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Jenny Western
This Must Be the Place at Lisa Kehler Art + Projects
February 22, 2017

The Talking Heads’ 1983 single This Must Be The Place is a breezy, slightly ambivalent love song. There have been a lot of love songs to Winnipeg from the art scene over the past few years and This Must Be The Place at Lisa Kehler Art + Projects is the latest attempt to pitch some woo at our ugly-lovely city.

Scott Benessiinaabandan, Boy with a Fish on Main, 2010, digital print

There is a scrappy nostalgia here and Erica Eyres’ video work nicely sets the tone with its vignettes of oddly outdated dioramas at the Manitoba Museum. Two pieces from Scott Benessiinaabandan’s black and white photographic series Boy With A Fish situate Indigenous identity around town – from Main Street to its very edge at White Horse Plains. Sylvia Matas, Kristin Nelson, and Cyrus Smith all examine the role of erasure or synthesis in some form; Matas with her piece Two days of rain that alters newspaper clippings to reveal sections about the weather, Nelson’s digital print Parking/No Parking that divides all the parking lots out of a satellite map of Winnipeg, and Smith’s collages running the gamut of content from the Golden Boy to a girl’s head grafted onto a tiny snowsuited body.

A selection of paintings from Ian August is placed at various points around the gallery to create a thread throughout the show. His beautiful depictions of mundane objects – a pink shell-shaped soap pump, the colourful starburst on the back of a ski jacket – speak to the equivocal nature of this particular Winnipeg love letter-cum-art exhibit. I would like to believe that This Must Be The Place is in fact a side-eyed reply to the recent run of navel-gazing Winnipeg projects. Is this in fact the place? Maybe it’s time to let the Winnipeg mythologization lie dormant for a little while and take a cue from the Talking Heads: The less we say about it the better / Make it up as we go along.

Lisa Kehler Art + Projects:
This Must Be the Place continues until March 17.

Jenny Western is a curator, writer, and educator who lives in Winnipeg. She can be followed on Twitter @WesternJenny.



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