The Maybe People

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
Jude Griebel's "Vacant Room, Seated Figure."

Jude Griebel's "Vacant Room, Seated Figure."

Drawing inspiration from children’s books and folk tales, Vancouver-based painter Jude Griebel has become a modern day Geppetto turning material into people’s portraits. Griebel crafts implied bodies of his subjects using domestic objects from his subject’s lives, such as scraps of clothes, furniture and other domestic material.

Griebel has been working figuratively in his work for the past five years dealing with themes of alienation, isolation and the imagination. His latest work has him making the whole piece figurative, turning his subjects into scarecrow like forms.

“By using pieces of these people’s personal symbols and arranging them it often stands in for them without the flesh,” says Griebel. “It’s these traces of these people, and it could almost be them. Often it seems more real, and carries more information about them, than an actual conventional painted portrait.”

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Danish Modern

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
Suzanne Swannie's "Brud I."

Suzanne Swannie's "Brud I."

Danish-born textile artist Suzanne Swannie‘s life has been a negotiation between degrees of strict economy and wild adventure. After earning a Danish hand weavers Journeyman’s certificate and a degree in Textile Design and Technology from Sweden in the early 60s she crossed the Atlantic for a two-year teaching position in Newfoundland. This balance of adventure and Danish modern economy would end up shaping her life and work.

“My production has been very interrelated so all the rest of my life,” says Swannie. “There were a lot of shifts and changes in my life, and each era in a way produced a certain type of work that fit into my state of mind and situation.”

Wooed by the Canadian landscape, Swannie stayed in Canada getting married, divorcing and raising two daughters on her own. The following decades were spent busily trying to balance her life with thread being her second language.

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By Mike Landry
An image from Jean-Denis Boudreau's "The Last Show."

An image from Jean-Denis Boudreau's "The Last Show."

Jennifer Bélanger likes to think of herself as an adopted Acadian. Although she was born in Edmundston her parents were both from Ontario. With a last name like Bélanger it’s not hard for her to pass for l’Acadie.

But it could be that her own personal mixed notion of identity is playing a role in a new exhibition she’s co-curating with full-on Acadian Mario Doucette called Biographies: Un regard contemporain sur l’Acadie. The show brings together eight contemporary Acadian artists who deal directly or indirectly with notions of identity. It’s a theme that may be influenced, but Bélanger says isn’t limited to, Acadian heritage.

“I tend to look at these artists in a broader way. To see what they’re doing within the whole spectrum of contemporary art. The fact they’re Acadian, I suppose, it’s secondary for me. But that might be because I’m not really Acadian.”

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Empty

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
Jamie Campbell's "Tiger Girl."

Jamie Campbell's "Tiger Girl."

Joined under the banner of the exhibition Empty at Montreal’s Galerie Push, Kotama Bouabane and Jamie Campbell present two takes on the theme in their hip photographic work.

For his half of the show Boubane presents selections from two series of work. In Chalkboards, Boubane documents chalkboards at the Ontario College of Art and Design over the span of a week. He found it spoke to the outmoded nature of photographic technology, in that everyday newer cameras effectively erase older ones. He also liked how language could be transferred to text and then erased.

“Photography in general is the idea of capturing something, but it’s just an image on a two dimensional surface you can never really capture it wholly,” says Bouabane.

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