Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lorene Bourgeois Interview

Loop member Lorene Bourgeois was recently interviewed by Patrick Conners about her exhibition of work called Vestiare/Cloakroom at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. The link to the interview is here.

Lorene's exhibition continues at Harbourfront until September 25, 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on the Great Hare Project

The Great Hare (in progress)
Photo by M.Catherine Newcomb
Artist and loop member Mary Catherine Newcomb continues to monitor the growth of her fifteen foot long reclining hare in the Cambridge Sculpture Garden. This land art installation is for the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area that begins September 16 and runs to October 2, 2011.

M. Catherine Newcomb raking The Great Hare
Photo by Judy Welsh
Mary Catherine Newcomb's Great Hare sent this update on the project:
"I visited the hare on Friday. Parts of the pelt had grown long enough to rake into the right direction and I did a bit of face pruning.  There is only one sprinkler on it at the moment.  The gardener for The Cambridge Sculpture Garden has dug in the hose for it and will be digging in a second hose early this week so that there can be two sprinklers  in anticipation of the ears.  I am going to add the ears and tail on Thursday with the help of volunteers - I anticipate a bit of an ordeal but will be glad to have them out of my driveway and under the watchful eye of the hare stewards (Judy Welch and Judy Major Girardin from the Sculpture Garden.) The neck ruff and chest fur is not growing as quickly as the rest - so I may get a third sprinkler or extra hose to focus on this area." 

For more information about the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area, visit their website here.

Photos provided courtesy of M. Catherine Newcomb c2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Libby Hague: Sympathetic Connections at the AGO's Young Gallery

Libby Hage: Sympathetic Connections
Loop Gallery member Libby Hague’s installation called Sympathetic Connections transforms both the inside and outside of the Young Gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  This three-dimensional work combines representational and abstract forms created out of woodblock prints on Japanese paper to fill the gallery. These paper sculptures dangle from the walls and cascade down from the ceiling, while a wall-mounted print of a nuclear power plant looms in the periphery, an image inspired in part by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year.

Libby Hague described her experience of showing her work at the AGO for this post:

"I was thrilled when Michelle Jacques gave me this opportunity because  the AGO is  a fabulous building. Its prominence  even got me the respect of the eavestrough guy and I thought - "Oh, that's how it works." More practical is the reality that until I have a specific  gallery to work in, I am more or less only rehearsing. My own studio has a grungy  functionality but there are too many things in it that interfere with my ability to read the work.  In my studio the work is  developed in sections and rather hopefully, if abstractly, in my imagination.  Installation artists need spaces like painters need paint. 

Libby Hague's installation at the AGO
The Young Gallery is thoughtfully designed so it brings a kind of formal clarity to the work . At the same time it's quite transformative because as you move around the room, the sculptures radically change depending on whether they are seen against the white wall or the city window. The first is a situation that I can control and the second  interjects  the human random chaos factor. I also put in an oscillating fan to move the pieces and  make them seem more alive and to shift  their relationships slightly. Additionally, the space  is like a huge window gallery that is visible 24/7 so the day to night shift is very interesting for me. 

An initial problem  which proved very useful was caused by the  mirrored facade on the Gehry reno. It makes it impossible to see in the gallery except at night and so happily the AGO accepted my proposal to do an intervention on the outside window as well.  This links the lines of the Gehry facade, the Henry Moore on the corner  and the sculptures I made inside. Once it was up , I loved how the mirror glass moved tour buses, people - Dundas St.   through the piece. It feels alive. 

Libby Hague at the AGO (exterior view)
A lot of my work has been about disaster and hope. This piece contrasts the exuberance of creating 3-D forms and by extension all creative activity with the pretty but disquieting  silhouette of the Pickering nuclear plant. The decision to put in the power plant came about because the Fukushima crisis happened while I was working on this. 

My reading of these  two elements, the sculpture and the power plant,  is that no happiness is so certain that  it can't disappear in an instant nor is it so simple that it is uninflected by danger or risk. A second reading , which I don't usually entertain, is that the sculpture is the disaster - post nuclear mayhem loosed upon a world that  loves a good disaster from a position of safety, of course. 

The show is up until September 11 and right now I am struggling with the possibility of having a puppet intervention that afternoon in the gallery."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing a Rabbit

The Great Hare by M. Catherine Newcomb
Artist and loop member Mary Catherine Newcomb is growing a rabbit in the Cambridge Sculpture Garden. This fifteen foot long reclining hare has a pelt made of turf.  This land art installation is part of the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area that begins September 16 and runs to October 2, 2011. This year's theme SURVIVE:RESIST.

In the artist statement for the piece, M. Catherine explains that "According to Algonquian myth, the Great Hare (Michabo)  is considered to be the grandson of the moon and son of the west wind and is recognized as the animal demi-urge." 

When M. Catherine was a young girl, about about the age of ten or eleven, she discovered that rabbits do in fact gather under the full moon.  She had been walking in the woods in Quebec with her grandparents the morning after a full moon when they came upon their gathering place.  This convinced her (and still does) that "something profound and mysterious is going on behind a veil of what we describe as real."

CAFKA volunteers helping with the installation of M.C. Newcomb's work
This work required the help of a team of CAFKA volunteers as is evident from the photos from the installation. Volunteers helped her to install the body and add legs and head which were formed in advance by building turf and earth into welded steel forms. M. Catherine explains that the process of installation  is ongoing. "I am grooming/clipping the turf on a weekly basis as the hare grows into something more hare-like.  I am still growing ears and tail in my driveway and will add them to the hare when they are better established - probably late next week or early the following week.  At this stage it is really important that the turf establishes itself.  I was concerned about getting moisture to stay beneath the vertical surfaces as opposed to just running off - hence the bottles that are attached to deep watering spikes."

Watering the rabbit
For more information about the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area, visit their website here. To see more of Mary Catherine Newcomb's work, visit her website here.

Photos provided courtesy of M. Catherine Newcomb c2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Chance to See Heather Carey and Ian McLean at Loop

Ian McLean

Heather Carey

This is the last weekend to see Ian McLean and Heather Carey's exhibitions of paintings at Loop Gallery. Globe & Mail art critic R.M. Vaughan mentions them in today's Visual Arts Review Other Venues and says "Last chance to see Carey & McLean's separate but blended sets of paintings. Carey mixes abstract forms with architectural details - bttresses and blobs. McLean recreates mid-century luxury homes but paints them as if they've been dunked in acid. Clearly home is where the (broken) heart is."

The gallery is open today, Saturday August 13 from noon to 5 pm and tomorrow Sunday from 1-4 pm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Installation Shots Heather Carey and Ian McLean at loop Gallery

Ian McLean (right) with Friends

Heather Carey
The exhibition of works by Heather Carey and Ian McLean will continue at loop Gallery until Sunday, August 14.

Photo credits: Ian McLean

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heather Carey at loop

Arbutus by Heather Carey
Heather Carey exhibition of paintings called Plastic Geometry opened at loop on July 23, 2011.

Heather Carey’s work deals with perception, both the psychological and the physiological sides of it. Carey explores the visual and imaginative possibilities of painting, considering the history of painting and the different languages of mark-making included in this history. She is most interested in the experiential side of visual arts, and how this experience can be influenced by our living and interacting within man-made environments. Her work examines space, constructions of reality, and choices involved in navigating through our everyday spaces.

Alleys by Heather Carey
Plastic Geometry features new paintings which present a way of seeing the world which is both calculated and malleable. Pictorial space assembles itself in an understandable way, and then collapses in on itself or deflates. The experience of these pieces relates to how we interpret images in the world on a day to day basis, how the brain functions both instinctively and through making choices about new information that has been given. Carey engages viewers in a challenging visual experience where the work remains the same but perceptions change for the viewer- confusing, revealing, changing, and resting.
Heather Carey was born in Guelph, Ontario.  She is currently a Master in Fine Arts candidate at the University of Victoria. Carey completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in 2009. This is her second show at loop.  To see more of Heather's work, visit her website here.

The show continues at loop until Sunday, August, 14, 2011.