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Cliff Eyland
Winnipeg
April 13, 2009

I’ve always been partial to the rural avant-garde, maybe because I’ve lived in Halifax and Winnipeg, where rurality, unless you are well diked, floods up your back door every day. That’s why I was especially glad to see Tyler Brett and Serena McCarroll’s work at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Brett and McCarroll are urban hipsters who moved from Vancouver to Bruno, Saskatchewan (population 590) in order to live and make art. Check out www.allcitizens.org for an overview of their brave project.    

 
 
 
The centre of Bruno, Saskatchewan’s avant-garde is Tyler Brett and Serena McCarroll’s All Citizens gallery.
 
 
If you make it to Brandon for this show, also check out Tim Schouten’s encaustic horse paintings, Colette Balcaen’s stitched portraits, and Heather Benning’s spooky house sculptures. All are well worth the flood plain drive!
 
 
 
Clockwise from the top left: Graduating art student Seth Woodyard’s wall-mounted geodesic dome at Gallery One One One makes reference to the artist’s birth in his parent’s geodesic house; Intro Painting student Dee Barsy hangs a picture in the Art Barn for Open House; graduating art student Heather Komus’s tree made of human hair and pig bladder at Gallery One One One.
 
Once again it is student art season, when the latest art school sensations flood Winnipeg’s galleries with hope, promise, and fresh stuff. Winnipeg’s art school produces painters and drawers, photographers, video and performance artists, ceramic artists, and sculptors. The strangely named The Unforeseen Meaningfulness of Ordinary Things at the strangely named Cre8ery Gallery, which featured graduating photo students Karen Asher, Janessa Brunet, Dylan Hewlett, Mandy Hyatt, Heather Laube and Roger Wong, has just closed and you may have missed it, but there are many more University of Manitoba School of Art shows around town, for example at aceartinc., Outworks Gallery, La Maison des artistes visuels francophones, GOSA Gallery and Gallery One One One.
       
            
 
Ian August, Icebreakers on the Red
 
The urban art collective Two Six is Cyrus Smith, David Wityk, Shaun Morin, Mélanie Rocan, Ian August, Fred Thomas, and the 2009 Juno Award-winning DJ Brace (aka Mike Topf). An art team that nails painted abstract blocks they call “prefabs” around town, Two Six have been active for six or seven years now but are growing independent of each other, as all collectives eventually do. Many of them are doing well: Topf has become a national music star, Rocan and Moran have become nationally recognized artists, and Cyrus Smith has gone deep into his graffiti art roots.
 
Ian August has kept up his Two Six work, done a stint in Banff learning how to be a museum preparator, and developed his painting chops. August’s Urban Shaman Gallery exhibition features lush realist paintings of local work-a-day subjects such as riverboats and icebreaking machines. Paintings on book covers and graphic works on paper that relate to his street art days are also included.
 
While you are at Urban Shaman, you won’t want to miss Steve Loft’s harrowing ...welcome...a history in two parts.
 
 
 
Top: A painting by Michael Benjamin Brown that uses an image of a frozen face from the ill-fated Franklin expedition. Bottom: An appropriated image.
 
Michael Benjamin Brown has returned to Winnipeg with a Gallery 803 show after finishing a graduate degree at London’s Chelsea, an experience he says gave him a clearer view of Canada. He found British misconceptions about native culture and Canadian wilderness to be particularly interesting. Brown’s recent drawings, paintings, stories, and appropriated images about wilderness disasters (especially plane crashes) also relate, I’d bet, to Brown’s dad being a commercial airline pilot and Brown himself having a pilot’s license. Here’s an artist who knows how things can go wrong in the air and how misconceptions can kill.
 
 
 
Terrance Houle
 
Like Kent Monkman, Edgar Heap of Birds, and James Luna, to name a few aboriginal artists, and Erwin Wurm, Maurizio Cattelan, and Martin Creed, to name an Austrian, and Italian and a Brit, Terrance Houle is a conceptual jokester. Plug In ICA’s Anthony Kiendl has put together a five-year survey of this Calgary artist that includes boner jokes, documentation of the artist’s urban meanderings in native costume, and much else.
 
 
 
Cliff Eyland is an artist and Director of the University of Manitoba’s Gallery One One One in Winnipeg.
 
 
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba: http://agsm.ca/
Exhibitions continue until April 19.
 
Urban Shaman Gallery: http://www.urbanshaman.org/
Ian August: WINNIPEG HYDRO continues until April 25.
Steve Loft’s ...welcome...a history in two parts continues until April 25.
 
Michael Benjamin Brown: The Terror and Erebus continues until April 30.
 
Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art: http://www.plugin..org/
Terrance Houle: GIVN’R continues until May 16.
 
 
A Selection of Winnipeg Year End Art Student Shows:
 
A show of University of Manitoba School of Art thesis work continues until April 24.
 
Mystery Meat opens April 17 and continues until April 30.
 
La Maison des artistes visuels francophones: http://www.maisondesartistes.mb.ca/
Quoi de Neuf opens April 16 and continues until May 15.
 
Beyond the Wheel: University of Manitoba Ceramics Thesis Graduates continues until April 17.
 
GOSA Gallery: http://gosa.umsu.ca/
Dinner Conversations: Ceramics Major continues until April 17.
 

 

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