TEN QUESTIONS / Mark Mullin

Posted by – October 19, 2013

We caught up with Mark Mullin in his studio a few months ago in anticipation of his upcoming exhibition at Paul Kuhn Gallery: loomings opens Thursday, October 24th.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Edmonton where I started to draw before I could really spell. Being an only child allowed for a lot of undisturbed time to get the pattern of Spiderman’s costume webbing just right. Oil paint didn’t come until much later.

Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?

I’ve studied art at the U of A where I did my BFA with a major in Painting. I then studied a year of printmaking at the Art Academy in Hamburg, Germany and then completed a MFA at Concordia in Montreal. Having studied and made artwork in three different cultures was illuminating. It showed me that certain concerns in art can be quite specific to region because of language, history etc.

What are some of the significant themes and ideas in your work?

I suppose my work has been continuously interested in concocting a personal language of painted matter to describe realities riddled with contradiction. I’ve always been interested in that transitional area between states – physical states, perceptual states, emotional states… What does solid look like before it becomes gas or what is that feeling that exists between serenity and threat. I’m interested in creating works that seem at first to be operating in a manner but upon repeated visits you realize the opposite is being engineered.

What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?

My painting practice is founded upon struggles I think. I paint for that wonderful reward that comes from its bundle of problems – I certainly don’t paint to relax…. The biggest struggle is finding time in one’s busy life to allow oneself to discover the struggles within making work. I struggle with all the historic influences that fuel me and also haunt me. When making a painting I will often struggle in my attempt to realize what it wants to be as opposed to what I had planned for it. And then there is the forever struggle of mixing the right color.

Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in or influenced by?

Philip Guston still serves as my biggest influence though I have had many. I am continually seduced by his faith in how paint can provide an authentic unique voice if you have full belief in your imagination. The same could be applied to others like Agnes Martin or Sigmar Polke who I love.

Can you recommend any resources that have been important to your practice? (ie. Essays, books, films, music, etc.)

As I evolve as an artist and take time to look at the trail of work I’ve left behind my paintings are like arenas of influencing bric a brac that are kind of hanging or floating or melting .. And those assortment of painted forms are the influences of readings of chaos theory and issues of the Fantastic Four and the shapes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and music of Vangelis or poetry of Wallace Stevens… The powerful influence all these have had upon me is a collective result from them all tumbling around together getting mixed and morphed into a sum that is too individually warped to ever recommend.

Do you have any collections, besides art?

As much as my work is a space of abstracted things found and culled I don’t collect other items in reality. The clutter in my work and studio is enough for me and I’ll keep it in the world of make believe.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Calgary? Places to eat? Galleries to visit? Way to spend a day off?

When I find myself out of the studio and needing to clear my head of the abstract debris puddling in my head there is nothing better than taking our two dogs to the off leash dog park. Or you can find me at Briggs with a beer in between coats of oil washes as the restaurant is right below my studio.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

My exhibition loomings opens Thursday October 24th at Paul Kuhn Gallery and will continue to November 15th.

Website?

www.markcmullin.com

www.paulkuhngallery.com

www.vandeb.com

PHOTO CREDITS: Cassandra Paul

TEN QUESTIONS / Wednesday Lupypciw

Posted by – October 10, 2013

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m in my early 30s. Apparently I talk about my family a lot, so sometimes I try really hard to not say anything to people at social events. I was born and raised in Calgary, but drinking the tap water here makes me feel funny. I have a water filter at home and some people think I’m a nerd. I love rhubarb.

Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?

I have an undergrad in Textiles from ACAD, class of 2006. A lot has changed at the school since I was there- for the better, though there are still miles to go. The school era situation of working in cloistered all girl groups reappears in a lot of my work today. For a few years after graduating, I had jobs at and sat on boards of artist-run centres in town, and this was like a second education for me.

A lot of my work speaks to being located, and isolated (in some ways) in Calgary. The Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society collective, or LIDS- Anthea Black, Nicole Burisch, and me- was formed here.

What are some of the significant themes and ideas in your work?

Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell of the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) in Toronto made a totally on point series of banners that say: “WE CAN’T COMPETE, WE WON’T COMPETE, WE CAN’T KEEP UP, WE WON’T KEEP DOWN.”

I’m really interested in “dropping out” of business as usual in the art world, or not working in a constantly ascending, pragmatic, and publicized manner. I make videos and performance art, and I realize the finite scope of these media both in terms of who is interested, and how I’m compensated for it. An important sidenote of “dropping out”: it is still megaessential to work one’s ass off every day in artist ways.

This is perhaps more behind the work, but the idea that I’m not alone is really important to me. Valuing everyone’s contribution is important to me. Everything I make comes with an exhaustive credit listing of people who assisted me, and I make sure that everyone who participates in my work is paid decently in cash or compensated in some other way that contributes to their living wage.

What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?

Well… There is the constant anxiety of never knowing exactly what I’m doing at any given time. I need to do a lot of research about various topics (how popsicles melt, looms, blah blah) so whatever I’m doing functions and is believable. I never took Media Arts courses at school, so I’m always scrambling/googling to teach myself video editing techniques. The bros who blog and make YouTube videos about video editing ARE A STRUGGLE.

It takes me years to make one thing. I find it difficult or not useful to share work in progress; I often worry about whether a curator has anything to take away- in terms of ideas- after a studio visit with me.

My performance and video work don’t really look the same…

Also, I hesitate to put my work online, because video is the only thing I have to my name. It seems like a pretty full aesthetic experience when videos are online because you can full screen or even project them, crank the volume, and turn all of the lights off. Whereas if you put a picture of your sculptures up online everyone understands that it’s just a picture of actual stuff. The advantage of having stuff online is that people know right away if they like your work or not… I should just upload all of my work to Vimeo, but I always hold back.

I worry a lot about the ethics of representation- who/what is in my video? Why? Why am I telling this story? How am I interpreting history, or how am I historicizing this subject matter through making work about it?

I often think too hard about things.

Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in or influenced by?

Joyce Wieland is one of my great loves and unfortunately she passed away a long time ago. She wrote some very terse, heartening artist statements.

I know some exceptional artists- Rita McKeough, Aleesa Cohene, Margaux Williamson, Jolie Bird, Mark Clintberg, Karilynn Ming Ho, Suzy Lake, my Dad. Oftentimes I find it hard to engage with work by artists that I don’t personally know, or feel very distant from.

Can you recommend any resources that have been important to your practice? (ie. Essays, books, films, music, etc.)

- The New Gallery never properly cleaned out their archives, and a lot of it is filed alphabetically by arbitrary topic headings instead of by year. There’s a lot of weird, irrelevant, but very meaningful shit hanging out at the John Snow House.

- I resent contemporary television because it’s so involving and stimulating and well done. I used to get a lot of Murder, She Wrote DVDs from the library. It has soft focus beginning credits, Angela Lansbury is goddamn DELIGHTFUL, and the plots are comfortingly formulaic. I think a lot about this show when I edit videos. Another ancient TV show, Cagney & Lacey, also blows my mind- it’s about two women cops in 1983 New York. Because the streets are tough and because Cagney and Lacey are the only women around the precinct, their femaleness mushrooms into… uh, working class hero feminism. They’re like 2 Bruce Springsteens.

- The short video “Work” by Kika Thorne, 1999. It’s about being an artist, and it stars Shary Boyle 15 years ago. There’s a scene where she gets fired from her job for taking too much time off and being generally unfocused at money making business stuff. Peaches did the soundtrack.

- Sheila Heti’s book “How Should A Person Be?”

What kind of music do you listen to while working in the studio, if any?

Working in a studio has never been a strong point for me. A studio never feels right. I have a formal studio, but in reality my bed at 3 a.m. is my studio.

I was stretching to this the other week before weaving. It’s a good workout:

I can’t listen to anything a lot of the time- with video you drive yourself bananas by listening to very short parts of it over and over AND OVER again.

Outside of working, I like heavy doom-y stuff and girl choirs. The bands T.I.T.S. and Grass Widow (and the new Grass Widow offshoot, Ruby Pins) are in pretty heavy rotation at my place. I really like the CJSW radio show Off Duty Trip, which Megan Jorgensen-Nelson does on Thursday nights.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Calgary? Places to eat? Galleries to visit? Way to spend a day off?

I love taking naps, but I guess naptime can happen anywhere in the world.

Specific to Calgary, I like riding bikes near the river at night. (Usually by myself, not like online dating profile style.) Also, MY HEART OVERFLOWS WITH BLISS AT THE ANNUAL HERITAGE QUILT FEST AT HERITAGE PARK! I take more photos than any other day of the year when I go. The annual Ukrainian Festival is another destination for me- there’s always some great folk art.

When people come to visit from out of town, I take them to thrift stores. I like Zoe’s on 14th. I also dance like a moron, and enjoy the DJ sets of my longtime buddy Ryan Scott.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

I just finished doing a lot of things and I am SO EXCITED to sit around for the rest of the summer and stare at ceilings.

Memorably, I did a huge project with 12 screaming female drummers at sunset and into darkness. It was called “QUEER NOISE SOLIDARITY”. It was around 90 minutes, and it happened in May 2013 in Toronto at Christie Pits Park with the help of the FAG and FADO Performance Art.

Right now I have a new video work/installation about textiles in the show They Made A Day Be A Day Here, which is now up in Grande Prairie at the AGGP. There’s also a knockout Suzy Lake show, Whose Gaze Is It Now?, up there at the same time.

Also, the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society’s book, “Incredisensual Panty Raid Laff Along”, is done! Frosst Books and The New Gallery are selling them for us.

LIDS established a new holiday on the day formerly known as Canada Day. The 2nd annual JOYCE WIELAND DAY will be taking place on July 1st, so I should figure out a very aware and small-scale action to perform (that renders nationalism obsolete.)

Website?

wednesdaylupypciw.com – DON’T LOOK AT IT. Not very useful, it’s a repository of links and a way to let people know my email address if they don’t know me personally.

ladiesinvitationaldeadbeatsociety.com – way more fun!

PHOTO CREDITS:
#1 – Anthea Black
#2-6 – Wednesday Lupypciw
#7 – Cynthia Broderick

WATCH / Mac DeMarco

Posted by – October 3, 2013

WATCH / Andreas Rutkauskas & Karen Zalamea

Posted by – May 23, 2013

Andreas Rutkauskas & Karen Zalamea discuss their exhibition GROUND TRUTH, at TRUCK Contemporary Art (July 6, 2012 – August 2, 2012)

via: TRUCK Contemporary Art

WATCH / Seripop

Posted by – May 9, 2013

Seripop discuss their exhibition THE OPTIONS THAT ARE OFFERED TO US: THE LEAST LIKELY / THE MOST TOLERABLE, at TRUCK Contemporary Art (September 7 – October 4, 2012)

via: TRUCK Contemporary Art

WATCH / Instant Places

Posted by – April 25, 2013

Instant Places discuss their residency BIG SKY, in the TRUCK Contemporary Art CAMPER (July 20 – July 30, 2012)

via: TRUCK Contemporary Art

TEN QUESTIONS / Patrick Lundeen

Posted by – April 12, 2013

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am an artist who was born in Lethbridge Alberta. I do paintings, sculptures, videos and music. I have shown my stuff all over.

Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?

I studied at ACAD for 4 years from 1996-2000. I didn’t manage to finish my BFA though but didn’t go back because I was tired of being in art school. I then kicked around Calgary for a few years and just kind of hung out with John Will a lot. I learned a lot from those years – he also got me to apply for a show at Stride Gallery – they gave me a show (getting that show pleased me as much as if I had won the lottery). I then went to Concordia (in Montreal) to get my MFA – I think they let me in without my BFA just because of the Stride show. While I was at Concordia I traveled to Glasgow for a semester at Glasgow School of Art. After getting my MFA I moved to New York for 6 years and just now moved back to Montreal. So that’s my education.

So far!

I would need a book to get into how it influenced me.

What are some of the significant themes and ideas in your work?

I hate to say I am a pop artist but pop imagery keeps coming up in my work. It’s just that I didn’t grow up reading Balzac and listening to Mozart – I read Mad Magazine and listened to Micheal Jackson, I watched the Cosby Show and Alf. So this affected me – whether I like it or not. I also have a religious background which comes out I think.

What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?

I think that with most artists making work is a struggle. Like every other artist I have moments of megalomania where I think that I am the best artist who ever lived – which is countered by the moments that I think I am the absolute worst. If I learned anything it’s that you can’t just mess around and do stuff that’s OK – it has to be awesome or don’t bother – even if you spent a year on something if it’s no good you have to chuck it. The worst is when you don’t figure out something sucks until a few years later (but you showed it anyways) and you look at the pictures and just cringe. BTW good doesn’t mean skill or technique it just means that it hits you in some way. It’s hard to explain.

Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in or influenced by?

John Will, Chris Millar, Eleanor Bond, Janet Werner, Mike Kelley, Philip Guston, Cindy Sherman, Al Jaffee, Georg Baselitz, Leon Golub… These are just visual artists and are just off the top of my head. I like a lot, a lot of stuff.

Can you recommend any resources that have been important to your practice? (ie. Essays, books, films, music, etc.)

I like music a lot and I listen to a lot of folk music – I like folk art. I really like Lou Reed – even the album with Metallica. I like Neil Young’s guitar playing. I like Hound Dog Taylor and Link Wray. Lately I really like Sonny Sharrock.

What kind of music do you listen to while working in the studio, if any?

I go back and forth – I used to listen to music the entire time while in my studio. I would often just find a song that had a feeling that suited me and I would play it over and over on repeat all day long. As I get older I find that I am more sensitive to the feelings that the music gives me – so I prefer to leave it off and just feel my own feelings.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Calgary? Places to eat? Galleries to visit? Way to spend a day off?

I haven’t lived in Calgary for a while now but I do visit sometimes because my parents are in Red Deer and I still have friends there. I like Chinatown – it’s an awesome part of the city and really very good. I like the BBQ meat that’s hanging in the window. I always visit John Will and Chris Millar and my buddy Rob. John Will always takes me to the Elbow River Casino. Calgary has changed a lot since I used to live there.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

Yes. I will take part in a group exhibition at L’Écart in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec from April 26-May 26 and I have a solo exhibition at Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI from June 6 – Sept. 29.

Website?

PATRICKLUNDEEN.COM

Mike Weiss Gallery: Patrick Lundeen

https://soundcloud.com/the-oblique-mystique

All images courtesy of Mike Weiss Gallery.

WATCH / Gwenessa Lam

Posted by – April 11, 2013

Gwenessa Lam discusses her exhibition SHADOW, at TRUCK Contemporary Art (Nov. 2 – 29, 2012)

via: TRUCK Contemporary Art

TEN QUESTIONS / Heather Huston

Posted by – March 15, 2013

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m an instructor at the Alberta College of Art + Design where I teach in Printmedia, Fibre and First Year Studies. I enjoy teaching and even when I don’t, I get some great stories to tell about frustrating people doing weird things. I’m also the current president of the Alberta Printmakers’ Society because I love print and believe it to be a vital and spectacular medium. Non-art extras: I am a 2nd dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do and currently train as a light blue belt in Shorinji-Kan Jiu Jitsu. I also have a small parrot named Charlie who gives me enough stories about his over-enthusiasm and minimal vocabulary to pepper the most boring parts of my demos with hilarious anecdotes thus saving my students from droning-on demo hell. He also often asks “What are you doing?” which reminds me to get off Facebook.

Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?

I completed my BFA at the University of Calgary and my MFA at the University of Alberta, an all-Alberta all the time schooling. My BFA gave me a work ethic and a foundation in print. My MFA pushed my practice out of where I was comfortable and into diverse ways of visual thinking. Many of the connections that I made and experiences that I’ve had continue to influence my practice. I’m much less afraid about trying new approaches to making making work and try to consider what medium best suits my concept rather than trying to force my concepts into one medium or another simply because I like it.

What have you been doing since graduating?

I have been learning to re-invent my practice many times over, trying new ways of making work. I was the technician at the U of C for a couple of years and have now taught at ACAD for the past six or so. I’ve volunteered on the board of A/P for six years and taught in community centres. I’ve travelled when I can and have been through parts of central America, Asia and Australia. Its such an amazing way to get out of a rut and to just experience new things rather than worrying about the same old same old. I was invited to sit on the jury for the 8th Biennale Internationale D’Estampe Contemporaine de Trois Rivieres this past fall which was an amazing experience. The entire process was conducted in french which will please my grade school teachers greatly. I even gave an artist-talk in french which was a bit strange as certain concepts and words don’t quite translate but thinking about my work in such a concentrated way and working out new ways to speak about ideas (especially when the words don’t flow as easily) was an excellent experience. I’ve also done the usual boring grown-up stuff like get married, buy a house and invest in RRSP Mutual Funds.

What are some of the significant themes and ideas in your work?

I have worked a lot with miniatures and am interested in the concentrated way that we can project ourselves into these small spaces. I’ve been working lately with making work where the inside and the outside aren’t clearly distinguishable. Blurred spaces have this way of indicating both abandonment and invitation (since abandoned spaces are ones that you can explore) and I like the juxtaposition of very modern looking architecture with natural elements. In both my prints and my sculpture I try to create a sense of collapsed time, where its difficult to tell if a space is in the process of being built or torn down. Much of my recent work is a response to these cookie cutter neighbourhoods that are so popular in Calgary. I lived in one for awhile and the most interesting places were the ones under construction so I started trying to save them from becoming as boring as the structures next to them in my work.

What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?

Time. Specifically, finding enough of it. It would be great to be able to work (or relax) instead of sleep but I hear meth has some serious consequences so I will just continue as I am. The exhibition that I currently have up at Stride was a departure for me as it involves electronics and programming language which is way outside of my comfort zone. In making it, I kept having large pauses in making the work. I was unsure of it and what to do with it. In general, there’s always the little awkward voice in my head that repeats phrases like: “is this interesting? Is my work moving forward? Why can’t you stop eating Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt?”

Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in or influenced by?

David Hoffos’ work made an impression on me a long time ago and continues to impress me with its inventiveness and immersive qualities. I love Julie Mehretu complex images relating to the city. Doris Salcedo’s complex tributes to disappeared people move me greatly and exemplify the power of everyday objects to make strong statements. Sean Caulfield’s prints and collaborative projects push the limits of print with beautiful, strange images and technical prowess.

What kind of music do you listen to while working in the studio, if any?

I mostly listen to podcasts in the studio as the repetitive nature of print making is well suited to listening to stories as you work. My favourites are This American Life, 99% Invisible, The Memory Palace and Planet Money. When I need to concentrate more, I range from Max Richter, Joanna Newsom (engaged to Andy Samberg WHAT) and the Tune Yards to music with a dancy beat like Azealia Banks and Jay-Z (despite my inability to relate to the life of a p i m p) to get me through late-night printing sessions.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Calgary? Places to eat? Galleries to visit? Way to spend a day off?

I am mostly a boring homebody as it allows me to re-charge and get work done; I am chronically busy. I also have a tree house in my yard so that I can spy on my neighbour’s pigeons (true story: he raises show pigeons and racing pigeons) so my house is pretty interesting to me except when I have dishes to do (which is almost always so take that how you will). I make the circuit of artist-run centres when I can and have a few restaurant faves such as The Coup, Namskar and Shikiji.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

My work is currently being shown in the Project Room at Stride Gallery (www.stride.ab.ca) until March 22nd (the work was funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts). My work is in some touring exhibitions right now including BIMPE VI (next stop Kelowna), Global Matrix III, and the 8th British International Miniprint exhibition. An exchange exhibition between Taiwanese printmakers and Canadian printmakers is currently being organized by Guy Langevin in Trois Rivieres and is just in the beginning planning stages for 2014. I also have prints at Pomp and Circumstance in downtown Calgary if you want to see some of my work in real life.

Website?

I web it up at www.hhuston.com. Find me and Charlie on twitter @heatherhuston.

TEN QUESTIONS / Kuh Del Rosario

Posted by – February 25, 2013

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your practice.

I was born in Manila, Philippines and grew up in Calgary, AB. A couple of years after post secondary, I moved to Vancouver, BC which is where I am now. Currently, I have an art studio at The Dynamo Arts Association, which I am also a board member, treasurer and occasional curator.

I use a lot of very random objects in my work, harvested from the junk pile at the studio, off the streets, plastic things bought at dollar stores and construction materials at hardware stores. I just moved to a new apartment, and everything that didn’t go to the new place, went to the studio. My solo show at the Positive Negative Gallery that just closed early February reaped the benefits, in which several sculptures were almost exclusively built from all my old stuff.

Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?

In 2003, I received my BFA in Painting at The Alberta College of Art and Design. Before ACAD, I have always
thought of myself as a painter; art school opened up a whole new way of looking and thinking about art, which I have always appreciated.

What have you been doing since graduating?

I’ve learned to sew window screens into pouches for pillow stuffing and use plastic spoons as scales. I’ve been transforming comforters into crusty glittering canopies to drape over walls. I’ve been making skeletons out of pool noodles and plastic clothes hangers used as claws.

What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?

There is not enough room. Working as a sculptor and living in Vancouver, it is difficult to find sufficient and affordable space. Ideally, I want to be able to expand and work on several huge pieces simultaneously. I want to be able to look up and let my work tower over me. It would be freeing not to think about scale.

Insecurities and struggles will always be present, but sometimes if harnessed correctly, can be used for
tension that makes the work interesting.

Do you find yourself attracted to work that is unlike yours, or work that is very similar?

In the studio, I liken my process similar to some kind natural phenomenon, weathering the objects I’ve found through erosion, break-down and build-up. Materials undergo a metamorphosis; boulders and crystallized forms grow to create a specific experience, one that peak the senses. I find I gravitate towards artists whose work also create a sensory experience. This element may be the only similarity, but an important one for me.

Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in, or who have influenced your practice?

Phyllida Barlow, Martha Rosler, Shary Boyle, Franz West, Richard Tuttle, Rachel Whiteread and David Altmejd
to name a few.

What music do you listen to while working in the studio, if any?

I tend to let a movie play in the background when I’m alone in the studio. If any of my other studio mates are there, stories of what happened the night before, or random music can be audible.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Vancouver? Places to eat? Way to spend a day off?

Art openings, speakeasies, beef brisket chow mein, gin & soda, Third beach and afternoon naps.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?

I am looking forward to exhibiting at AVALANCHE! (Calgary, AB) in March, with Calgary based artist Sarah Van Sloten, called Wet Country. In April, I will be exhibiting at the Black & Yellow Gallery (Vancouver,BC), in
collaboration with an artist, Jessica Yeandle-Hignell. In the summer, I will be taking part in The Corbin Union Residency (Corbin, AB). Late in 2013 or early 2014, I will be returning back to Calgary for a solo show at Truck Contemporary. Please stay tuned!

Website?

kuhdelrosario.com