Thread/Machine Embroidery Installation
On display from 30 March – 26 August
Neon Bloom is a thread installation that transforms the gallery into a faux ecosystem as a means of considering reactive and adaptive strategies. Comprised of hundreds of suspended sculptural elements, this constructed ecosystem is further shaped by the artist’s imagination of how nutrient cycles, energy flows, and topologies might affect these blooming forms.
For this project the artist begins with a sewing machine to create three dimensional thread drawings. Stitched lines are made on a temporary surface by sewing onto fabric that dissolves in water. The crossing threads create strength so that when the fabric is dissolved the thread drawing can hold together without a base. These flat embroideries are then sculpted with heat to create a three-dimensional form.
During the installation period leading up to the opening of the show, Neon Bloom takes on a life of its own in the gallery space, hooking into ceilings, spreading across walls, wedging into corners and anchoring along ledges. Once the installation process is complete, hundreds of blooms cluster, float and spread through the space, creating an intensely coloured and immersive environment.
Neon Bloom investigates the sculptural potential of this embroidery process and explores the dualities that embroidery offers – the subtle qualities versus an accumulative and persistent presence and the structural possibilities versus the inherent fragility.
Amanda McCavour is a Toronto-based artist who works with stitch to create large-scale embroidered installations. She is interested in thread’s assumed vulnerability, its ability to unravel, and its strength when it is sewn together.
McCavour uses a sewing machine to create thread drawings and installations. By sewing into fabric that dissolves in water, she can build up stitched lines on a temporary surface. The crossing threads create strength so that when the fabric is dissolved, the thread drawing can hold together without a base. With only the thread remaining, these images appear as though they would be easily unraveled and seemingly on the verge of falling apart, despite the works raveled strength.
Through an exploration of line and its 2-d and 3-d implications, stitch is used in her artwork to explore various concepts such as connections to home, the fibers of the body and more formal considerations of thread’s accumulative presence. Amanda’s work explores embroidery’s duality- it’s subtle quality versus it’s accumulative
presence and its structural possibilities versus its fragility. Through experimentation and creation within her studio, she continues to investigate line in the context of embroidery, drawing and installation.
McCavour holds a BFA from York University where she studied drawing and installation and has recently completed her MFA in Fibers and Material Studies at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. McCavour shows her work in galleries nationally and internationally with recent solo exhibitions in Gatineau (QB), Williamsport (PA) and Vancouver (BC). She has received awards and scholarships from the Ontario Crafts Council, The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of America, The Ontario Crafts Council, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Surface Design Association and The Embroiderers Guild of America for her work.
The Swizzle Circus
A puppet installation by
Christine Cosby + Rob Elliott (Swizzle Studio)
Plate Glass Gallery at NAC
On view until 31 December 2016
Twenty-four hours a day!
This bright and dynamic installation is inspired by Alexander Calder’s “Circus”, department store holiday windows, and Swizzle Studio’s ongoing fascination with spectacle.
The centerpiece, “The Cowardly Lion Tamer”, is flanked by such circus mainstays as clowns, wild animals, daredevils, and roustabouts. Above the fleeing lion tamer, a human cannonball flies and acrobats soar through the air.
Gasping at the wild scene is an audience of puppets created by the members of Puppet-A-Go-Go: Christine Cosby, Rob Elliott, Alexa Fraser, Clelia Scala, and Trisha Lavoie. Swizzle Circus is the third of four Plate Glass Gallery installations for Puppet-A-Go-Go’s “In The Park” series. Swizzle Circus can be seen 24 hours a day until New Year’s Day.
I am the house and the person of that house
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.
twenty-three days at sea
Nour Bishouty / Christopher Boyne / Elisa Ferrari / Amaara Raheem
Friday 14 October 2016 7PM
Showroom Gallery at NAC
“The boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea… (it is a) great instrument of economic development, but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination…”
– Michel Foucault
The Niagara Artists Centre is pleased to present Twenty-Three Days at Sea, Chapter One, curated by Kimberly Phillips, director/curator of Access Gallery in Vancouver, BC, as part of the Concept of Vancouver Conference happening in Downtown St. Catharines 13 and 14 October.
In December 2014, Access Gallery—in partnership with Burrard Arts Foundation—issued a call for submissions 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 are considered “in residence” aboard the vessel. The response to this call was overwhelming. By deadline Access had received nearly 900 proposals submitted by artists from around the world, as far afield as Sevastopol, Lahore, Sao Paolo, and St. Petersburg.
The idea for this residency project was provoked in part by the fact that Access Gallery is a small, publicly-funded artist-run centre based in a city whose notorious real estate market renders the spatial demands of a traditional residency particularly nearly impossible to realize. Lacking the capacity to host artists on Vancouver’s terra firma for any meaningful length of time,the organization cast its thinking out to sea. But far more importantly, Twenty-Three Days at Sea offered the opportunity to ask an important set of questions relevant to our own socio-political coordinates in a major port city on the Pacific Rim. How can art responsibly bring visibility to the system of sea-borne freight, a system within which we are implicated, but which most of us neither see clearly nor fully understand? How might we interrogate romanticism about the role of the artist as “witness”? What does “risk” mean in artistic practice today?
The exhibition Twenty-Three Days at Sea, Chapter One presents new bodies of work by the residency’s inaugural four artists–Nour Bishouty, Christopher Boyne, Elisa Ferrari, and Amaara Raheem–produced in response to their time spent on the open sea. While diverse in their treatment of both media and subject matter, each of these artists’ practices is marked by a perceptible state of seeking. Their works on exhibition do not directly convey their experiences on the cargo vessels. Rather, through sculpture, sound, video, gathered ephemera, text, and movement, they meditate on the carriage of experience itself, as well as the complexity of translation, the fallibility of recall, and the conditions of complicity.
These new bodies of work, along with published reproductions of their logbooks kept while at sea, will be presented at the Niagara Artists Centre from Friday 14 October – Friday 23 December 2016.
Born in Jordan and currently based between Toronto and Beirut, Nour Bishouty’s work, which takes shape through installations, images, objects and text, explores ways that narrative can be wound to locate or fabricate connectivity. Recent work has focused on examining the meanings of belonging and affiliation and their peculiar relationship to place. Bishouty holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was a fellow at the 2014/15 Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan.
Christopher Boyne works from impressions, sentiment, and remembered matter, in a practice that is driven by Williams Carlos Williams’ dictum, “no ideas but in things.” He uses photography (both moving and still) and sculpture to consider how fleeting experience can be distilled through recall into form, and understands his work to function like storytelling, stimulating nostalgia, reflection, reminiscence, and regret. Born in Halifax and now based between Halifax and Montreal, Boyne is a graduate of Concordia’s MFA program.
Born in Italy and based in Vancouver, Elisa Ferrari’s practice aims to uncover disparities between historical documentation and experience, and frequently asks how everyday activities become articulated tactics that might enable critiques of institutional power. She works with archival fragments of text, image, and videography to consider the act and implications of retrieval, in projects that manifest through installation, performance, sound, and photography. Ferrari is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s MAA program. Since 2013 she has served as Events and Exhibitions Curator at VIVO Media Arts Centre and as member of the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive Committee.
Amaara Raheem is a Sri Lankan born dance artist, based between Melbourne, Australia, and London, UK. Placing her own body in fluid states Raheem’s practice investigates the aesthetics and ethics of mobility, by playing with equivalence and rupture. Based in the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University, Raheem collaborates with designers to make movement as objects. She is interested in creating spaces, from, in, of the body, so that we can question the coherence of systems we create to “know” the world around us and to shift our place, more often than not from the centre of things to the shore-lines, where liquids and solids meet tidal forces, to disturb and devolve the status quo.
Twenty-Three Days at Sea: A Travelling Artist Residency is produced by Access Gallery in partnership with the Burrard Arts Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Partial sponsorship of the sea voyages is graciously offered by Reederei NSB, assistance in Asia by China Residencies and Art Contraste, and at the Port of Vancouver by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Access is grateful for the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia government through the BC Arts Council and BC Gaming, the City of Vancouver, and our donors, sponsors, members and volunteers.
Puppet-A-Go-Go in the Park
Christine Cosby, Alexa Fraser, Trish Lavoie, Clelia Scala
Plate Glass Gallery at NAC
OPENING RECEPTION Saturday 1 October 7PM
Puppet-A-Go-Go’s upcoming exhibit mimics the summer outdoor theatre festival experience, showcasing a series of four “static performances” on a stage for an audience of enthralled puppets. The public is invited to peek into this world of puppets anytime night or day, through the windows of Niagara Artist Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery.
The outdoor theatre puppet diorama will be on exhibit from September 23, 2016 through January 28, 2017
for viewing anytime. The exhibit features puppets created by the Puppet A Go Go artist collective: Christine Cosby, Alexa Fraser, Trisha Lavoie and Clelia Scala and special guest artists. Viewers will be inspired to re-visit the window diorama and use their imagination to interpret the “static performances” that will be presented over the 4 month “festival.” Special puppet celebrity appearances are included in the festival line-up, and the audience is a wild assortment of colourful characters.
Niagara Artist Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery (354 St Paul St, St. Catharines) can be viewed from the sidewalk any time on any day. Show runs September 23, 2016 through January 28, 2017.
The first performance of the “festival” features puppet and sculpture work by Clelia Scala. You will have to see the mayhem and drama for yourself! This performer has a “no photos” rule and will destroy any paparazzi seen lurking about….
Clelia Scala is a St. Catharines-based mask and puppet maker, collage artist and illustrator. She has numerous theatre and publications to her credit – check her out at http://www.clelia.ca
Puppet-A-Go-Go’s Opening party is Saturday October 1 at NAC, 7-10pm. It will be the NAC party of the week – promise!
Puppet-A-Go-Go artist collective’s mantra is “Bringing Puppets to the People and People to the Puppets”. Puppet-A-Go-Go in the Park is a follow-up to the wildly popular “1000 Finger Puppets” collaboration exhibited at NAC in April 2016.
Puppet-A-Go-Go are all over social media like felt scraps on the studio floor.
Follow Puppet-A-Go-Go on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/puppetagogo
Check out the artists’ and their puppet-making work on their blog https://puppetagogo.wordpress.com
Email them at email@example.com
Special presentation in the Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
Opening reception Saturday 3 September at 7:30PM
Closing reception with readings Friday 14 October at 7:30PM
paintings n drawings in konkreet vizual pomes
silent awksyun silent awksyun
Scenes from Late Capitalism
Opening Reception Friday 15 July 2016 7PM
Show Room Gallery at NAC
My work is largely concerned with the role of architecture in society as a symbol of cultural values and history. Architecture represents a significant investment of time, resources, and design knowledge, and while we celebrate this fact in the achievements of our celebrity architects, we are less apt to acknowledge the achievement inherent in our more utilitarian structures. The American landscape, in fact, is full of contemporary ruins of factories, hotels, schools, and other architecture that has fallen by the wayside in an aggressively consumerist society. Each of these abandoned structures forms the nucleus of a small narrative, often one of lost livelihoods, budgetary cuts, and dying industries.
I choose to decontextualize the subject of each drawing, removing the structure from its surroundings and isolating it on a white ground. This aesthetic decision is intended to echo the fragmentary picture of history that we are presented with in a museum, where isolated artifacts are meant to tell us the story of an unfamiliar culture. I use mechanical perspective as a means of meditating on the design process that went into the commonplace structures that I depict. Perspective is not only a visualization tool employed by architects, but it is also a process that helps me to fundamentally understand the space that I am depicting. It is my hope that through these drawings viewers will reconsider the deeper cultural significance of these structures and the ramifications of the intensive capitalism that shapes contemporary American life.
– Nathan Heuer
Plate Glass Gallery at NAC
Opening Reception Friday 15 July 2016 7PM
My artistic practice is motivated by repetitive activity, marking patterns that map a sense of time and space. Through performance drawing, I communicate how the body traces and experiences space and duration leaving an imprint of past and of present and of what remains. Like a clock of navigational lines, the Synchronicity series act as a measurement of these intervals, both physical and intangible.
The series of Synchronicity drawings investigate symmetrical, repetitive motion using my body as an instrument to form a rhythmic pattern of line. Inspired by the duality of yin and yang of the I Ching, I execute the drawing with a balance of synchronous motion of opposing line. The drawing is performed in a hypnotic tempo and meditative state that manifests itself into physical form to unite the viewer with the intimacy of the experience. Examining the limitations of the body through continuous motion, the drawings are performed over several hours until a state of exhaustion is reached.
Beginning with intense spontaneous gestures within a small space that replicate, synchronize and divide, the drawing gradually swells and bursts to the outwardly extended body. Like a cell dividing, the internal energy of the process is bilaterally and equally distributed as the image grows. Ultimately, the drawing becomes a study of contrast showing the peaceful-chaotic, soothing-painful and joyful-desperate moments of the performance.
The Synchronicity drawings address ideas of repetition, ritual and unity through a performance of mark making and meditation. As the drawings progress, rhythmic patterns of line emerge and process into organic shapes. The resulting drawings become a trace of gestures leaving an imprint of the shifting context of the meditative process that produced them.
Selected work by Niagara Artists Centre Members
at the FLEA MARKET GALLERY
Sunday 19 June 19 – Sunday 18 September 2016
Curated by Maggie Groat
This exhibition is a collection of LAST THINGS. Eleven imagined future remnants – a skateboard, an antennae, a multipurpose device, a kindling froe, an alarm, a postcard, an invisible print, a communication tablet, a weapon, a mold, a camera – objects, tools and visions, created from salvaged, second-hand and found material, and transformed into the shapes of peculiar and provisional future utility.
LAST THINGS includes the work of ten individual artists and one collective, a group of Niagara Artist Centre members living and working in, or those with strong ties to, the Niagara Region: Marinko Jareb, Ketu Kingston, Jimmy Limit, Daniel F. Manchego-Badiola , Jesse F. Matthews, Katie Mazi & Ben Mosher, Donna Szoke, Carrie Perrault, Bobby Ramos,Ryan Rivando, Amber Lee Williams. This exhibition is the result of an open thematic call to Niagara Artist Centre members, organized by Maggie Groat.
The title of this exhibition draws inspiration from the 1987 dystopian novel In the Country of the Last Things by Paul Auster. Set in a speculative future of an urban post-industrial wasteland, it follows Anna, a collector who scavenges and sells useful found objects and scraps. Coincidentally, the St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market—Niagara’s largest flea market and the site of this exhibition —opened its doors the same year that In the Country of Last Things was published.
Image by Katie Mazi & Ben Mosher, Tourist Pick, Postcard, 2016