Tag Archives: New Positions

Strike Out to See Something Striking

It’s last call on three winter exhibitions at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Comfortable Modernism closes its showing in the concourse cases on April 9; New Positions: Alexis Bulman, Andrew Cairns, Monica Lacey, Alexandra O’Sullivan closes on April 23; and Rachel Beach: Mid-Sentence wraps on May 7.

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Curated by the Gallery’s own Jill MacRae, Comfortable Modernism features a selection of handmade tapestries designed by Canadian sculptors and painters in the mid-1970s, intended to be displayed in public spaces. Toronto’s Fay Loeb initiated the tapestry project in response to the often cold and stark common areas found in public buildings. The idea was to bring visual and physical warmth to these spaces by providing cost effective, large-scale works that could withstand the wear and tear of high-traffic areas. Over the course of the following two years, Loeb commissioned 23 tapestries of designs by sculptors and painters from across the country, such as Michael Snow and Jack Shadbolt.

Trial fabrications were completed by skilled artisans in Mexico using a punch hooking method with a hand-guided, single-needle implement, allowing the artisan to complete approximately one square foot of the tapestry per day. The completed tapestries showcase designs made specifically for this medium, while reflecting the artists’ work in other media. The complete set of 23 artists’ proof wall hangings belonging to the Art Gallery’s permanent collection are a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jules Loeb. Comfortable Modernism is on display in the Centre’s concourse until April 9.

Closing on April 23 is a selection of recent work by four young Prince Edward Island artists who represent a cross-section of developing local practices. Following a year of studio visits and interviews with over a dozen local visual artists, four were selected to represent a wide range of interests and ways of working. Ranging from photography to painting, video to installations, New Positions showcases the continual renewal of an inventive and challenging cultural scene.

The sculptures and two-dimensional works of New York-based Canadian artist Rachel Beach create a dialogue between form and surface, image and material, embracing geometry and clear lines, as well as colour, texture and pattern. While flirting with origins and the possibility of a fundamental formal order, however, the artist undermines such fixations through play, juxtaposition and staging. There is a pleasure in such play, a pleasure enhanced by the artist’s love of colour and texture. And there is also an opening up of meaning, in which the bodily references of Beach’s paper collages and inventive sculptures suggest new outlines, new limits of being, and new forms of being together. Mid-Sentence is curated by Robin Metcalfe and Pan Wendt, and produced in collaboration with Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery.

The Gallery remains open on winter/spring hours until May 14, welcoming the public from Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Emerging Island Artists Shine

‘New Positions’ Places Emerging Island Artists in the Limelight

Call them ‘the next wave’. Opening this month at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is a group exhibition of recent work from four of P.E.I.’s up and coming visual artists. Supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Program, New Positions represents a cross-section of developing local practices.

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The exhibition includes new work from Alexis Bulman, Andrew Cairns, Monica Lacey, and Alexandra O’Sullivan. The exhibition will be celebrated with an opening reception on January 28 at 7 p.m. at the Gallery. This event will also mark the opening of the historic watercolours exhibition, Introducing Caroline Louisa Daly. All are welcome for a fun gathering, including live music and cash bar.

New Positions: Alexis Bulman, Andrew Cairns, Monica Lacey, and Alexandra O’Sullivan is the result of a selection process that took place over the course of a year, including interviews and studio visits with over a dozen emerging artists. “I’ve been back on the Island for six years, and I’ve had a chance to follow the careers of a number of young artists here,” says Curator Pan Wendt. “This exhibition is a chance to show the work of some of the most promising, each of whom will present a recent body of work in the gallery.”

A NSCAD grad and a regular Art in the Open participant, Alexis Bulman is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with both performative drawings and temporary installations and sculptures that, according to her, “indulge her curiosities of intergenerational play, seasonal rituals, and the everyday anomalies of life in Atlantic Canada.” Her work has been shown in galleries across the Maritimes, in Toronto, and various visual art festivals, including Lumiere. The intent of her new project, Slowly, is to “combine my two veins of artmaking into one project that speaks broadly to the almost comical severity of Maritime winters,” she offers, “while also addressing my fascination with a season that forces the population to slow down to meet my slower, more cautious way of navigating sidewalks.”

Originally from Montague, Andrew Cairns has become increasingly visible as a maker of hard-edged, abstract paintings that produce strong optical effects. Having studied at both NSCAD and King’s College, Cairns recently exhibited at Art in the Open, afterimage (CCAG), Receiver Coffee Company, and The Hive on PE.I, and at various Halifax galleries. His work has also been featured as a backdrop for poetry-based performances. His latest paintings focus on actualizing memory idols. “This is accomplished through the repetition of lines, shapes, and colours, which can be purely aesthetic or alternatively representative of the problem solving carried out by the mind in sleep and conscious memory,” states Cairns. “The larger focus of this series is the assimilation of my persistent memories, or memory behaviors, into concrete images.”

Monica Lacey is a multidisciplinary artist based in Charlottetown. Her current work explores ideas of house and home, altered memory and nostalgia, privacy, and interactions with the natural world through photography, video, and installation. Since completing her Diploma at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, she has completed residencies in Canada and the U.S. and her work can be found in collections across North America. Her latest work, Domestics is a photo collection examining the loss of identity women often experience in domestic settings. “This series delves deeper into investigations begun in my previous series, Couples on Couches, examining domestic space and the roles we play within it,” says Lacey. Couples on Couches has been featured at the Craig Gallery, UPEI, and as part of the 2016 group exhibition Holding the Pose: Portraits from the Collection (CCAG).

Alexandra O’Sullivan, who recently entered Concordia University’s Fine Art program in Montreal, has become known on the Island as a maker of video projections that are often presented in collaboration with musicians and DJ’s. The multidisciplinary artist works primarily in performance, video, and electronics; often combining all three. Much of her work focuses on the intersections of science-fiction, fantasy, and escapism. Her most recent video, QUENCH, is a compilation of video vignettes that use greenscreen effects to insert the artist and other objects from the ‘real’ world into an alternate, fantasy landscape. Her work has been presented at Halifax’s You’re Welcome Gallery, Art in the Open, afterimage, The Guild, and will be presented as part of an upcoming group performance piece in Montreal, entitled RELI EF.

New Positions at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery opens January 28 and will be on exhibition until April 23, 2017.