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East Coast
Laura Kenins
2016 Critic's Picks
December 14, 2016

The first attempt at a province-wide contemporary art survey, Terroir was a multi-year project headed by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia that curated work by twenty-nine Nova Scotian artists selected from an open call. Bringing together emerging to established artists working in every media, including video installations, performance, textiles, and sculpture, the exhibition included pieces from artists like Ursula Johnson, Wayne Boucher, Melanie Colosimo, Charly Young and others. Named for a word used in wine terminology, the exhibition featured a heavy landscape slant through its various media – a sign of our fraught relationship to place in the Maritimes. AGNS curator David Diviney told me in an interview with The Coast that the gallery is considering whether the provincial survey model is “viable” for continued future exhibitions. Everyone in the arts in the province is keeping their fingers crossed it is.



Amanda Dawn Christie

Anyone who regularly makes the drive to New Brunswick from Halifax has been a witness to the basic premise of Amanda Dawn Christie’s ambitious suite of works for the past few years. As the CBC dismantled its RCI international radio transmission site outside Sackville just across the provincial border, the Moncton-based artist has been documenting the iconic site in film and other media since 2009. In 2016, she debuted two parts of the four-part project in Halifax, with the experimental documentary film Spectres of Shortwave premiering at the Atlantic Film Festival in September. She also recreated the site with an interactive scale model on the waterfront during the late-night Nocturne festival in October. Viewers could touch it to play sounds Christie recorded at the site before it was dismantled in 2014.

NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery staff lobbied to have the gallery take over a bar space in the school property that had been vacated ahead of the school’s planned move from the downtown Granville campus in 2019. Opened as a pilot project in January, the Art Bar’s main mandate is to provide a space for performance and other non-traditional art forms, but it has paid host to concerts, installations, artist talks, Dada cabarets, and inventive forms of karaoke from PowerPoint to drag. The bar has breathed new life into the community and given artists a space to casually gather and socialize. It’s the kind of space that invites conversation and new connections, and one we’ve been lacking since the old Khyber bar on Barrington shut its doors in 2007.


Laura Kenins is a writer and comic artist currently based in Halifax. She has written for CBC Arts, C Magazine, Canadian Art, The Coast, and other publications.

 

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