Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Svava Thordis Juliusson @ Big in Nova Scotia, MSVU

Svava Juliusson Blanket Sacrifice, 2003; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Last September I saw the Big in Nova Scotia exhibition at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery near Halifax. The show, curated by Ingrid Jenkner, ran from August 23 to September 28, 2014 and featured the work of nine artists. Painting, sculpture, and textile-based work made within a 33 year time-span (1980 to 2013) were included and, as the title suggests, all the artworks in this exhibition were BIG.

Svava Thordis Juliusson (b. 1966 Siglufjordur, Iceland; currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario).

The moment that I entered the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery last September, Svava Thordis Juliusson's Blanket Sacrifice grabbed my attention. How could it not? It occupied most of the gallery floor real estate. I'm familiar with Juliusson's rope and cable tie sculptures, as well as her mammoth rope and cable tie installations so her use of discarded clothing came as a surprise to me; her affinity for large scale did not.
Svava Juliusson Blanket Sacrifice, 2003; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Juliusson graduated from NSCAD in 1997 and then earned an MFA from York University in Toronto, Ontario in 2007. In the late 2000s she founded and ran List gallery on the Danforth in Toronto. She's followed this up with numerous residencies and awards.
Svava Juliusson Blanket Sacrifice, 2003; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
In 2003, Blanket Sacrifice was exhibited at ArtsPlace, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, at the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia and then it finally made its way into the collection of the MSVU Art Gallery.

Blanket Sacrifice: about 60 sheep-sized elements (salvaged woollen blankets stuffed with discarded clothing), wooden barrow, wooden platform.

All the photos were taken with permission.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Quotes: Jeanette Winterson

"A tough life needs a tough language –– and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers –– a language powerful enough to say how it is." –– Jeanette Winterson (b. 1959), British author 

Source: Jeanette WintersonWhy Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, 2011 via Katherena Vermette's North End Love Songs via my book of commonplace.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Of Note

Happy Friday y'all! This week I've had my nose to the grindstone finishing a series of mixed media tags that I started early this year. By tonight I should have at least 75 completed and by Monday I should have all 122 resolved tags finished. The challenge of working with multiples is the completion part––the scut work of applying backs, labels, and then final coats of varnish. It feels good to finally tackle this. 

Here are some things that inspire me:

• Lindsay Cameron Wilson's essay about finding voice. I'm not a food person. I don't read cookbooks or restaurant reviews. The only things that I enjoy making begin with the letter "S": soup stocks, salads, smoothies, sangria, and salad dressing. But, I do make an exception for Lindsay Cameron Wilson's food writing. Man, can she tell a story and tell it well. As I have been finding my own voice in the writing of this blog, I've had Lindsay Cameron Wilson, Anne Lamott, and Rebecca Solnit in my head. They've proved to be fine company.

• Writer, avid knitter, and die-hard cyclist Claudia Manley from Proper Tension's Centerpiece: a short story on discontent. It's brilliant and has stayed with me since I read it several weeks ago. How she "materializes" an emotion is making me think sideways about what some of my own emotions could look like in material form. As I said, it's brilliant and it makes me think.

• On the fibre front, Rieko Koga's stitched work gets my creative juices flowing. Check out her website or her Facebook page.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Frances Dorsey @ BIG in Nova Scotia, MSVU

Frances Dorsey Dragon's Teeth, 1994; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Last September I saw the Big in Nova Scotia exhibition at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery near Halifax. The show, curated by Ingrid Jenkner, ran from August 23 to September 28, 2014 and featured the work of nine artists. Painting, sculpture, and textile-based work made within a 33 year time-span (1980 to 2013) were included and, as the title suggests, all the artworks in this exhibition were BIG.

Frances Dorsey's Dragon's Teeth, one of several textile-based works in the show, was made in 1994 and was pieced with fabrics that were coloured with dyes, pigments, discharge, photo-silkscreen, and mechanical and paste resists. Its dimensions are 2.7m x 3.96 m x 8 cm and was purchased by MSVU Art Gallery in 1999. If memory serves, Dragon's Teeth is from a textile series about her father's experience as an American soldier during the Vietnam War.

Frances Dorsey (b. 1948 Tuscaloosa, Alabama) lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is an Associate Professor of textiles at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. 
Frances Dorsey Dragon's Teeth detail, 1994; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
All the photos were taken with permission.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Quotes: P. D. James

"The underlying message [of mysteries] is that no matter how difficult problems are in life –– in your own or in the life of a country or society –– in the end they can always be solved, not by divine intervention or good luck, but by human intelligence, human courage, human perseverance." –– P. D. James (1920-2014), British novelist
Source: 2010 interview with Elizabeth Renzetti (Renzetti, Elizabeth. "P. D. James was obsessed with death, but her life was well and heroically lived." Globe & Mail, Saturday November 29, 2014, p. A2) via my book of commonplace.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Poster: Kenojuak Ashevak

I found this poster from The Owls of Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013). Sadly, the exhibition is over and I did not see it. The poster is pretty sweet though.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Susie Brandt

A few years ago I wrote about the lecture and workshop that I took with Susie Brandt during the 2004 International Creators conference at Harbourfront. Last week I found my notes in an old sketchbook. At the time I noted four main attributes of her work:
1. Transformation of materials
2. Uses readily available and cheap materials–– "materials at hand"
3. Invention–– she invents new techniques and new ways of putting things together.
4. Scale––at the time of the workshop she worked in the double-bed sized scale (54 inches by 74 inches), so theoretically her pieces could function as a bed covering, although she acknowledged that they wouldn't likely be used that way.

Today I'd add:
5. Humour/Playfulness–– Brandt work reflects her wacky sense of humour and playfulness.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Quotes: Aristotle

"There can be no thought without an image." –– Aristotle (384 - 322 BC), Greek philosopher
Source: Alan Morantz. Where is Here? Canada's Maps and the Stories They Tell. 2002, p. 2 via my book of commonplace.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Danish Poet by Torill Kove


The Danish Poet by Torill Kove, 2006

I first saw this short film in 2007. The Danish Poet by Torill Kove (b. 1958), a Norwegian-born Canadian, won the 2007 Oscar for the Best Animated Short Film. If you need some enchantment for the weekend, watch this. A bonus is that it is narrated by Liv Ullmann.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Christopher Moore: Conceptual Illustration poster

Conceptual Illustration poster by Christopher Moore
Since January, I've been reviewing old sketchbooks. In one from 2004 I found this poster from the Conceptual Illustration exhibition in 1998 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. My classmate Christopher Moore taught the Conceptual Illustration class and in a previous post, I wrote that I regretted not taking the class. I still do. Christopher is an Associate Professor of Design and Computational Arts at Concordia University.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Quotes: Rob Breszny

"Kintsukuroi is a Japanese word that literally means "golden repair." It refers to the practice of fixing cracked pottery with lacquer that's blended with actual gold or silver. Metaphorically, it suggests that something may become more beautiful and valuable after being broken. The wounds and the healing of wounds are integral parts of the story, not shameful distortions to be disguised or hidden." –– Rob Breszny, Free Will Astrology, August 14, 2014, Capricorn via my book of commonplace.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Postcards: Unrolled @ Dundas Museum & Archives

Unrolled postcard
Postcards have gone the way of the dodo bird, so when I see one, especially one that is well-designed, I get excited. Last weekend my beloved and I trekked out to the Dundas Museum & Archives to see their Unrolled exhibition. I hadn't been to the museum in several years and boy had it changed! Since my last visit, it has undergone a renovation and expansion. It's no longer a tired stuffy museum. The promotional materials are as gorgeous as the exhibition.
Unrolled postcard
If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, do check out the exhibition and the museum. Unrolled is on display until June 2, 2015.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Studio Series: Squeegee Marks Pattern 3

Squeegee Marks Pattern 3 © Karen Thiessen, 2015
My next round of printmaking classes begin in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to learning collography and other ways of making marks on paper. Naturally I'll do some screen printing too as I have a lot of designs on acetate ready to be used. Above is one of Bob's squeegee marks that I put into repeat. I wonder if one can read squeegee marks like some read tea leaves?