REVOLVER HOME PAGE
Sarah Anne Johnson
REVOLVER text by
curator Cliff Eyland
September 2008 to April 2009
Click here to view the Revolver poster (96K PDF)
Click here to view the Art School Anatomies poster (196K PDF)
curated by Cliff Eyland
In the summer of 2008, Gallery One One One hosted a University of Manitoba School of Art faculty exhibition entitled MAZE: Stephen Grimmer, Kevin Kelly, Steven Nunoda, Alex Poruchnyk, Kirk Warren that included art by new tenure track and recently tenured School of Art professors. That show began a new season of programming about the relationship in Winnipeg between "uptown" or School of Art artist/instructors and "downtown" or Winnipeg Exchange District artists. It also initiated a focus by Gallery One One One on the art school of which it is an integral part.
In his book Why Art Cannot Be Taught, (University of Illinois Press, 2001) James Elkins urges self-analysis as the first step an art school should take to define what it is, how it serves its public and what its contribution to contemporary culture can be. Winnipeg may now be thought of best as one cultural organism, at least as regards visual art, but as early as ten to fifteen years ago -- we vaguely hear -- things were different. Or were they? Because town against gown mythologies are at least as old as Cambridge and Oxford they are hard to refute. Winnipeg would do well to finally ditch what vestiges remain of antagonism between so-called uptown and so-called downtown scenes.
Revolver is the name of a set of shows, but it is also an attitude to curating that we adopted at Gallery One One One in 2008 that results in exhibitions in which individual art objects and even solo shows share the same gallery space as if they are what they usually really are, that is, independent entities that merely happen to be temporarily adjacent to one another. Objects that share space can be as ornery as crowded people. A similar point of view is taken by contemporary curators and gallerists, whether consciously or not, in the design of most contemporary art fairs and biennials. Before the era of the art fair, perhaps twenty years ago, an installation artist might have insisted that their work could only be shown within an exclusive physical space, but we now see every kind of artist -- and especially installation artists -- completely undisturbed by what might occupy the space or the booth next to their work.
Indeed, REVOLVER was developed as Gallery One One One's exhibition strategy directly in response to the emergence of the art fair and the biennial as the dominant forms of international discourse in contemporary art. How could this emerging culture be accommodated by art school and an art school gallery like Gallery One One One? As might be expected, Gallery One One One does not have the commercial emphasis of the art fair exhibition, but there is good reason to adopt the eclecticism of the art fair and the biennial in response to Winnipeg's burgeoning art scene, a scene that demands more exhibition space for new work and quicker response times by public art institutions such as Gallery One One One.
A great sensitivity about the placement of things in a gallery's space is always of great importance, but we may be ready to reject the idea that an art gallery is either a white cube or a black box that requires certain ideologies of coherence in order to function well: What if a gallery were just a space? The 'revolver' attitude can be summed up in a radical question: Why not put art on the walls and floors as if the gallery did not exist? Would not that attitude serve an art school gallery well?
REVOLVER UPTOWN (September to December 2008)
Both the Revolver Uptown and Downtown exhibitions are about the relationship in Winnipeg between "uptown" or School of Art artist/instructors and "downtown" or Winnipeg Exchange District artists. It is hardly a surprise that almost every one of these artists was educated or is a part-time teacher at the University of Manitoba School of Art.
The last time that Gallery One One One attempted a Winnipeg overview was in 2003 in a yearlong set of shows entitled The Gothic Unconscious curated by Gallery One One One's then curator-in-residence Sigrid Dahle. It is now time for Gallery One One One to attempt another overview of the Winnipeg scene. Whereas The Gothic Unconscious characterised -- I think rightly -- Winnipeg art in terms of dark sensibilities, the texts and commentary for the REVOLVER series's focus is on the artists of this remote city who are able to work so successfully here, whether they work out of a "downtown" (downtown Winnipeg) studio or an "uptown" (the University of Manitoba) office, or both.
REVOLVER UPTOWN includes art by part-time and sessional instructors at the University of Manitoba on a number of Gallery One One One walls. From September to December, in various configurations, work by (see links at left) Susan Close, Bruce Kirton, Lisa Stinner, Johanna Schmidt, Craig Love, Derek Brueckner, Karen Hibbard, Lisa Wood, Sarah Anne Johnson and Sarah Crawley is being shown.
While emphasising the uniqueness of each of these artists, Revolver Uptown poses inevitable questions about how these artists reconcile their part-time academic jobs with their full time lives as artists. How does their situation affect the art they make? Because art schools teach mostly traditional media, what kind of art should we expect of artists who teach in art schools? What happens when art school instructor art moves away from the medium they teach? Is there a place for the term "academic art" in the contemporary art school and are people who teach art "academic artists"? None of the artists in Revolver Uptown are full-time tenured academics: how does that make their art work?
What kinds of contemporary art are most easily adapted in Winnipeg and why? How does the town and province support the international ambitions of so many of its artists? How does teaching affect one's art in the context of the local, national and international scenes?
REVOLVER DOWNTOWN (January to April 2009) features works by Winnipeg artists associated with the Exchange District art milieu, most of whom have not exhibited recently -- if at all -- at Gallery One One One, including Dominique Rey, Cyrus Smith, Roger Crait, Richard Hines, Liz Garlicki, Paul Robles, Richard Dyck, Paul Butler, Collin Zipp, Andy Gamache and Sandee Moore but all of whom except Sandee Moore were at least partly educated at the University of Manitoba. However, none of them teach at the University of Manitoba.
REVOLVER DOWNTOWN includes everything from painting to sculpture to photography to new media. While any representation of Winnipeg by these particular artists could be disputed, nobody could question their importance to the local discourse. Although, as mentioned, most of these artists were trained at the University of Manitoba School of Art, their connections to the school are at best tenuous, at times even testy. In many instances, the "art fair" format of the REVOLVER series is natural fit for these artists, many of whom are active participants in the international art fair/biennial system.
ART SCHOOL ANATOMIES DEMONSTRATION - (19-20 November 2008) - In 2007 Jeanne Randolph, Dick Averns, Natalija Subotincic and I initiated a project entitled "Art School Anatomies" with the ambition to make art that "analysed" art school. The Art School Anatomies panel discussion included the Toronto-based writer Morris Wolfe (author of OCA: The Turbulent Years) and art historian Marilyn Baker (author of The Winnipeg School of Art). An installation in Gallery One One One by Dick Averns, performance works by Jeanne Randolph and Dick Averns and an ongoing display of permanent collection and full-time faculty work in Gallery One One One all converge happily on the Art School Anatomies concept.
LES NEWMAN: MAJOR SOLO RETROSPECTIVE
Gallery One One One is staging a solo survey exhibition of the work of Winnipeg artist Les Newman this season. An installation of works from all periods of Newman's work will continue from January to April 2009. This show takes place concurrently and in the same space as the Revolver Uptown exhibition and the Art School Anatomies art installation. Les Newman is a young and prominent Winnipeg artist who has virtually no involvement with the School of Art. He did not go to school at the University of Manitoba and he has never taught there. None of his influences and little of his sensibility can be traced to anything having to do with this school. Here Newman is a one-person control group within our Revolver experiment.
Revolver Gallery One One One Schedule 2008-2009:
Revolver Uptown ONE 25 September to 16 October 2008
Opening reception: Wednesday, 24 September, 5-8 PM with Sarah Crawley, Sarah Anne Johnson, Lisa Stinner.Note: All Revolver shows included a revolving display of Art School Anatomies art.
Revolver Uptown TWO 23 October to 13 November 2008
Opening reception: Wednesday, 22 October, 5-8 PM with Craig Love, Johanna Schmidt, Lisa Wood.
Revolver Uptown THREE 20 November to 12 December 2008
Opening reception: Wednesday, 19 November, 5-8 PM with Derek Brueckner, Susan Close, Karen Hibbard, Bruce Kirton.
Art School Anatomies Demonstration with Dick Averns and Jeanne Randolph happened in the Art Barn lecture space (Building 21) on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 from 8-10 PM. Art school anatomist Dick Averns's art was also shown at Gallery One One One along with a revolving display of art from the Gallery One One One collection and/or School of Art faculty, staff and associates. An Art School Anatomies panel discussion with Morris Wolfe, Marilyn Baker, Dick Averns, Jeanne Randolph and Cliff Eyland happened on Thursday, 20 November at 5 PM in RM 207 FitzGerald.
Les Newman: "Major Solo Retrospective" (North Wall) 15 January to 2 April 2009 Opening reception: Wednesday, 14 January, 5-8 PM with an artist's talk in the Art Barn at 8 PM - A solo exhibition of Les Newman's work has been long overdue at Gallery One One One. Newman is perhaps most widely known for works shown at Plug In ICA several years ago that dealt with his experiences as a telephone market researcher. Since then much of his work has consisted of computer drawings and graphics that he re-photographs so that the finished work is at several removes from its digital source. Since 2000, he has continued to make this photo/digital work, but most recently he has been making paintings that build on the methodologies of his previous text and digital prints.
Revolver Downtown ONE 15 January to 5 February 2009
Opening reception: Wednesday, 14 January, 5-8 PM with Liz Garlicki, Paul Robles, Dominique Rey, Cyrus Smith
Revolver Downtown TWO 12 February to 5 March 2009
Opening reception: Wednesday, 11 February, 5-8 PM with Paul Butler, Richard Dyck, Richard Hines, Collin Zipp.
Revolver Downtown THREE 12 March to 2 April 2009
Opening reception: Wednesday, 11 March, 5-8 PM with Roger Crait, Andy Gamache, Sandee Moore.
Many thanks to the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, School of Art staff and volunteers.
Gallery One One One hours are: Noon to 4:00 PM closed weekends. Admission is free. Gallery One One One, is located at the School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605. The FitzGerald Building is located at the University of Manitoba's Fort Garry Campus next to the University Centre. Parking is available in the Parkade behind FitzGerald Building, and at meter and ticket dispenser lots. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends. Campus map link.
For information please contact Robert Epp firstname.lastname@example.org