derelict streets framed against wide open skies where we feel moved to engage with the people and perspectives around us.

Artists from Edmonton: EXPLORED include: Jennifer Berkenbosch, Clay Lowe + Ian Mulder, Ted Kerr, aAron Munson + Mark Templeton, and Monica Pitre.

- Amy Fung, Guest Curator. 2008.

Radiant City #1
Radiant City #2

Jennifer Berkenbosch, 2008
Installation & Digital print
Photography credit: Wenda Salomons

Walking along the derelict buildings and boarded up windows of once thriving shops and businesses along 118 Avenue, painter and neighborhood resident Jennifer Berkenbosch felt a correlation between herself as a new mother and this neighborhood-in-transition. Moving away from her earlier wax-based works, Berkenbosch created a series of brightly colourful mandala-like paintings following the traumatic experience of giving birth to her first child. The intricate radial designs express the archetypal cyclical pattern of life, radiating energy from within and building its energy outwards.

Having discretely planted her paintings onto a series of buildings throughout the summer of 2008 (with the support of the Arts on the Avenue coalition), Berkenbosch aimed to renew a sense of pride in the community. Noting especially the bleak recessed doorways often filled with remnants of temporary shelter, Berkenbosch wanted to create something original and beautiful for these individuals, who although may not have fixed addresses, are still very much a part of this community.

Literally adding colour to the now recognized “colourful” district of 118 Avenue, Berkenbosch’s “Radiant City” series is transformed into a compressed collage for its indoor presentation that reinforces the transitory nature of her site specific works. Re-imagining the streetscape of 118 Avenue through an engaged eye-level pedestrian, the life size paper works do not suggest the objectification of art or of the community-at-large, but are in fact reminiscent of how every community is comprised of numerous factors pieced together in all its eclectic radiance.

“Got a quarter: State of the Art in East Jasper”
Ian Mulder & Clay Lowe, 2008.
Spraypaint and Mixed Media

In the fall of 2007, graffiti artist Clay Lowe and muralist Ian Mulder facilitated “State of the Art,” an outdoor art and graffiti workshop and competition through the iHuman Society building just north of East Jasper Avenue and 95 St. Transforming the entire site into a live public art venue during the height of civic debate on the validity and legality of graffiti, Lowe and Mulder demonstrated the relevance of connecting public art with community involvement. By empowering iHuman’s high risk youths through mentorship and activity, “State of the Art” marked the first time many individuals had engaged in the discussion of graffiti and street art within a positive context.

By nature, graffiti and street art are physical tracings imbued with social implications. As a form of marking one’s territory or leaving one’s mark, the offset of most conscious graffiti and street art comes from community residents taking ownership back from hyperbolized advertising and rapid gentrification. As primarily a subversive art form starting in the 1970s and exploding into mainstream culture by the ‘80s by way of galleries and public art commissions, graffiti remains highly contestable within Edmonton as a blanket statement for all forms of public vandalism. As of April 2008, the City of Edmonton implemented a new “Graffiti Removal Plan” and Bylaw 14600 that looks to eradicate and wipe out graffiti for the safety and prospect of Edmonton citizens, architecture, and businesses.

In this site specific installation, Lowe and Mulder re-create a stretch of street art available in contemporary Edmonton from stencils, tags, and markers ranging in quality and styles. Embedded into its front are illuminated photographs, documents from the “State of the Art” workshop as well as showing works by other local graffiti artists. Inviting the viewer to physically lean in close to their facade, Lowe and Mulder prompt us to peer deeper into the creativity, communities, urban renewal, and civic engagements behind street art.

- - - - - - - -

Image credit: Performance completion of "Got a Quarter: State of the Art in East Jasper" Clay Lowe and Ian Mulder, 2008. Featuring anonymous graffiti bufferers. Photo credit: Jay Procktor, 2008.

Since last September's "State of the Art" workshop, streets once charged with a myriad of tags, posters and graffiti pieces have been buffed with tones of beige, brick red and gray in response to the City of Edmonton's new Anti-Graffiti by-law.

This piece is meant to recreate the essence of many back alleys and public spaces in Edmonton. It was submitted and installed in the gallery with a myriad of tags, spray painted stencils, and various other forms of "street art."

On the opening night of the exhibition, Lowe and Mulder's reconstruction of street art was buffered over live in the gallery space. What remains is a tombstone to what lies beneath as the wall enters another phase of its life in the streets. The resulting work now reflects the state of street art as civically and legally decreed in Edmonton 2008 and raises the issue of street art and its struggle to exist.

For those who did not see the original work, your desire and curiosity are shared throughout our city streets.

- Amy Fung, Clay Lowe, and Ian Mulder
- - - - - - - -

“20 Immigrant Women Living in Edmonton”
Ted Kerr, 2007
20 Enlarged Polaroid Photos

Artist, writer, and activist Ted Kerr took a series of 60 Polariods featuring immigrant women as part of his project, “Towards Seeing Everything.” Aimed at encouraging discussion and bringing awareness to the role non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play in our city, Kerr teamed up with four non profits organizations, HIV Edmonton, Mile Zero Dance, Chrysalis, and Changing Together to create an original new work for each organization.

This series of Polaroids was created for and with Changing Together, an Edmonton based organization run by immigrant women for immigrant women and their families as they transition across cultural and bureaucratic borders. Kerr, along with project advisor Kathy Ochoa, approached familiar and unfamiliar women and asked them if they can take their photograph, and if so, if she can write down her first name, country of birth, and role in society down onto the Polaroid.

Choosing to use Polaroid film for its immediacy and transparency, where the women can hold the result and physically write on the photo, Kerr found the most successful locations for approaching women were the random encounters on the street rather than the planned meetings, nodding to the vitality and diversity on any urban city street. Addressing both race and age in this series, Kerr enlarges each woman’s presence on an individual basis (and byway enlarging the collective presence) as he continues his ongoing exploration of clarifying the (in)visible in this city.

“acre loss”
m. templeton & aA. munson 2008

individual track names:
1. aTest
2. this will pass
3. saw to the seed
4. too small
5. contents are
6. 1 is to one as...
7. safer
8. it's ok to fall
9. small one
10. looking Northward

mark templeton & aAron munson: guitar, banjo, accordion, bass, field recordings, synthesizer, effects pedals, computer, percussion, voice

aAron munson & mark templeton: super8, super16mm, HD video

Beginning with the question of “What defines an environment to an individual?” experimental filmmaker aAron Munson and electro-acoustic musician Mark Templeton begin a collaborative investigation through sight and sound. Their visual and audio perspectives specifically focus on the associations and ideas of place and direction. Creating works that contemplate North, East, South, West, Sky, and Earth, Munson and Templeton explore how perception impacts our understanding of place.

Shot and recorded in and around Edmonton, the individual tracks conjure Munson and Templeton’s personal associations of isolation, expansion, growth, energy, and decay. Grounded in an emotional and psychological framework, “acre loss” as a whole presents a vast and complex notion of space that addresses both the natural and unnatural.

The urban construct falls away into a multitude of endless factors and sensations contributing to our everyday existence in the city, from an examined crack in the sidewalk to the shadows cast through one of the many bridges we may cross in our daily commute. Trivialized experiences and lived-in engagements, as perceived and filtered by Munson and Templeton, inform and construct “acre loss,” and hopefully, extend our perspectives within the city around us.

“Untitled: Edmonton”
Monica Pitre, 2008
Photography of site specific mixed media installation
Photo credit: Steve Teeuwsen

Trained as a fine art printmaker and holding a MFA in printmaking from the University of Alberta, Monica Pitre installed two billboard-sized works in the spring of 2008 in central Edmonton. Locating one above a street-level used car dealership on 105 Street just north of 103 Avenue and the other one here on 101 Street just south of 106 Avenue, Pitre’s works were anonymously exhibited with the exception of the Edmonton Cultural Capital logo. Choosing locations in Edmonton’s inner city, near where she works and frequents on a daily basis, Pitre’s main interest was to contribute a positive sentiment into the community and to reach a greater viewership outside of a formalized gallery setting.

As private spaces confronting public viewers, billboards have become unnatural focal points--especially against our flat horizon dotted with low rise buildings and wide stretching roadways. Primarily targeting motorists in our pedestrian-unfriendly city and selling, if not reinforcing, mentalities often through gratuitous sexuality, billboard spaces have largely ignored the communities and individuals around them, imposing their messages to unwilling viewers who are simply commuting through their city.

It should be noted that the unidentified woman in this unstaged photograph of the billboard installation walks on unaware of the billboard space, grown numb to the visual bombardment of marketing messages that have unlikely appealed to any individual within its vicinity. Looming over the deserted sidewalk and gravel parking lot in the heart of our city’s downtown, this image captures that for once, a billboard space can be conscious of its immediate public and that a privatized public space can be engaging in something pure and uplifting.

All photo credits: Amy Fung, 2008 (unless otherwise noted)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Prairie Artsters - Exploring Edmonton*

This week, my first curated exhibition, Edmonton: EXPLORED, opens at the Art Gallery of Alberta for a two-month run. Besides shameless self-promotion, I’m torn as to how I feel about this show and my ongoing role within Edmonton’s arts community. I’m not really angling for either positive or negative reactions: more so I feel I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is and that I continue to be engaged with Edmonton, a city structure that can stand in for any other mid-sized sprawl city on this continent.

At the same time, in between days of install, I’m heading back to the U of A to begin my MA with a directed reading course on our flat city of urbanity and sprawl. Reading urban theorist and art critic Lucy R Lippard’s The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society, the NY-biased writer ranges from the point of mythologies and Marxism, framing the stories and identity of a city as being a history perpetuated by the privileged to the role artists have played in conduiting and documenting the gentrification of urban spaces. In writing about the ongoing decline of American boom cities and the general abandonment of a city’s centre for new development further from the centre (to the point of creating new cities outside of the abandoned core), Lippard notes that the city has always been a perpetual shuffle between developers and citizens, and that boiled down, it is simply about land value versus the value of its current tenants—insights all aptly applicable to almost every zone of Edmonton in the 21st century.

Image credit: "Untitled: Edmonton" Monica Pitre, 2008. Photo credit: Steve Teeuwsen, 2008

Commuting through the city core everyday, especially coming down from the 118 Ave zone of revitalization through forgotten blocks of redlined neighborhoods, the Edmonton I know is a city with no pedestrian traffic, scared off by the rumbling of semis and pick-ups roaring all-too-near, stepping around piles of plastic garbage blown to and from unkempt alleyways, and where street-level gravel lots and “For Lease” signs remain the constant norm.

Edmonton: EXPLORED started as an image in my head, a living diorama of several outdoor Edmonton Cultural Capital projects pulled together into one indoor setting. From street art to billboard art, the common denominator between artists and civically minded individuals Jennifer Berkenbosch, Clay Lowe and Ian Mulder, Ted Kerr, aAron Munson and Mark Templeton and Monica Pitre lie in their independently achieved engagements with this city’s contemporary identity. From current discussions on the merit of graffiti to making visible the faces of Edmonton’s immigrant population, across the board there comes a consistent engagement with challenging the city’s official mythologies, producing work and documents of work that actively participate in bringing attention to those perspectives easily forgotten once they were ghettoized.

A major underlying theme is navigating through Edmonton on a pedestrian level, which mostly restricts the work to the city’s inner core. Although the majority of work is a reinterpretation of their original presentations, the works invite you to shed the convenience and order of vehicular grid systems and engage in the act of walking—of physically tracing the city step by step—as a fundamental factor to internalizing your surrounding rhythms. Gathered within a space smaller than 600 square feet, the inner city is condensed, dissected and made accessible to those who do not necessarily inhabit those neighbourhoods. The gallery is only a presentation of reality documented, and the contextualized works are living and breathing just blocks away from their simulacrums. I know for me, the experience of walking through this city is an increasingly isolating experience, but that just means more than ever I need to explore why I remain here.

*First published in Vue Weekly, September 4 - 10, 2008