Winnipeg’s West End is known for its turn-of-the-twentieth-century houses. These houses, with their good bones and relatively low property taxes, have long attracted artists and cultural workers to make this neighbourhood their home. Sometimes along with the new homeowners come small galleries and alternative exhibition venues, such as Artlington Studios, Hole in the Wall Gallery/Summer Art Box, and the too-soon-gone Tumble Contemporary Art. Also As Well Too is the latest to join in the roster of West End arts spaces. It is an artist-run not-for-profit library of artists books hosted in the living room of its founder Alexis Kinloch. Also As Well Too made the Akimbo Critic’s Picks list for Winnipeg in 2015 having amassed over 250 donated artist publications and participated in a six-city Western Canadian tour during its very first year of inception.
Lindsay Arnold, Heirlooms, 2016, installation view (photo: Mandy Malazdrewich)
This year Also As Well Too opens it doors (door?) on the Hollow Earth Gallery – a small closet adjacent to the main library area. The gallery’s latest exhibition, Heirlooms, is a fitting display of the sly and unexpected one hopes to find when peeking into such an out of the way nook. North Portal, Saskatchewan-based artist Lindsay Arnold transforms the space into a kind of altarpiece – walls lined with a velvety grey wallpaper and lit by a glass oil lamp. An artist’s book masquerading as a hand-bound album recounts the weird tale of a Gibson Girl-type and her dog-beast. A small series of cartes de visite illustrate a collection of “noteworthy hats.” Delicate china plates are on display too, their patterns disrupted by images of stylish, prim women scheming against one another. Arnold’s practice employs images of Victorian-era ladies in order to delve into the darker side of decorum and perfection.
That one of the more intriguing galleries in the city right now is housed in a dim closet annexed to the living room of a West End home seems odd, perfectly natural, and pretty great.
Hollow Earth Gallery: https://alsoaswelltoo.com/hollow-earth-gallery/
Lindsay Arnold: Heirlooms continues until July 3.
Jenny Western is a curator, writer, and educator who lives in Winnipeg. She can be followed on Twitter @WesternJenny.
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