MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 10 – OCTOBER 1, 1994
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1994 AT 8 PM
ARTIST TALK: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1994 AT 8 PM
LOCATION – STRIDE GALLERY
722, 11 AVE S.W, CALGARY, ALBERTA
Born and raised in Calgary, MARY SCOTT is an important figure in the local, regional and national art communities. As an educator at the Alberta College of Art, she has influenced many younger artists. As an audience member from this community, she has been responsible for establishing venues to bring many artists’ work to the public. Scott was the founder of the “dL” Gallery, co-founder of the Stride Gallery (along with Don Corman and Colleen O’Neill), and now, has opened the One White Wall Gallery in her own home. Abandoning the orthodox tools and traditions of the trade has become Mary Scott’s signature.
I would like to ramble a bit about Mary Scott’s work as an artist. For the simple reason that it has been discussed by far more able bodies that my own. I shall avoid discussing Scott’s extensive reading practice. Instead I will address the aspects of Scott’s work (past and present) that intrigue and affect me.
In her extensive art practices, Scott has presented (and presents) the viewer with the body, represented literally, metaphorically, through text and even through absence of the body. This is a body that is not depicted according to specific exterior experience and in such a way as to make a simple naming possible. The “Body” in Scott’s practice is both from the sick/hurt experience as well as from the healthy experience. In the work which includes text, the society-affected body is given a very strong voice. Different methodologies are explored through the various lines of text in a given painting. This work, using quotations and constructed texts, is so poly-vocal that the paintings seem to be having open discourses with themselves.
Every person is willed in a different way when viewing and thinking about art. Viewing art like Scott’s, which has the capacity to lead your thoughts to one topic of another, requires more investigation. The text in Scott’s paintings serve to create a context for images present, but also to give the viewer (reader) ideas on topics and sub-topics hinted at. I find this particularly engaging. My thoughts keep moving in new directions as I view the painting, in essence making me go further and invest more.
Past the “first read” is, of course, Scott’s notion of historic painting and the deconstruction (denial?) of painting as an act. This is evident in Scott’s syringe-painted works, also in the slashing and shredding o canvas and various materials. One’s instinct is to classify the work outside the realm of painting. But they are paintings, just as Mary Scott is a painter.
The urge to solve and name is enormous. One is faced with interpreting that which is quite obviously one things (red silk, for example) yet pointing at another. I am personally intrigued and excited by Scott’s work because I feel she is giving us the raw foods to examine and analyze at our own pace. I feel she could either be manipulating the facts or just presenting them. It is like no knowing if you are solving problems or creating them. The challenges given to us are refreshing given the prefab simplicity one encounters every day.
Mary Scott’s paintings, beyond aesthetic beauty, have the weight and depth of an extensive theory base that refrains from solving itself for the viewer. What degree of challenge does this hold? What amount of uncertainty is there? What is hidden and how much is given away? That is what I am left asking myself. I am not discouraged. Rather, I enjoy having the privilege of thinking though it myself.
I make my own thoughts about Mary Scott’s paintings. I think that is what is intended, so I am content to accept that challenge.