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Calgary
Dick Averns
Annie Martin at Pith
May 28, 2013

Juxtaposing castoffs, detritus, twigs, and tchotchkes into a resolved installation replete with multi-channel audio is no easy feat. Lots of practitioners deploy what some consider garbage, attempting to re-arrange such materials into something meaningful: all too many miss the mark. But Lethbridge artist Annie Martin succeeds in crafting an engaging and mesmerizing experience via everything that rises, in her two-part solo show at Pith.



Annie Martin, everything that rises, 2013, installation detail

Part of the challenge is that many viewers find this sort of assemblage a hard language to grasp and thence appreciate. Damian Ortega mastered it with added meaning in his Independent show at London's Barbican Gallery in 2010, and more locally Bogdan Cheta has also nailed a moving aesthetic along similar lines. Essentially, we know that industrially produced objects were created with supposed valid purpose, but in a throwaway society it often takes a human touch, along with craft value, to propose a fitting end. Martin's branched bouquets, wrapped variously with chicken wire, beads, threads, and baubles, appear partly as a requiem, yet the beautiful orange lichen adorning some boughs, along with tangled radio waves, offer vestiges of life.

In the upstairs gallery, her temporal drawings are seemingly traced from shadows cast by objects masquerading as everyday sundials. Primary colours are interspersed to highlight movement and, perhaps, meaning, as part of some private language or even rule-based art (you can ask the artist at the closing reception on June 22).

Lastly, kudos to Pith, now in their third year of operation, and particularly curator and founding member Stacey Watson, along with other key founders and building owner Jim Hill (principal behind Esker), for keeping this project on the road. Whilst visiting, you also might want to check out Frosst Books, now operating in the same building.


Pith: http://pithgallery.com/home
Annie Martin: everything that rises and temporal drawings continues until June22.


Dick Averns is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose exhibitions and performances have been presented internationally. He teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design, and his writing has appeared in Canadian Art, Front, On Site Review, and many catalogues. He is Akimblog's Calgary correspondent and can be followed @DickAverns on Twitter.

 

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