Bee Kingdom

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Ryan, Tim and Phillip (L to R) working in their "hive."

Ryan, Tim and Phillip (L to R) working in their "hive."

Ryan Marsh Fairweather, Phillip Bandura and Tim Belliveau haven’t yet come to blows or fallen apart like many communal households. For the past four years, like good worker bees, the three young men have  relied on good communication and dedication to make things work in their Calgary studio/home. And from Berlin to Tacoma, Washington people are talking notice.

Living and working communally, the trio of young glass artists started Bee Kingdom two years ago. Their studio was their kingdom, and the molten glass in their garage was their flowing honey.

“What’s worked is we all have a common understanding and a similar goal to where we want our glasswork to go. We all want this to work so we work together to make it happen,” says Fairweather.

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By Mike Landry
Francis Arguin's body at work for his performance "Proposition pour quitter le sol"

Arguin's body at work for "Proposition pour quitter le sol," 2007.

This week Quebec City-based multidisciplinary artist Francis Arguin is opening two shows in two different cities, Rouyn-Noranda and Toronto, and in two different mediums, performance and sculpture. And whether he’s pouring sand over himself in his skivvies or installing large cardboard structures covered in crumpled paper his motivation is always the same: exploring the world of objects we surround ourselves with everyday.

It’s not uncommon for Arguin to work simultaneously with performance and in sculpture. He started performing during an installation while he was an art student. He wanted to do something special for the opening, so he made objects that were tools to be manipulated to transform the gallery space.

“My body becomes the territory of the action,” says Arguin. “Everything around us is disappearing. The only thing that exists for me is my body.”

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Making Of

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Mathieu Lefevre wears his art on his sleeve, and on his hat.

Mathieu Lefevre wears his art on his sleeve, and on his hat.

A series of ass paintings, a large mound of papier-mâché, and a homage to Jackson Pollack in the form of a studying desk littered with gum on it’s underside—just three of Mathieu Lefevre‘s small sculpture works from his latest exhibition Making Of.

Each piece is made from a new process Lefevre has been toying with—making art by not trying to make art. Grouping his creations together the show becomes a statement about finding more meaningful and productive ways to waste time.

“Just sitting around thinking about stuff, twiddling thumbs, waiting for inspiration to hit—you’re not really making anything but you are at the same time,” says Lefevre. “So all the pieces are made through just sitting around thinking about other stuff besides what you’re doing, which in this case was making pieces for this show.”

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Surfacing

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
A detail view of one of Zipp's scale-model gallery sculptures.

A detail view of one of Zipp's scale-model gallery sculptures.

After making a name for himself with his video work, Collin Zipp is taking breaking a break. He had been editing something on his computer a few months ago and was getting a nasty headache. So he went out to his garage, picked some old wood and started building

The result ended up being his first non-video exhibition, Surfacing. For the exhibition, Zipp has compiled the products of the all ideas that had been popping into his head recently. Surfacing will include sculpture, painting and collage.

“I’m kind of making a leap away from my comfortable area, and jumping into some new work,” says Zipp. “I’m pretty pumped about it.”

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Madonnas

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Get animated with Diane Landry's washing machine cinema.

Get animated with Diane Landry's washing machine cinema.

Looking at her secondhand washing machine fills Quebec City-based artist Diane Landry with appreciation for the convenience. Not only because for 12 years she schlepped her clothes to her local Laundromat, but because she can remember hovering around the machines all the time during her childhood.

The washing machine in her piece Stolen Waters isn’t all that different from her mother’s or the one quietly sitting in her home. The only difference is the mirrored cylinder sitting on the machines spinner reflecting an image of a woman. Landry has a few of the machines now, each with a different image of a woman.

“I try to keep [my objects] mostly the same without transforming them. By not modifying them you recognize the object but it doesn’t work the way you used to see it. But it’s still a washing machine. It’s possible after the exhibition for the washing machine to be a washing machine again.”

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Life on Marrs

October 16, 2008

Marrs' green table made of ash, horse chestnut and found steel.

Marrs' green table made of ash, horse chestnut and found steel.

Furniture was always a very parental concern to me. It was something I was to keep my feet off of, my dirty fingers away from and not to be poked with a fork. I never really understood how being a grown up suddenly made furniture fun. Then again, my parents never owned anything like the genius that comes from Graeme Marrs‘ shop.

For three years Marrs has been running his own company creating contemporary craft furniture. His work is driven by a strong sense of creating things by hand, which need to be created by hand. He uses old and obscure techniques that cannot be easily replicated en masse.

“The biggest reason for me doing things by hand is that there’s a certain element you can’t mass-produce,” says Marrs. “I’ve always felt imparting time into an object adds a non-tangible element to it. When someone touches something I’ve spent hundreds of hours on they get that back in some way.”

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Reading Machine for Dr. NO

October 9, 2008

By Stacey Ho
Dr. Julius No torments 007 in Liddington's "Reading Machine."

Dr. Julius No torments 007 in Liddington's "Reading Machine."

In a textual piece from the early eighties, Vancouver artist Rodney Graham rewrites a scene from Ian Fleming’s Dr. No. Part of an extensive body of work that reconfigures the classic super-spy, lenz loops a climatic scene where Bond is caught in a fix—a centipede crawling up the length of his body. In Fleming’s version, 007 shakes off the bug and smoothly saves the day. In Graham’s version, the centipede is always there; Bond never escapes.

A take off of Graham’s practice, Derek Liddington’s Reading Machine for Dr. NO similarly loops a car chase scene from Dr. No. In Liddington’s piece, the bad guy’s car never flies off a cliff, does not blow up. Rather, James Bond is forever being chased in an infinite figure eight. There’s no pay off.

Liddington’s play on Rodney Graham’s strategies extends upon his fascination with Vancouver’s art scene, where artists, mixing their work with pop culture and academia, would freely appropriate each other’s practices.

“It’s a very traditional approach, much like the idea of an apprenticeship,” says Liddington. “Building a practice based on the practice of others is a traditionalist process that I’m interested in.”

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