MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
APRIL 12 – MAY 24, 2013
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 AT 8 PM
ARTIST TALK: SATURDAY, APRIL 13 AT 1 PM
LOCATION – STRIDE GALLERY
1004, MACLEOD TRAIL S.E, CALGARY, ALBERTA
BINOCULAR VIEW starts with the supposed act of bird watching but quickly devolves as Kris Lindskoog presents an imagined, fragmented interior of a cabin or loner’s retreat. Seen are a precarious viewing perch, various props, drawings, furniture, collections and artifacts. Lindskoog produces the works through the filter of the imagined inhabitant’s mind, appearing to present and distort an outlook on the world, where the uselessness of broken binoculars serves as a metaphor. Lindskoog weaves a narrative, but doesn’t quite tell the story.
KRIS LINDSKOOG is an artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Lindskoog uses an open-media approach to his work, which includes drawing, sculpture, installation and collecting. He has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.
/JASON DE HAAN
Kris Lindskoog’s Binocular View is an installation that starts with the remnants of a rather odd observer watching from a distance. The installation’s concepts devolve into a riddle from there, reverse engineering themselves into an apparent series of ingenious, inexplicable and sometimes paranoid decisions. Amid this atmosphere of amusement and bemusement, we are enticed to wonder, what was this for? And how was this made? And what is that? Other aspects of the work are more practical, their functions evident, but are no less eccentric; sustaining an intrigue that holds strong enough to tempt further gazing, guessing and making sense of, assembling clues held within the peculiar accumulations of an idiosyncratic character.
In the past, Kris Lindskoog’s own habits of collection (coins, stamps, hand-made knives and tools, tintypes), have been informed, and significantly augmented, by the necessities of a number of his installations, including Million Dollar Mountain Man (2002) and Search Party! (2009). In these projects, Lindskoog’s some-time strategy of imagining a distinct type of person, usually ingenious and woodsy, is a main point of departure. The result is accumulations of carefully chosen, manipulated and arranged objects: fishing lures, crossword puzzles, liquor bottles, nets, hammers, and band-aids. These have set scenes for a number of possibilities to become evident and eventually form an audience-constructed narrative arc in which the work continues to shift according to its relationship to itself. For example, before mysteriously vanishing from the scene, the searchers of Search Party! had apparently constructed makeshift soccer balls from their reflective orange safety vests and had synced a set of safety lights to cheap techno tracks. Beyond simple distraction it is as if their creativity and yearning for leisure carried them away—a proclivity mirrored by Lindskoog’s own stated desire to abandon strategy in favor of curiosity. Whether this was to the task at hand, or a calling beyond remains mysterious.
Whoever it is that is responsible for Lindskoog’s Binocular View is similar to these previously-fantasized figures and we again speculate as to who may have constructed and inhabited this space and with what actions and motivations. Could this person be a hunter? A bird-watcher? A peeping tom? Or something even more unscrupulous? His handiwork, a provisionally constructed two-tiered viewing platform, nearly spans the length of Stride Gallery. Haphazardly built from scavenged fence boards, two-by-fours and plywood, it is elevated by a number of small hordes: bottles, coins, books and a host of miscellaneous bric-a-brac—props that bear testament to time passed waiting, preparing and self-entertaining. Again, the purpose of some remains unknown, while several pairs of oddly-manipulated binoculars evoke uses that can only be guessed at, though evidence of activity and the potential for its re-activation remains present. One can easily imagine a number of scenarios playing out on this homemade stage.
From this platform, we surmise that Lindskoog’s anonymous oddball has, over an indeterminate time, transformed himself from a seemingly amateur yet industrious hobbyist into a deck-lounger-as-barge-captain on the sea of the Prairies, with a psychedelic blue-dyed cowhide (world map) to rest his weary feet upon. He’s a bit of a weirdo, but one looking outward, beyond dusty Macleod Trail, Calgary and into the splendor of Nature and its generosity toward its appreciators. There is always potential for creative action (often in the slight, subtle acts) and for witnessing of beauty in Lindskoog’s work, but with the notable absence of figure lies the possibilty of fear, and even terror. His own penchants for puzzling and mystery fiction are evident in this space, as is his compulsion to order. For the artist, as well as his constructed observer, systems of identification, classification, geography, recording, organizing and disseminating, are not the tools with which to collect/produce a physical object, but are the means toward experience.
The exhibition includes several large works on paper. These multi-colored spray drawings—perhaps suggestions of a bird so close that its fluttering wing brushed the lens of the binoculars—are interactions recorded as large, blurry monocular renditions. Delicately built up by many gentle layers of spritzed ink mixes, these so-slightly metallic, shifting color fields record a number of encounters with the unidentifiable—meetings that well illustrate the potential pitfalls of mechanically-mediated space. They connect to the irksomely-formed, egg-like objects resting on the far end of Lindskoog’s staged platform, further evidence of the best efforts of recording a real-life experience.
Binocular View persistently encourages curiosity and, regardless of its gazer’s ultimate game, the emphasis remains on looking, attention to specific detail, adapting and manipulating, and on discovering the value of objects in their potential—the foundations of Lindskoog’s own artistic activity. Simultaneously, Lindskoog offers an unfolding discovery of the luxury of scrutiny and the troubles of distance. Furnished by the decorative, utilitarian, and associative devices assembled to help (and hinder) in this endeavor, his is a resiliently hopeful meditation on the irony, and sadness, of being further removed from the object of one’s desire by the very act of perceiving it more closely.
JASON DE HAAN is a multidisciplinary Canadian artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has recently presented solo exhibitions at The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, ODD Gallery and with Miruna Dragan at The Khyber ICA and is represented in Canada by Clint Roenisch Gallery.