Small Feats / Sat 8 April 2017

SMALL FEATS
Saturday 8 April 2017
Doors at 8PM
VIP Preview at 7:40PM

Largest Art Exhibit + Sale in Niagara

We’re gearing up for the biggest art-buying frenzy and party of the year!

We put the call out to the artist members of NAC to create remarkable works of art and they responded!  We’ve got more submissions than ever.

While we’re still offering up sweet square foot works of art for $200, we’ve added an even smaller option to this year’s wall. Pick up 6”x 8” original artwork for $100.

BELIEVE THE HYPE!

Stay tuned for a preview of the show!

Governor General Awards NAC Artists!

Governor General Awards NAC Artists!

If you want to see the best visual and media artists in the nation, you need look no further than your down-home Artist-run Centre, NAC.

The Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Awards were announced on 15 February. Of the eight individuals awarded, two were good friends of NAC and recent exhibitors at our centre. For the quantitatively inclined that’s an astonishing 25%, or one quarter, of this year’s winners connected to NAC!

Congratulations to Shelley Niro and Mike Hoolboom. Videos about these whip-smart artists and kind-as-peach-pie people are on the Canada Council’s website right here. Congratulations to both, it’s well-earned and high time!

http://ggavma.canadacouncil.ca/

Keeping NAC Cool

KEEPING NAC COOL

In an effort to beat the heat, NAC will be closed for a few weeks beginning Thursday 2 February.
 
With remarkable foresight we’ll be closed for renovations during the winter doldrums so that an air conditioning system can be installed along with LED lighting and black out blinds for the Plate Glass Gallery.
 
These renovations are made possible thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and support from our friends at Oast House Brewers.
 
NAC will officially reopen on Saturday 8 April with our annual Small Feats fundraiser and party. That’s a humdinger not to be missed.
 
Though we won’t be keeping regular gallery hours, the Plate Glass Gallery will remain open with work by Alex Fraser and Puppet-A-Go-Go, the Flea Market Gallery with work by Alicia Nauta, and other sporadic events peppered throughout the calendar including The Brock Art Collective’s annual exhibit in the Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery on Friday 24 February. (We’ll hold limited gallery hours the week of the show so you can check out Niagara’s latest crop of up and comers.)
 
As well, NAC will continue with its Film House programming at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. NAC’s Minister of Energy, Minds, and Resources will be moonlighting as DJ Awkward Mix in The Film House lobby on Wednesday 1 February and Saturday 11 February, playing country blues in advance of the I AM THE BLUES doc. Join us for a pre-show drink!
 
NAC’s board directors are also working out the details of our next culinary spectacular fundraiser to take place a little further down St. Paul at Bolete at the end of February. Tickets will go on sale next week.
 
And finally, we’re working away at NAC’s new STUDIO SHOP at 433 St. Paul and getting ready for a grand opening this March. Fifteen NAC Member artists have established studio spaces and storefront renovations to make the wildest retail space in town are well underway. 

If you need to get in touch with us, you can email natasha@nac.org or artists@nac.org.

Wish You Were Here / review by Bart Gazzola

Wish You Were Here: 23 Days at Sea
Review by Bart Gazzola for The Sound STC
December 2016

Many artworks employ an aesthetic of experience: intending to communicate the understanding of an event or occurrence that the artist has undergone / endured, or alternately that is worthy of recounting in a space of examination and consideration, like a collaborative act of remembrance. The current show at the Niagara Artists Centre, Chapter 1: Twenty-Three Days at Sea, is of that ilk.

The four artists that occupy the gallery space (Nour Bishouty, Christopher Boyne, Elisa Ferrari and Amaara Raheem) have a starting point that’s communal, but each brings their own understanding and history to this unique residency project. “Time stands still in travel” and thus we have slim vignettes of multiple intersecting experiences. Sometimes they overlap, and sometimes not.

Twenty-Three is a unique project. Its relevant not just for considering how a cultural space can continue to foster creativity amid the madness of late capitalist frenzies of Vancouver real estate. Access Gallery in that city is the genesis of not solely this exhibition, but several “chapters” to come.

It also disrupts assumptions about “place.” In the Canadian “narrative”, place taints everything conceptually. In the post colonial / post modernist / post factual world, it’s yet another means by which we de / construct experience…

The descriptor: “In December 2014, Access Gallery….issued a call for…a highly unconventional artist residency, offering selected emergent and experimental artists passage aboard cargo ships sailing from Vancouver to Shanghai. Crossing the Pacific Ocean takes approximately twenty-three days, during which time artists will be considered “in residence” aboard the vessel…two candidates [would] inaugurate this multi-year project by setting sail in late summer 2015. [What] we had initiated was not simply an artist residency, but a powerful framework through which to address the complexity of our contemporary condition. The cargo ship — sailing across a vast and “empty” space of the sea, nearly always invisible to those on shore and yet inextricably threaded through all our lives — seemed to offer a near bottomless container for the imagination, for narrative and for cultural critique.”

The gallery is divided foursquare with the artists’ respective works separated (almost like a map). Boyne’s delightful installation Geneva, immediately to your left as you enter the Showroom space, mirrors a far table of photographs (gloves are provided for your perusal of the stacks of  glossy, large prints) and objects, immersed in an overpowering, almost unpleasant audio fog, at the far end of the room, from Ferrari. Her works is Untitled (“To stay in the hold of the ship, despite my fantasies of flight”).

Boyne’s work has a guileless quality. Partly because his many “ships” and “nautical” objects, like a child’s field of toy soldiers, have a playful nature that invites handling. There’s a simplicity, a starkness, to Geneva (wood, paint, brass) that evokes a long trip across a vast expanse, the isolation and loneliness of this, the emptiness and the understandable joy when you recognize a fellow traveller, in another ship, that passes you on the waters. Some of the “ships” are delicate and detailed, others are rough facsimiles of “boat”, like with any act of travel or movement that is so vastly abstract that we need to incorporate it into our imagination to understand it. Colour is sparse here (blocks of orange, cones of dark blue) as most of the pieces are beige with a touch of detail, some easily fitting in your hand. Others are tiny and could be lost on the floor, like a drop in a wider ocean.

This minutiae, this construction of meaning through repetitions of small “pieces” (a visual diary) connects to the personal narratives of Amaara Raheem, from lists of items (titled Time, Body, Things) or her soft, watery video (titled submerged) that seems as self reflective as it is oddly ambiguous (is it swimming or drowning? Leaving or arriving, or simply in an interstitial space in between?).

The video projections of Nour Bishouty also engage in first person narratives, tales told. Her inkjet prints from the series Shifting Surfaces, however, are more immediately engaging: the monochromatic images are vague and abstracted, but lovely in their delicate white frames.
These are all “practices defined by a perceptible and sustained state of “seeking” bodies of work produced in response to their voyages, along with published reproductions of their logbooks kept while at sea.” These are interesting enough to peruse separate from the exhibition, or to skim before / after the gallery space.

The excessive, almost aurilly abusive pulse of noise in the back of the gallery, in Ferrari’s work, is an honest replication of her experience. It has the veracity of repeated violence: perhaps in that respect its most successful in small doses, and like much audio art, plays with pushing the comfort of the “listener,” but regrettably I’ve little desire to sift the images or handle the objects on the table while I also gain a headache.

Twenty-Three is an interesting response to an immediate reality: whether the displacement of cultural spaces in Vancouver, or a site that is often “outside” artistic consideration (Mandy Barber, a U.K. based artist once produced an entire series about “public spaces that are owned by no one”, and many of these were / are spaces of travelling). But as the first “chapter”, I look forward to future work produced through these residencies that evoke more interest and engagement.

<< This review first appeared in The Sound STC >>

Alicia Nauta: I am the house and the person of that house / Flea Market Gallery

I am the house and the person of that house
Alicia Nauta

Flea Market Gallery
46 Turner Crescent

Opens Sunday 16 October

Images collected from earlier publications, such as home decor guides from the 60’s and 70’s, botanical guides and encyclopedias, and pre-computer graphic design manuals, form the basis of the work. These images are then manipulated by photocopying and cutting and pasting to create collaged compositions, which are then screen printed by hand.

By drawing on shared visual fragments of the past, the compositions are reassuringly familiar. At the same time, these visual fragments are combined in a way that challenge logic, space, and time, leaving the viewer unsettled or alienated, questioning reality. The compositions reflect on the dualities and exchanges present in all forms of human and natural life: with light, there is darkness; with progress, there is decline. Environmental degradation, the crumbling of civilization, abstracted and psychedelic reality, domestic space, and human belonging are key themes that are explored. Within these pieces lies a simultaneous celebration and mourning for a world we are only passing through. It has been here before us, and will remain long after we are gone.

The screenprinted wallpaper, titled Nana and Helper, was inspired by the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, as well as a vintage wallpaper on the ceiling of a room in a family cottage. With this work, the artist depicts a fragment of domestic life: our homes and objects are transitory, temporary structures that offer us sentimental value, helping to ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. This piece struggles with the desire to find a place to belong to without claiming ownership to that place.