IT’S MUTATING!

  • <p>In the section, <em>It's Mutating</em>! works by Graham Gillmore (<em>No Hostage Needed)</em>and Douglas Coupland (<em>Green Soldier Number 1 ⅔)</em> are displayed from the AFK collection. The opportunity given by AFK was to curate a show from their collection with the possibility of bringing in artists from outside the institution. Initially this section started by looking at Gillmore and Coupland’s work and how they would contribute to themes of isolation. A world renowned artist and author, Coupland’s recent text based practice has mutated towards addressing shared feelings towards the pandemic, social distancing and how as a society we perceive this last year. One of the texts reads “It Appears to be Mutating.” While both the work by Gillmore and Coupland are from the gallery's collection, they provoked me to mutate and introduce work by four younger artists outside the collection and encourage ideas of internalized isolation, physical isolation, spaces to isolate and the ramifications of isolation. Gillmore, a 1985 Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design and Coupland a ECIAD graduate in 1984, along with Emily Carr graduates Angela Grossmann (1985), Attila Lukacs (1985) and Derek Root, created the exhibition <em>Vancouver School</em>, 2006, a site specific installation. Everyone has individual and shared experiences at school and in the context of this show. Like this predecessor, the new version of a <em>Vancouver School</em> speaks to the isolation we have experienced individually and collectively. AFK in the context of <em>Its Mutating!</em> has supported the opening of its gallery to outside artists and their work to inhabit space with artists from the existing collection to create conversation around ideas of isolation and the ramifications that come with it.</p><p><strong>Jack Kenna <em>Cave Painting</em>, 2020 </strong>Oil, Acrylic and Spray on Canvas</p><p>Jack Kenna is a multidisciplinary artist whose vast practice ranges from painting, ceramics, glass work and even tattoos. Kenna graduated Emily Carr University for Art + Design in 2019. During the time of the pandemic artists have been denied space to make and exhibit work. At the same time, people in general have had considerable time to absorb content online. In Kennas case he has been able to compile this type of media as reference material for his paintings. Kenna has described his appetite for media consumption as “mining images.” Image mining becomes its own underlying symbol. The 3x3 instagram grid becomes apparent in <em>Cave Painting</em> when looking at this painting's compositional structure. Kenna takes the viewer through a snaking composition yet the objects are clearly divided into sections. What links the objects is the stone structure. Thinking literally about caves being a place to isolate or hibernate, Kenna's work tackles isolated personal space in the form of a cave but still drives a sense of connection through the comfort of personal effects. </p>
  • <p>Graham Gillmore is a Canadian Artist who graduated ECIAD in 1985. His large scale paintings incorporate text as a vehicle to disorientate and dislocate the viewer. The works scale can conceivably overwhelm the viewer and isolate them when being confronted with its physical being and content.  In the context of an exhibition produced during a pandemic, <em>No Hostage Needed if Blackmailed Within Canada</em> has dislocated our sense of connection to the immediate space. “No Postage Needed if Mailed Within Canada” is a reference to CPC (Canada Post Corporation). The rhetoric developed by the growing movement of conspiracy theorists is referenced in this exhibition through Gillmore’s work in how they distort the word “pandemic” to become “plandemic.” The co option of words into divisive language is quite sinister and there is a similar quality found in Gillmore’s piece. Sinisterness is being proliferated through society by right wing media and continues to undermine the reality that COVID-19 is not a hoax and should be treated as such. In contrast <em>No Hostage Needed if Blackmailed Within Canada</em>, presents a different narrative and does not promote a political agenda. What is being Black Mailed? Why would you need a hostage at all? Who is the hostage? These are all questions one may ask when reading the work but rather this piece exploits language and the precariousness it is faced with when being understood or regurgitated.</p>
  • <p>Brian Kokoska is a 2010 Emily Carr Univeristy of Art + Design graduate who resides in New York. In his first solo show <em>Long Hole Heart</em> at Will Aballe Art Projects (WAAP) he produced 5 new paintings and a custom sculpture titled <em>Wishing Well</em>. <em>Wishing Well</em>, as disclosed in an interview with Will Aballe, is a reference to his monochromatic installations. The monochrome sculpture is painted a vibrant yet dark blue. Working in monochrome Kokoska was specific about his colour choices and has an acute sense of how colour will be read or interpreted in an exhibition. In his show<em> Long Hole Heart</em> Kokoska chose a specific orange that the floor be painted to accompany the sculpture and paintings. Blue and orange are complementary colours and it is evident that Kokoska was creating a conversation between the floor and sculpture by juxtaposing these conceivably opposite colours. <em>Wishing Wells </em>isolated colour and its sinisterness complement works like <em>Green Soldier Number 1 2/3</em> on a visual level and relate to <em>50/50 </em>through its unnerving sinisterness. By exhibiting <em>Wishing Well</em> at AFK it has been displaced. The new environment removes the orange floor as a complementary tool and alienates it in the space much like how as a society we are alienated from one another and building a new relationship with ourselves in isolation.</p>
  • <p><strong>Kaylene Johnstone <em>Why Can't I Get Rid of this Panda Toothbrush, </em>2019 </strong>Oil paint on Canvas</p><p>Kaylene Johnstone is a queer femme painter. Her paintings focus on social change and personal dilemma. Johnstone’s <em>Why Can't I Get Rid of this Panda Toothbrush</em>, completed prior to graduating from Emily Carr University for Art + Design, 2019, is from a series of paintings that respond to her domestic living space. <em>Why Can't I Get Rid of this Panda Toothbrush</em>, depicts a bathroom sink. The sink space houses typical objects found in a bathroom, like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a soap dish. What activates the banality of this domestic space is the depicted filth. The painting still encourages a sense of comfort through colour and objects of innocence like the nightlight. During a pandemic, the work makes acute reference to the overwhelming sense of desolation and fear amidst a time of sickness. At the time Johnstone was suffering from an illness that absorbed her physical and mental strength. Because she was pysically incapacitated much of her personal space became overrun by the dilemma of having unfinished domestic tasks occupying her space. Much like the surface of the sink, Johnstones painting is covered in splatterings and represent her incapacity to maintain the cleanliness of her space.</p><p><strong>Jack Kenna <em>Cave Painting</em>, 2020 </strong>Oil, Acrylic and Spray on Canvas</p><p>Jack Kenna is a multidisciplinary artist whose vast practice ranges from painting, ceramics, glass work and even tattoos. Kenna graduated Emily Carr University for Art + Design in 2019. During the time of the pandemic artists have been denied space to make and exhibit work. At the same time, people in general have had considerable time to absorb content online. In Kennas case he has been able to compile this type of media as reference material for his paintings. Kenna has described his appetite for media consumption as “mining images.” Image mining becomes its own underlying symbol. The 3x3 instagram grid becomes apparent in <em>Cave Painting</em> when looking at this painting's compositional structure. Kenna takes the viewer through a snaking composition yet the objects are clearly divided into sections. What links the objects is the stone structure. Thinking literally about caves being a place to isolate or hibernate, Kenna's work tackles isolated personal space in the form of a cave but still drives a sense of connection through the comfort of personal effects. </p>

IT’S MUTATING!

Curated by James Peach

In the section, It's Mutating! works by Graham Gillmore (No Hostage Needed)and Douglas Coupland (Green Soldier Number 1 ⅔) are displayed from the AFK collection. The opportunity given by AFK was to curate a show from their collection with the possibility of bringing in artists from outside the institution. Initially this section started by looking at Gillmore and Coupland’s work and how they would contribute to themes of isolation. A world renowned artist and author, Coupland’s recent text based practice has mutated towards addressing shared feelings towards the pandemic, social distancing and how as a society we perceive this last year. One of the texts reads “It Appears to be Mutating.” While both the work by Gillmore and Coupland are from the gallery's collection, they provoked me to mutate and introduce work by four younger artists outside the collection and encourage ideas of internalized isolation, physical isolation, spaces to isolate and the ramifications of isolation. Gillmore, a 1985 Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design and Coupland a ECIAD graduate in 1984, along with Emily Carr graduates Angela Grossmann (1985), Attila Lukacs (1985) and Derek Root, created the exhibition Vancouver School, 2006, a site specific installation. Everyone has individual and shared experiences at school and in the context of this show. Like this predecessor, the new version of a Vancouver School speaks to the isolation we have experienced individually and collectively. AFK in the context of Its Mutating! has supported the opening of its gallery to outside artists and their work to inhabit space with artists from the existing collection to create conversation around ideas of isolation and the ramifications that come with it.