Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chicago Part I and way too much other stuff...

The past week has been a whirl wind of adventures and this week semems to be full of the same! Last week I went on the third year Fine Arts field trip to Chicago.... by bus! Meaning 32 total hours of bus time - it was a lot of uncomfortable shuffling in small seats but definitely worth it to see such an amazing city and discover some great new artists. It was also really interesting having just been to New York and comparing the two. One of the most noticeable differences is that Chicago's downtown smells of chocolate because of a chocolate factory close by whereas New York's streets smell like urine but overall both cities are full of excitement and possibility. My camera died about 3/4 the way through the trip and I had to buy a really cheap digital (now the same price as disposables?!) to document the rest of the art. I haven't been able to figure out how to get those last photos on my computer yet so I will have to give you the Chicago Trip Part I today and leave Chicago Trip Part II for later this week when I'm able to upload the rest of the photos! So without further adieu here's Chicago Part I!

On the way to Chicago we stopped off in Minneapolis for a day and a half so I brought a group of friends back to Ecopolitan (a raw vegan restaurant Darrin and I went to a few weeks earlier) and we drank lots of wine and every one approved of the raw food - if you are ever in Minneapolis I highly recommend dinner here!

Ecolpolitan's 'Raw'violi

Anna's looooong zucchini noodles

There was an amazing photography exhibit in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that focused on wealth - I was so amazed to see these contemporary artist's photographs in the flesh

Tina Barney - coming from a very wealthy background Tina has an insider's perspective of this lifestyle. Being raised in this setting and knowing the people she photographs enables her to go into these peoples' living spaces and capture how they live.

Cindy Sherman

Christian Jankowski's Strip the Auctioneer - a mock auction video of an auction at Christie's art auction house - the artist set up an auction with one of Christie's real auctioneers and had him sell the clothes on his back (his tie, his jacket, his socks, etc) for 'art' prices to suggest the absurdity of wealth at these events. I found this particularly interesting because I am currently reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton where she gives an outsider's perspective (or sort of - she writes for ArtForum) and goes to 'insider' events such as a Christie's art auction, an art fair, a grad school crit, and an established artists studio. I would also recommend this book to anyone interested in these different aspects of the art world.

Salvador Dali's lobster phone at the MIA

Chicago's First Lady Architecture boat tour - an awesome way to see the city and learn about its history

Oh yeah - they grow kale in the streets?? The tour guide from the Architecture boat tour was telling us that Chicago's mayor is an avid traveler and loved the flowers and plants lining the streets of Paris so he had his city planners do the same for Chicago - I found it hilarious that they chose edible plants because it's definitely not something you'd want to eat when they line the Michigan Mile considering the heavy traffic that goes through.

This was one of my two favourite galleries in Chicago (the other will be in Chicago Part II) - ECHT Gallery - it seemed to be the time of the month where artists were being switched over so they let us go in while they were taking down a previous show and putting up a new show - The work that I was most enthralled with was Christina Bothwell's 'The Landscape Within' - as you'll see I pretty much documented the whole show but for some background here's her artist statement...

' I began considering the body as a metaphor for landscape when trying to portray the "inner life" or the soul. In my own life, my intention is to see beyond the perception of a thing, to its essence - something that is a paradox when it comes to art, particularily figurative work that is generally narrative and linear. I draw on my dreams and their imagery."

I was automatically drawn to Christina's work by the light eminating from each sculpture and the cast glass she uses allows you to see right through to the inner body of her figures. Her work made my stomach flip which means she will probably be one of my main inspirations for my thesis year.

Check out this video for a broader range of her work:

The Edelman Gallery was another great gallery - full of contemporary photographs - Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison's 'Beginnings' show was on when we went - it was full of beautiful dream-like black and white photographs of water and flight.

That same afternoon Jenine, Jenny, and I met up with Jenine's friend who lives in Chicago in Wicker Park and has lunch at the Earwax Cafe. Another spot I'd recommend if you're in Chicago - they have a lot of vegan options and the area is amazing - full of vintage/thrift shopping and tons of colour :)

Their pumpkin hummus and pita was amazing but I wish I had been hungry enough to try their Vegan Eggs Benedict - I have a recipe for one in my new brunch book so I guess I'll just have to make my own!

Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

Grant Wood's American Gothic

Toulouse Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge

Fun Fact: I named one of my cats after Toulouse Lautrec - behold Toulouse! (this is a photo from about a year ago when I first got him - he still sits in the sink and drinks from the tap like this)

And that's Chicago Part I - Stay tuned for Chicago Part II!

The night before leaving for Chicago I went to see 'Phantasmagoria' a group show my friends Helga Jakobson and Sherrie Rennie were in. The show is still on and takes place at an old Winnipeg mansion now known as the Dalnavert Musuem. Phantasmagoria is a group show of art that 'haunts'. Here are some of my shots from the show...

Sherrie Rennie's Rocking Chair - Sherrie and I were in first year together and she went the sculpture route and I went painting - she loves building and welding and when tinkering with a motor one day she saw a connection to it and a heart beat. When the lights turn on in this room the rocking chair starts rocking because of the motor and is accompanied by the sound of a heart beat. It goes for about ten seconds then abruptly stops and the lights in the room go off. This is meant to a representation of Sherrie's grandmother - whenever she visits her Sherrie feels she is full of life but Sherrie fears that as soon as she leaves her grandmother "shuts off" and is all alone.

Helga's installation - made up of family heirlooms and things collected from her family home in the country. She has compiled these important objects in a way that when she shines a light on them it casts her shadow.

Helga is also our next artist at the SOFA Gallery at Edna Fedya for November! Her show De Anima is a series of screenprinted photographs that follow in the same theme as her installation above. She is heavily influenced by her country upbringing and being surrounded by both new and old farmhouses she has taken photographs of herself mimicking the forms of decaying farmhouses to show a connection between these places and the body.

Her opening is this coming Tuesday Nov. 9 from 7-9pm so if you're free come down to the University of Manitoba (1 Research Road in Smart Park) to check out her work and enjoy food from Stella's Cafe and Bakery!

In other news today was the wrap up of three days of workshops and sales for Create for Flood Relief!

My friend Rayannah Kroeker asked me to help her with an initiative to round up artists to make artist cards that would be sold in University Center at the U of M with all sales going to the Red Cross to help with the relief effort for floods in Pakistan. I was overwhelmed by the great response from artists to help out with the project and in the end we had 75 cards made! Participating artists included:

Rachel Schappert
Lauren McPhaden
Megan Dreidger
Arden Hill
Dee Barsy
Helga Jakobson
Jeremiah Valle
Lisa Bedard
Selena Panchoo
Teresa Braun
and myself

And here are some shots from the events!

Lauren making cards

Megan making cards

my cards in progress...

Cards I bought - Each card is about 3x2" so I'm going to hit up Dollarama and buy mini frames so I can hang all of this amazing miniature art in my apartment!
Top row (left to right) - Rachel Schappert (words), Lisa Bedard (photo)
Middle (L to R) - unknown artist!! (man holding child), Megan Dreidger (sea creatures), Teresa Braun (yellow smokestack), Arden Hill (pink meaty parts)
Bottom (L to R) - Cara Masonn(hand) , Kara Passey (cat)

The next few days are also going to be crazy - I'm volunteering at several different events for My City is Still Breathing - a four day conference held at local galleries and theaters where there will be performances and lectures by city planners, architects, and artists. John Waters and John K Sampson (from the Weakerthans) are talking tonight so I'll be volunteering at that as well as other events this weekend. The whole event is now free for students so if you're in the city you should check it out!

And between all these events there is still a thesis to do! Since coming back from Chicago I've completely switched gears from my paintings to making ceramic chicken/humans that will hang like they're in a slaughterhouse. I've decided to just make whatever pops into my mind rather than over-thinking things (I felt I was getting this way with my paintings) so I had sat down to start making sculptures of people's bodies but then saw a PETA brochure stuck to my wall of inspiration with chickens hanging in a slaughterhouse and decided to make those instead... with human feet and belly buttons... I find working on impulse is my best way of working.

Chicken/Human with my unfinished paintings in the background

Without dropping the chicken - a better view of how they will hang from the slaughter hooks

The other artist I discovered in Chicago (that I will delve into deeper in Chicago Part II) is Roxanne Jackson. I saw her work on the last day in Chicago in a contemporary ceramics gallery. Her work deals with humans and animals which is right up my alley and seeing her work was incredibly moving. She uses spray flock on a lot of her work which is something I plan on playing with when finishing my chicken/humans.

Well, good for you if you survived that whole post! I know it took me a long time to write! Talk to you guys soon about Chicago Part II, My City is Still Breathing, and other thesis shenanigans!

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