Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Almost Here/Almost There
Brock University Department of Visual Arts Honours Exhibition
March 30 to April 14, 2013.
Rodman Hall Arts Centre
109 St. Paul Crescent
St. Catharines, ON L2S 1M3
Almost Here / Almost There
Urban tumbleweeds, bathroom graffiti, new machinations from Welland, optical anesthesia, viscous mental architecture,
free psychic real estate, pelts from fictional animals and experimental gestures of futility are among the subjects presented in this two-part exhibition by eight young aspiring artists. To impose strict formal and/or conceptual boundaries on the meaning, inter-connectedness or nature of these artworks in question is counterproductive.
Keeping in line with the titles of these two shows, a transitory approach is necessary, where levity trumps gravity.
With Almost Here / Almost There , the audience is not promised Utopia. Instead, we are offered an alternative
reading on perception’s role in the creation of meaning. What world might we inhabit wherein imaginary beings
are stripped of their coats? What might happen if anachronistic imagery is activated by the playing of an upright piano? What happens when pictograms demonstrating physical prowess are animated into a sexual frenzy? We are confronted with a number of hypothetical scenarios in which reason, aesthetics, chance, disorder, the sensorium and meaning conspire to thwart any singular interpretation of this work. It is here – in this state (and at this site) of potentiality
- where the artworks ontologize into a constant state of becoming. This indeterminant and rhizomatic state of flux is a difficult one to process in its non-fixity. I will retain the right to allow the ambiguities inherent in this artwork to
For Katie, Rebekah, Simon, Joey,
Dan, TJ, Tim and Joel...
Embarking on an honours studio journey entails a leap of faith on every level of one’s being: faith in one’s own capacities; faith in one’s mentors; faith in one’s peers, and most importantly, faith in the creative process. Like the archetypal Fool of the tarot, one steps from the firmament of the known with a leap into the unknown. Almost everything in our contemporary culture discourages this act. We are told one must steadily march towards known horizons with age-old toolsets, and time-honoured traditions in a reasonable and predictable manner. But to embark upon the learning process necessary to become a practicing artist entails anything but certainty. We leap into the unknown with the faith that we either have the tools we need, or we will find or invent them. We launch ourselves into sets of problems with the faith that we will be capable of a creative response in which a new solution is possible. But between the moments of embarking
and arrival is a process of struggle. We struggle with our beliefs, with our truths, with our skills, and mostly with what other generations and other practitioners have defined as art. In the crucible of practice, in what we hash out in the studio, and most often after we have nearly given up, the shift happens. At first, it might be so new and ugly, that it is almost unrecognizable. Or, it’s so obvious we can’t believe we hadn’t seen it before. But there it is at last, this thing, this object, this performance, this perfect creative response. It’s not uplifting, not usually. It’s humbling because it shows a connection between our tiny particular sensibility and the rightness of the world. And sometimes, it’s so beautiful it almost hurts. Then the thing is done, the work is hung, the show opens, and for the artist, that work is done. The most interesting, compelling and necessary next step is the next problem, the next leap. As a mentoring artist, I’m humbled and grateful that these eight young practitioners have shared their struggles with me. They’ve put their faith in our shared process of learning and discovery. The world is that much richer now that their art works are in it.
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