The F Word

October 16, 2008

By Stacey Ho
Don Lee, Banff Centre

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Lesbian Park Rangers. Photo: Don Lee, Banff Centre

The sixties and seventies saw the rise of two major trends in North American art. With the rise of second-wave feminism, mostly white, middle-class women began to explore issues of gender and power, seeking agency from predetermined social and economic roles. Concurrently, this era saw the rise of video technology, so that, for the first time, moving pictures could be produced and distributed cheaply, outside of commercial television channels and large studios.

The F Word, at Vancouver’s Western Front, brings together these two trajectories, looking at women who used video to explore gender, performance and develop a critical methodology. The show includes contemporary as well as historic pieces, such as Lisa Steele‘s 1977 The Ballad of Dan Peebles.

“It’s Lisa when she’s younger,” explains Candice Hopkins, curator at Western Front. “She’s holding this picture of her grandfather, almost like she’s channeling him in a way, in a frantic or sensitive way. She channels memories of him and speaks in a monologue for sixteen or seventeen minutes about this man. You get a sense of a bit of a troubling relationship, of abuse and loss. An incredible performance.”

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High on a Hill

October 9, 2008

By Stacey Ho
Choose either goat or

Lipton invites you to be either goatherd or Heidi in "High on a Hill"

Sometimes love is just not meant to be.

Trapped on two separate snowy mountains, a pair of alpine lovers in green attire yodel to one another above a howling wind. As their calls intensify, the storm subsides and the snow melts away. Heidi and her goatherd lover fade into their freshly green mountain backdrop. The sound of trickling water is all that remains.

This short video is the centre of High on a Hill, a new installation by Lisa Lipton. Playing off The Sound of Music-style kitsch, the exhibition asks viewers to participate in the gallery space. Surrounded by towering green mountain murals, Lipton adds a touristy plywood mountain vignette to the gallery. Visitors step behind the sculpture to have their photo taken as Heidi or the goatherd.

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