Proverbs for Paranoids

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Pete Smith's "Owtzdowe."

Pete Pete Smith's "Owtzdowe."

Rather than spending his lunch hours Tupperware dining, Pete Smith would go exploring with his digital camera. He was living in Toronto at the time and was documenting the physical geography around his home and his work—graffiti, billboards, paint spills and what he calls “visual interferences in our visual landscape.”

“Our landscape is pretty much filled with junk—graphic junk that we don’t really notice or pay attention to because there’s just so much or it and it’s all competing,” says Smith.

His latest series of abstract paintings take these visual interferences, and reworks them in an act of escapism from this busy world. The works are part of a new exhibition called Proverbs for Paranoids. Sometimes he takes recognizable forms like the city of Toronto, or the recycling, logo, but mostly he takes images hidden in the background of advertisements and logos.

Advertisements

Pages: 1 2

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.”

Pages: 1 2

Making Real

October 16, 2008

By Mike Landry
One of Eli Bornowsky's untitled abstract dot works.

One of Eli Bornowsky's untitled abstract dot works.

Eli Bornowsky isn’t sure if the next week is going to be fortuitous or bad, but he sure is stressed out. The Vancouver artist is presenting 10 new abstract works at Blanket Contemporary Art Inc, as well as opening a show he curated at Or Gallery.

Both shows deal with the artist’s conviction towards a particular kind of subjective experience. It’s an experience he feels abstraction does quite well.

“It has to do with thinking about your sensing, thinking about your thinking, and experiencing your experience,” says Bornowsky. “It’s also a difficult experience, which I find challenging. And that challenge is important for looking at art.”

Pages: 1 2