Durham Art Gallery
The Stories We Share, The Tales We Tell:
The Visual and Creative Arts (VAC) program at Sheridan College Alumni
Durham Art Gallery
Catherine Beaver, Valentin Brown,
2 - 4 pm on
Saturday November 18, 2017
November 18, 2017 - January 13, 2018
Opening reception : 2 - 4 pm on Saturday November 18, 2017
This exhibition presents the work of five alumni from Sheridan College’s VCA program. Catherine Beaver, Valentin Brown, Tania Costa, Linsey Cull and Samantha Hamilton work in various mediums and styles but share an interest in harvesting their own personal experiences.
The social conventions that designate the public and private are ever-changing, as are the expectations to share cultural and personal knowledge. In this delicate balance between one’s own privacy and making the personal public, the emerging artists in this exhibition distort, veil, and withhold their personal experience and knowledge yet share enough to prompt a wider conversation. Despite this pressure to bare all, the artists radically keep something for themselves, or rather, from the viewer while also provoking dialogue about the broader issues facing Canadians today.
Catherine Beaver is from the Nation Tuscarora and is Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River. The three series on view tell the story of her childhood from different vantage points and in multiple styles. Each series contains coded information, and with each style, Beaver shares specific knowledge and experiences with a different audience.
Valentin Brown has pulled from their personal history to shape the automatic sculptures that make up Unidentified Remains (image above). The roughly 300 pieces call to mind tales of the human and inhuman, individual and collective, contemporary and prehistoric but never rest on a singular form. The indescribable objects refuse to give away their identities and remain in-between. With this act of queering, Brown hints at a spectrum of gender and the plasticity of identity.
Both Tania Costa and Linsey Cull ask us to consider our own relation to the land and the objects that inhabit it. Costa paints, what is for her, the wild landscape beyond her urban home. Patches of bright colours dress the trees she paints, causing the forestscapes to take on the appearance of camouflage. The personal sentiments, passions, and whims that Costa uses to inform her colour choices and placement are camouflaged within the paintings.
Linsey Cull, on the other hand, tells the tales of her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario through the objects that grace its landscape. Painted from a birds-eye view, portraits of stones and water position the viewer above the artwork. This tactic locates the viewer in the Canadian Shield, where Cull was once looking down at the very same stones, rocks, and bodies of water while leaving the details up to the imagination.
Samantha Hamilton protects the anonymity of the subjects and spaces she paints. She does this by painting images that have already been filtered through another medium. The images we see take on the appearance of widescreen movies, photographs, or reflections in a window. The spaces depicted are blurred, and the faces painted are censored. Despite wanting to connect to others, Hamilton's work prompts the question, is it truly possible to share things as we have experienced them?
The artists exhibiting work in The Stories We Share, The Tales We Tell ration their stories, giving us portions of their personal experience. With vague titles, images that withhold the identities of the persons portrayed, entire experiences and feelings camouflaged in clay, colour, and stone, this exhibition not only considers what stories are shared but also how they are told: with care.