by christine clark
Cy Twombly died July 5.
The more I look at his paintings, the more I love him.
Kentucky Perfect by Robert Hengeveld, a grass machine, that apparently, lights, waters and cuts growing grass. When I was there, last week, big patches of the grass was dying, so, I propose that Robert add a re-seeding component to the machine, because after all, even the most well tended of grasses have a life span.
Redefining Greenwashing, this map invites participants to chart the expansion and existence of real green initiatives around Victoria–farms, eco-biz and public water facilities, to name a few.
A true greenwash investigation, H2OMG! is an outreach program, wherein Marlene Jess is bottling and distributing public water from various public water fountains to draw attention to the fact that, no, drinking public water from plastic bottles is not good for you or for the environment no matter how hard Coca Cola tries to sell it.
An eco-system made up of a jungle of plants, so-called weeds and other things too, in the shape of a human body. It’s like the face in the mountains, or the end of life. Entropy. We are all one. For a while human, later we are bugs or trees or birds, maybe stars.
For more artists and projects check out the Open Space website. There are plenty of opportunities to participate.
When I was a kid my mother used to send me to school, the first day of every year, with all of my required materials, the notebooks, the pencils, the little geometry kits, in a large black garbage bag. I don’t know why. Maybe because she’s very practical; maybe because she’s a little lacking in imagination or maybe she just didn’t have time to think about the way a little girl would feel on the first day of school.
But I remember feeling sweaty and confused; I was never sure if the girl who was my best friend last year was still my friend. We lived in an old neighbourhood. The houses were tiny, but they had big lots. We had an incredible view of the mountains. There was a huge Maple tree with a tire swing in the back yard and a vegetable garden and a grape vine which produced sour green grapes and legions of snails every year.
The other girls lived in subdivisions. One subdivision, across the highway, was a bit older and run down. The houses were all two level with a garage and a big front room window. The lots were small. The other, was closer to where I lived and closer to the school. It was brand new. The houses were brown and other elegant shades; green or taupe. There were dark green shrubberies growing in pools of bark mulch.
We didn’t see each other during the summer. Kids didn’t really use the phone back then. You’d just go outside and play with the kids who lived near by; the kids hanging out on the street. My street had a random, rag-tag bunch. There was Michelle and her older sister Faye right next door, both of them older by a couple of years. There was Danny, the boy who’s mom was renting the house across the street for a few years. Danny and Michelle had sex for the first time right in front of me; under the picnic table which we had draped in blankets like a tent. I could see between their legs; she kept telling me to help push “it” in. Luckily for me, the ice cream man came by playing his ice cream man music right before it was my turn. I scrambled out from the tent, away from Danny, and ran breathlessly through the summer light and shade to the safety of the street and a chocolate ice cream.
We never had sex, but Danny did ask me to marry him (the only man who ever has) right in his mom’s front yard. He told me he was going to buy me a station wagon. For a couple of years, every time we saw each other, we knew, and we were serious, that we would be a married couple. Mr. and Mrs. Danny Smith. It felt very grown up, but I’m glad he moved away. I’m glad we lost touch.
There was Eugene and Arlene, the brother and sister, who lived around the corner and who would sometimes have lemonade sales or ice cream cone sales in their front yard. No one really liked them much. Eugene who was older than me, was always very ruddy and snotty, and his mom had long armpit hair, a beautiful auburn colour, that spilled out of her sleeveless tank tops and hung down to her rib cage, no kidding. Their ice cream was always gritty, like it was freezer burnt, and they were just trying to get rid of it by foisting it on the neighbours for 5 or 10 cents a scoop. They were generally considered to be quite gross, but we always bought their ice cream.
And there was Rhonda, my best friend for years. She didn’t live in either of the subdivisions. She lived in a nice house over by the highway, near the Tulista ball park, on the other side of the school. It was pretty far. Her dad was a cop. Her mom was tiny and would always make Rhonda peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch. They didn’t get along very well; the mom and dad. I think I saw him once; he was tall with big curly hair. Rhonda told me that her dad thought her mom had a skinny ass.
At school it was like Rhonda and I didn’t even know each other. We were in different classes. They divided us up after grade 3 into two seperate groups for some reason. It was pretty rare that there was any cross over. We didn’t even socialize during the lunch break or at recess, but our summer time relationship was incredibly intimate. We used to dance for hours in her basement. She had a record player and a collection of 45’s. Our favourite was Return to Sender. Elvis.
She wanted me to whip her once. She brought a bunch of branches and then laid down on the cement, we were standing in the street, and asked me to beat her with these branches. I just remember standing there looking at her, feeling horrified and incapable. I couldn’t do it. It was so confusing. I thought I might puke.
(DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT SPECIFICALLY INTENDED TO EXPLAIN OR INTERPRET SOUNDS IN A ROOM. NEVERTHELESS, HERE ARE THE WEBSITES RELEVANT TO THOSE ARTISTS INVOLVED IN THAT PROJECT.)
Brenda Petays, one of the Arts Instructors up at Camosun College, currently hosting artfoundations21, has asked me to help spread the word about a very illustrious speaker, and so here you go.
FREE TALK! As part of ArtFoundations21 conference.
“Art School Confidential”
Thursday, June 9, 7:30 pm; Gibson Auditorium
The Visual Arts Dept is pleased to bring Anthony Kiendl, Director, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (Winnipeg, MB) to speak about art schools and pedagogy in a contemporary art context. He will also discuss the educational turn in curating, schools by artists, and alternative models of art education.
Anthony Kiendl was the winner of the 2009 Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. In 2007 he was Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow at School of Arts, Middlesex University, London. He was the Director of Visual Arts, Walter Phillips Gallery and the Banff International Curatorial Institute at The Banff Centre in Alberta from 2002 until 2006. In 2002, he served as Acting Director of the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Public Library in Saskatchewan where he was Curator since 1997. He is currently the instructor of a graduate theory seminar in the Architecture Department at the University of Manitoba.
Conference information can be found at http://artfoundations21.wordpress.com/
“But we do”, said Marlene. And perhaps we do. It’s hard to make art when you’re working full time, especially full time at a low paying job. How to pay for housing, food and art materials when you’re on the poverty line?
But artists are a creative lot. Or at least they should be. And sometimes creativity needs to be about finding materials and finding exhibition spaces. On Friday night, for one night only, the Jesses, Marlene and Michael, staged a show in the front room of a friend’s house.
In one corner Michael had an installation of his painted paintings and photographs. Inspired by Ellen Gallager, he takes art images from books and with black paint he removes, what he considers to be, superfluous information. What is left is a series of arms and hands and eyes all vivid and stark against inky black. It’s a mysterious-looking project. One painting of a man, but with nothing left after the black paint treatment, except for eyes, arms, one hand holding a cigarette and over to the side a glass of drink, reminded me of a hangman; an executioner relaxing after a hard day’s work, simultaneously evil and genial. When I remarked on this, Michael said that it was an image that reminded him of his father, and he pointed out the profound ambiguity of imagery made up of only bits and pieces of information. It’s an interesting point; one with ramifications beyond art.
In the other corner (sounds like a boxing match), was Marlene‘s project. When I first heard about this exhibit, I was under the impression that Marlene was going to perform a potato chip eating marathon in order to make a point about mindless consumption, and when I first arrived at the show, and saw all the bags of chips lined up, I felt a real pang of pity for her. It seemed so self punishing. I really didn’t want to see the poor girl crunch her way through all those chips, but then she invited me to eat some. And I realized that in fact, Marlene was documenting the eating of chips.
On the wall as a reflector, was a strip of inside out chip bags. Beneath the reflector was a wooden box and a line of chip bags. Ketchup, BBQ, Salt and Vinegar and Ripple (but no dip). I chose Ketchup. She photographed me eating the chips. They were pretty tasty. On a good day, I could have eaten quite a few, but fortuately I’d just eaten a big bowl of Vietnemese noodles, so the damage was minimal, and I didn’t have to feel sorry for myself either.
But I thought it was interesting. Group chip eating. Virtual stangers eating from the same bag, a non-food, so familiar to us all culturally that it might as well be mother’s milk.