Archive

Curating

The second iteration of I’ve Only Known My Own was presented at Optica in Montreal, from April 21 to June 10, 2017.

I’ve Only Known My Own is a group exhibition of performance-based work that explores how the materiality of the body is represented through measurements, process, and documentation. First realised in Houston in the spring of 2016, artists Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Ursula Johnson, Autumn Knight, and Michelle Lacombe were invited to revisit, re-perform, or reinterpret their earlier performances for the second iteration at Optica and to bring forward traces or echoes from the first exhibition. Writer Mikhel Proulx was invited to witness and respond to the performances in Houston, and his first-person account is included in the accompanying publication as another trace. In both iterations, the exhibition evolved over the course of its run, with objects, props, and actions set in motion during the presentation of each of the four works. The exhibition’s title (adapted from the title of Lacombe’s project) evokes the notion of knowledge that derives from a body, and is specific to a particular body; it is intended as a poetic echo of the themes in these works. The title also speaks to the gap between an individual experience of a performance and the traces that (might) be known or circulated afterwards. Together, the artists presented for this exhibition offer multiple positions from which to approach these ideas, and they open new avenues for considering the materiality and presence of the body within performance.

More documentation and publication info coming soon…

Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Ursula Johnson, Autumn Knight,
Michelle Lacombe, and Mikhel Proulx

Wednesday March 30 – Saturday April 24, 2016
She Works Flexible: Flex Space 2608 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006
Opening Reception: Saturday April 2nd, 7-9pm

I’ve Only Known My Own is a group exhibition of new performance works that explore how the materiality of the body is translated or communicated through measurements, process, technology, and documentation. This exhibition looks at how the matter of the body might become a tool or force that generates or expresses its own (il/logical) systems, and thinks through how this material embodiment might function as a form of resistance. Rather than presenting a fixed set of works, the exhibition will evolve over the course of its three-week run, with objects, props, and works being set in motion during the presentation of each of the 4 performances. Inhabiting the quasi-domestic architecture of the gallery, the artists will work within the rooms of She Works Flexible’s Flex Space, gradually interacting with the space and leaving traces behind.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget‘s (Montreal, QC) ongoing series One on one’s for so-called fans involves private performances that are then translated through oral accounts and performative re-tellings, highlighting the role of documentation and technology in mediating access to her performing body. Ursula Johnson (Dartmouth, NS) will present a new work that continues her investigations into the ways that indigenous cultural practices such as basket-weaving or leather tanning are now transmitted from body to body, and place to place. Autumn Knight‘s (Houston, TX) new performance Documents will compile a reading of the documentation that serves to legitimize (American) citizenship, while holding space for the embodied specificities of race, class, and gender to contest whether these documents accurately reflect the bodies they are meant to represent. Michelle Lacombe (Montreal, QC) will present excerpts from her project Of All the Watery Bodies, I Only Know My Own, where she used a monthly measurement of the volume of blood in her body to determine the placement of a tattooed water line around her calves. Mikhel Proulx (Montreal, QC), a scholar who has written about the ways in which queer bodies are (re)presented in online spaces and through self-imaging practices such as web-camming and selfies, will be on site to research a text that will be published following the close of the exhibition.

SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES
Ursula Johnson – Saturday April 2nd, starting at 2pm
Michelle Lacombe – Thursday April 7, sunset (approx. 7:45pm) – 9pm
Autumn Knight – Friday April 8th, 8pm-9pm
Nadège Grebmeier Forget – Saturday April 9th, 3:30pm

I’ve Only Known My Own was presented by the Core Residency Program, Glassell School of Art in partnership with Dan Fergus, Brasil Café, and She Works Flexible. Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s project has also received support through Diagonale’s La Soupée event, and Michelle Lacombe would like to thank Centre Sagamie for supporting the production of her images. Sincere thanks to all those who have offered advice and support along the way: Anthea Black, Andy Campbell, Rachel Cook, Joshua Cordova, Lily Cox-Richard, Danielle Dean, Dean Daderko, Taraneh Fazeli, Peter Gershon, Joe Havel, Collin Hedrick, Kerry Inman, Mary Leclère, Val Mayes, Lynne McCabe, Michael Murland, and Olya Zarapina.

SWF_Bold Logo              logo_diagonale

Hay in a Haystack :: Du foin dans une meule de foin
crafty excerpts from Artexte’s collection :: extraits artisanaux de la collection d’Artexte
A limited-edition bookwork based on my 2012-2013 research residency at Artexte, available for consultation on-site at Artexte.
A small print-on-demand publication that includes a sampling of the excerpts in the bookwork is also available for purchase.

(La version française suit)

strata; transparencies; bonding; bound and buried cores; nervous energy, work energy, calm; body containing, body projecting; logical secrets; fragments meeting on a grid; progressive processes; repetition of gesture, of form, of line, of activity, of action; repetition in time and as time; serial rhythms flexed and measured; motion, muscle, touch; fetishes dissected and respected; abstract ritual; taut/loose, tension/freedom, part/whole, microcosm, macrocosm, distance/intimacy, interior/exterior; structure stretched, geometry thwarted into growth, memory compacted into layers, indoors outdoors, outdoors indoors; empty centers, open spaces; animal, vegetable, mineral, flesh.

Lucy Lippard, catalogue for Strata, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1977

Central to my research over the past few years has been the issue of how craft is perceived or represented. Rather than being a question of definition (what is craft?), this is a question about how craft or a crafted aesthetic is used to represent certain values or affiliations (more like why craft?). In particular, this line of inquiry has focused on the ways that craft, from its position on the margins of traditional art historical discourse, has often been used as a means to signal an affiliation with alternative lifestyles or politicized art practices.

Read More

UNIDENTIFIED…ENIGMATIC, PERHAPS EVEN ROMANTIC
(with the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society)

This informal exhibition offers up a small selection of documents, photographs, texts, publications, correspondence, and art works chosen by the members of the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society during our summer 2012 residency at the John Snow House. Spanning the years of 1974 to 2010, these selections are the result of our collective meanderings through The New Gallery’s archives and library. The title of our exhibition is drawn from a note left in a binder of slides in 1988 by then-administrator Nelson Henricks that reads: “The following slide are unidentified, which is kund of enigmatic, perhaps even Romantic. Nevertheless, I have identified them as Clouds ‘N’ Water because of the remarkable amount of wood paneling…They are coalated into groups that are from the same film, so please don’t mix them up, not that anyone will ever look at them, or even read this.”

Read More

A series of performances by Wednesday Lupypciw, Suzen Green & Ryan Statz, and David McCallum & Dory Kornfeld. Presented as part of the M:ST 5 Performative Art Festival, Calgary, AB, October 2010.

This series brings together a group of artists whose hybrid practices incorporate craft and performance. Numerous recent craft projects and exhibitions have emphasized the ways that craft can be used to build community (either as a political tool or as a relational project). In contrast, the projects in this series use the performance of traditional craft activities like knitting and weaving to address ideas of competition and self-interest or to place their creators in a position of advantage. The projects in this series all involve the live creation of new craft works, and thus reveal links between the repetitive and time-consuming actions of crafting and durational performance art practices. Taken together, these performances provide a means to rethink relationships between craft, domesticity, traditional gender roles, and distinctions between the private and public spheres.

A publication accompanying this exhibition, featuring an extended curatorial text “Crafty Advantage: Craft, Performance, and Competition,” was published by M:ST in 2011, and a journal article “Craft Off: Performance, Competition, and Anti-Social Crafting/Performance, compétition et métiers d’art asociaux” was published in the Cahiers métiers d’art/ Craft Journal, Volume 5 Number 2 Spring 2012.

Reviewed by Dick Averns for Akimbo, Oct 11, 2010.

BackTalk
Presented as part of the 42nd Annual NCECA conference
(co-curated with Robin Lambert)

Michael Flaherty
Carole Epp
Shannon Isfeld
Lia Tajcnar

The field of contemporary ceramics has long relied on strong ties to the techniques and traditions of ceramic history for the basis of its conceptual investigations. Due to the richness of this past, ceramic artists have no shortage of historical material that can be mined, referenced, and reworked. Like any specialized field with a long and respected history, ceramics has developed its own unique and sometimes-insular collection of methodologies, mythologies, dogma, cult figures, celebrities, and in-jokes. While this prevailing regard for history no doubt reveals a certain measure of respect for what came before, it has also opened up an irresistible opportunity to take these dearly-held beliefs and to crack them open, poke fun at them, to investigate, question, and talk back.