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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (10)     +     OPENINGS (10)     +     DEADLINES (2)     +     CLOSINGS (14)
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Milena Placentile
MILENA PLACENTILE in Winnipeg 11/01/11
November 01, 2011

The reasons I adore Winnipeg and the people who live here are innumerable, but if I had to narrow it down to just a few points, I'd tell you I adore the capacity with which Winnipeggers work together and self-organize. Our festivals, group shows, and other grassroots initiatives never cease to satisfy, regardless of whether the outside world is watching. These past few month have demonstrated this to no exception, and with so much time passing since my last report, I'm struggling to narrow this one down to just a few choices. Read on for a few shout-outs woven into more detailed coverage.

Post No Bills (photo: Joe Kalturnyk)

A new generation of local collectives and spaces include the Central Canadian Centre for Performance (now calling for submissions to its fourth edition of KATALOG), Negative Space, RAW:Gallery of Architecture and Design, and Golden City Fine Art. Their activity has been notable. For example, the latter two collaborated with Martha Street Studios to present Winnipeg's first artist-run art fair during this summer's Fringe Festival. Called Post No Bills, participants as diverse as Neil Farber, Paul Robles, Leslie Supnet, and Noam Gonick delivered an unsuspecting treasure trove to the crowds of theatre enthusiasts not usually found wandering the Exchange District. Having tapped into all the things Winnipeggers love best, from thrifty deals to the sense of stumbling onto something top secret, this initiative is sure to return next year.

Installation view of SCRATCH, STAIN, FOLD: A one night stand of works on paper

Negative Space is only a few months old but has already hosted many memorable events, including awesome live music shows. Most recently, SCRATCH, STAIN, FOLD: A one night stand of works on paper organized by Andrea Roberts and Jessica Evans pulled together great hot-off-the-page pieces by well-known artists such as Shaun Morin, as well as artists we ought to see more from, including Ryan Trudeau. Members of the Negative Space collective hold only a one-year lease on a building with an uncertain future, so there are no long-term plans afoot, but if the past few months have been any indication, whatever time remains is going to be awesome!

Also notable...

Hovercraft: Navigating the Shorelines of Art and Craft hosted at aceartinc. in August featured the work of seven early career artists with practices involving just what you might suspect given the title of the show. Contributions by Heather Komus and Takashi Iwasaki stood out remarkably.

Ignite: A Spark Members Exhibition curated by Kristen Nelson at Martha Street Studios from September 15th to October 21st featured work by  Ted Howorth, Susan P. Gibson, Daphne Enns, and Susan Lamberd, and affirmatively challenged assumptions about the scope of practice by artists with disabilities while simultaneously cultivating new relations and visibility.

Glen Johnson, Artistic License Bureau (photo: Monica Lowe)

All this hurrah over group shows should not suggest an absence of notable solo-productions. Glen Johnson's Artistic License Bureau, which showed at PLATFORM centre for photographic + digital arts was the single most absorbing installation I've engaged with in years. Because it is so terribly nerdy, I will resist to urge to declare ALB a genuine gesamtkunstwerk, and I'll avoid detailing the ways in which it achieves Kabakov's criteria as a Total Installation. (Hint: It has something to do with the data entry clerk's demeanour and desk personalization.) Instead I'll note that while I previously wondered how this project might operate beyond art for artists or as an inside joke, I discovered a perfectly nuanced reflection on the bureaucracy and standardization that plagues all aspects of western society beneath the veneer of so-called “creativity”. My thoughts on the professionalization of arts practices are too lengthy to address in the space of this blog, but as a topic dished out through this work, professionalization, compartmentalization, and rules in general are the death of all things that shape human exchange and build community in an organic and appealing fashion. Those working in a so-called “creative” field with nothing more than a desire for validation might at least wish to contemplate the structures of power that grant or deny such status and it's trappings.

Guy Maddin, Hauntings 1

Not all installations tantalize, and it appears the means of delivery for which a work was created is often the best means by which it should be viewed. Having a longstanding appreciation for Guy Maddin's work as a filmmaker, I was eager to visit Hauntings 1 also presented at PLATFORM, this time in partnership with the WNDX Festival of Film and Video Art. The installation was originally commissioned for presentation at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, so maybe that's where things went awry—it's tough enough to move an installation, but particularly so when the nitty gritty of a presentation space fail to be made invisible by the work, so to speak. It was either the layout, lighting, materials, or a combination thereof that detracted from this multichannel projection of films otherwise viewable as a loop (without obstruction) on the other side of the dividing wall. I spent no shortage of time in the space and witnessed the full program of shorts. I found myself particularly drawn to The Brian Sinclair Story and another piece with an uncharacteristically contemporary soundtrack about clouds, but I didn't find the installation moved me into Maddin's work in new or different ways. Unless an installation can add an unanticipated dimension, a straight up single-channel viewing is perfectly adequate.

Chantal Dupas

Reports on the death of painting have been greatly exaggerated and we all know this, but anyone needing a reminder found it in Chantal Dupas' visceral body of work at La Maison des artistes visuels francophones. Presented as a two-person show with Matthieu Bohémier under the title Surface de l'obsession (The Surface of Obsession), Dupas' work—which also included ink collage and sculpture—struck me as a much deeper, more provocative, and psychological affair. Beginning as a desire to work through indelible encounters with carcasses while travelling in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Dupas' investigation of hunting and flesh as a commonplace cultural practice for survival confronts urban ideological opposition to tracking and killing for food and/or sport. Conjuring the stylistic ghost of Francis Bacon and the memento mori thematics of painters before him, in an age where slick youth and pre-marinated top sirloin prevails, Dupas finds a challenging beauty in what many viewers will find otherwise highly uncomfortable.

Jaimz Asmundson, The Magus, film still

My mention of Jaimz Asmundson's latest accomplishment, The Magus, was skipped last time 'round, but now that it has officially premiered as part of the Winnipeg Film Group's Gimme Some Truth documentary film festival, I am compelled to note this mythic short about a day in the life of mad genius painter C. Graham Asmundson. It is perhaps only due to the fact that Graham is Jaimz's father that the filmmaker was able to get so close to his subject, thus revealing the most arcane aspects of his magick reality. Winnipeg is a place shrouded in myth, and this film will—without a doubt—be a quintessential part of what is passed down. Find the trailer here and keep an eye out for past and future work by Asumndson and his collaborators.

Double Hook live as part of (((send+receive))) v. 13

Irene Bindi and Aston Coles, Winnipeg-based interdisciplinary artists originally from London, Ontario, are Double Hook, the ultimate family noise band. Opening the final night of performances taking place as part of (((send+receive))) v. 13, they crushed definitions of loud with a purpose-adapted drum kit and homemade zero-input amplification devices, performed atop the most quirky set of speakers you ever did see. The soundcheck was fierce and the live show drew applause like I've never before witnessed at an experimental audio fest. Documentary recordings do not do it justice.

One last shout-out for the artists featured as part of Nouvelle 'peg: A New Generation of Winnipeg Artists, which opened at Gurevich Fine Art on October 14: Gillian King, Jen Adams, Megan Krause, Rachel Schappert, Ryan Trudeau, Sam Jarmasz, and Sara Perkins. Perhaps it's my imagination, but it seems as though it has been quite some time since such a solid slate of artists not only graduated, but demonstrated commitment to their practice while carving out a place of their own within the community itself. If this is the new generation, the future is looking bright.

Milena Placentile is a curator and writer living in Winnipeg. She is a Co-Director of Atomic Centre and Akimblog’s Winnipeg correspondent.

Negative Space:
See website for current exhibitions.

See website for current exhibitions.

See website for current exhibitions.

La Maison des artistes visuels francophones:
See website for current exhibitions.



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Comments (newest first)      +click to add comment


Posted by couthrachelle, on 2012-02-05 02:39:17
you must read chanel online shop and get big save

Posted by Milena, on 2012-01-28 10:36:47
to the unidentified commentor below... an aw shucks for you, too ;-) *haha*

Posted by , on 2011-11-03 10:22:35
Of course you can't mention the programming at the Atomic Centre, 'cause you are involved, but I can! Excellent stuff, M!

Posted by , on 2011-11-03 10:19:34

Posted by Alice, on 2011-11-02 22:19:16
You pretty much said what i could not effectively communicate. +1

My blog:
regrouper credit et rachat de credit

Posted by Milena, on 2011-11-01 12:09:09
Aw, shucks! We love and miss you Steve!

In other news... a quick correction -- the part about Guy Maddin's work involving an "uncharacteristically contemporary soundtrack about clouds" should actually read about dreams and film (clouds like white sleep, kino, sleepy kino)

Posted by steve loft, on 2011-11-01 11:42:14
Milena, you and Winnipeg continue to kick serious ass!