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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (18)     +     OPENINGS (12)     +     DEADLINES (5)     +     CLOSINGS (10)
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Cliff Eyland
August 30, 2010

September is the art world’s New Year, and new shows by Divya Mehra, Dominique Rey, and Wanda Koop will be like New Year’s Eve parties for us prairie folk.

The new Plug In ICA and the Governor General

But first, the Governor General swept into town a few days ago to open Plug In ICA’s new digs on the former site of an army/navy store where Winnipeggers used to buy edible candles, and where I once bought an army jacket for Carolee Schneemann. The Governor General called Winnipeg “edgy” in her remarks – high praise for Plugettes, who will stage yet another opening in November. I’m not clear how Plug In pulled this brilliant one off, I’m just grateful that I was not personally involved.

Divya Mehra. The Pleasure in Hating, 2010, digital c-print

I’m surprised to hear that her upcoming Platform exhibition will be Divya Mehra’s first solo show. She already seems to be so well known, at least in Winnipeg, where she has shown a lot, and in New York, where she attended Columbia and participated in, amongst other things, the touring exhibition Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora. She’s probably best known for a series of videos produced with Krisjanis Kaktins Gorsline while they were in grad school called Straight to Da Auction House that satirized Columbia grad students by giving them enough face time to hang themselves. She’s also well known for using images of herself in her work, but no such images will be in this show.

“When you're climbing the status ladder, you're never on the right rung,” says Div, but does that mean that she wants a higher or a lower rung on the art ladder? I hope that her Platform show is with Yeats, who wrote: “I must lie down where all the ladders start/In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.”

(left) Elisabeth Belliveau, still from Margaret’s Mountain and (right) Jessica MacCormack, still from Nothing Ever Happens

Stop motion female adolescence is currently pulsing through aceartinc., Elisabeth Belliveau and Jessica MacCormack make drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos in which they collage non sequitur references to all kinds of things. I had a short discussion with Elisabeth Belliveau about animals: we agreed that even domesticated animals – the subject of much of this work – are mysterious. As Wittgenstein said: if a lion could speak to us, we still would not understand it. This work is by two MFA graduates, but it has an outsider feel, unless the academy has by now deeply absorbed the visionary vernacular of groups like the Royal Art Lodge. Vestiges of Monty Python and Henry Darger are also here, but transmuted into dreamy imagined worlds of girlish sensibility.

Wanda Koop, Untitled from the series Hybrid Human, 2009-2010

The much loved painter and philanthropist Wanda Koop is having a retrospective at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that will tour the country, a show that follows a WAG show by another local senior artist Diana Thorneycroft. It looks like the WAG is dutifully covering the local bases.

However much the darkness of Guy Maddin’s sleepwalking night movies has come to characterize this town, colour painting has always flourished in Winnipeg. Clement Greenberg’s darling Ken Lochhead lived in Winnipeg for years, and the likes of Bruce Head and Don Reichert have animated the local scene with intense colour paintings since the1950s. Colour has always been generously sloshed around in Winnipeg, and Wanda Koop is currently head slosher.

George Agnew Reid, The Story, 1890

Other programming at the WAG interests me, especially The Academic Tradition in Europe & Canada, 1700-1900, a show that makes me wonder why we Akimblog writers don’t cover historical exhibitions more often. The WAG’s permanent collection includes some gems: a Corot landscape, several James Wilson Morrice paintings, a Raeburn (how did that get here?), and a beautiful George Reid painting right out of the Canadian art history canon. There are also a couple of important Lucus Cranachs on show.

While you are at the WAG, don’t miss a little permanent collection sculpture exhibition that includes an Yves Klein, a Sol LeWitt, and a few duds, like Ivan Eyre’s sculpture. I love Eyre’s drawing and painting but I hate his sculpture. You have until the end of January to decide for yourself.

Dominique Rey, General Infinite Love, 2008, oil on canvas

Dominique Rey is currently completing her second MFA (it’s either two MFAs or a studio PhD for young artists these days) in Berlin. Meanwhile she will show her new paintings and drawings – instead of the photography and video that we are used to from her -- at the University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03, with an afternoon opening on September 9.

Larry Glawson, Untitled (Doug & Eileen swimming), from Family Album,1982

Across town at my hangout, Larry Glawson’s J.J. Kegan McFadden curated show 27xDoug, a compilation of photographs of Glawson’s partner Doug Melnyk taken since the 1970s, is at Gallery One One One.

Cliff Eyland is a painter, writer and a curator. Since 1981, he has made paintings, drawings, and notes in an index card format. He has shown his work in public and secret installations since 1975 and has written criticism and curatorial essays since 1983. He currently teaches painting and is Director of Gallery One One One at the University of Manitoba School of Art in Winnipeg. Eyland is represented by Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto. He is Akimblog’s Winnipeg correspondent.

Platform Centre for photographic + digital arts:
Divya Mehra opens September 10 and continues until October 16.       .

Elisabeth Belliveau and Jessica MacCormack: Natural disasters, pets and other stories continues until October 1.

Winnipeg Art Gallery:
Wanda Koop: On the Edge of Experience opens September 11 and continues until November 21.
The Academic Tradition in Europe & Canada, 1700-1900 continues until January 30.
20th Century Sculpture continues until January 30.

Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg:
Dominique Rey: Pilgrims opens on September 9 and continues until October 9.

Gallery One One One:
Larry Glawson: 27 x Doug continues until September 17.



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