LOCAL(E) – SHELLY MILLER + KEVIN RODGERS + ZOE WILLIAMS

MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
MAY 7 – MAY 29, 1999
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, MAY 7, 1999 AT 8 PM
ARTIST TALK: SATURDAY, MAY 8, 1999 AT 2 PM

LOCATION – STRIDE GALLERY
722, 11 AVE S.W, CALGARY, ALBERTA

 

EXHIBITION INFORMATION

LOCAL(E) is a group exhibition that brings together three Calgary artist whose means of production can be described by the word domesticity. Kevin Rodgers’ range of material includes found objects, love letters, wallpaper and paint. In the mixed-media works represented here, he uses Coca-Cola, tinted latex paint and coloured pencil crayons to laboriously fill in sections of the commercial wallpaper and reiterate the existing design. This act of copying or re-patterning continues in the work of Shelley Miller. She squeezes icing directly onto the wall to paint patterns mimicking wallpaper designs from the 17th and 18th centuries. In LOCAL(E), Miller also creates site-specific designs referencing and accentuating unique architectural features in the space. Williams photographs graffiti marks around the city and then embroiders these shapes onto fabric using silk thread. After this physical process of translation, she ends up with a complex collection of embroidered signs, that spell out a language that is neither recognizable, nor foreign. Shelley Miller, Kevin Rodgers and Zoe Williams have very disparate and wide-ranging practices, but they all recall the dismembered notion of home.

 

ARTIST BIO

SHELLEY MILLER graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Deisgn in Calgary with a Diploma of Fine Arts from Painting in 1997. She is currently taking her Masters of Fine Arts in Open Media at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

KEVIN RODGERSis currently finishing a one-year Independent Studio Program at the Toronto School of Art, Ontario. In 1998, he graduated with a BFA from the Drawing Department at ACAD.

ZOE WILLIAMS lives in Calgary where she graduated with a Diploma of Visual Arts in Painting from ACAD in 1995. She is a board member and resident artist of the Untitled Art Society studio collective.

 

EXHIBITION TEXT

To Write Home

Dear Inhabitant:

(1) The rooms we inhabit, and the daydreams induced by such, are contigent (coherent) upon the architectural features and decorative styles of that space. These images are reminders of past relationships with homes and the lives created there. Shelley Miller incorporates and reiterates a room’s distinctive architectural features of nuances into her current work. By referencing 17th- and 18th-century décor, she combines histories with the present day. Miller works site-specifically, re-decorating the gallery space to further accentuate existing architectural components. For example, patterns from the original tin ceiling (early 19000s) are extended onto the wall with cake icing. Colourful and elaborate icing is squeezed directly onto the wall to for rosettes and Baroque wallpaper designs. An image of home emerges within our mind, and sets us off in a daydream of past dwellings. Miller’s act of ‘decorating’ rends us conscious of our own marks and styles within our homes, and how they are evidence of the person and the personal.

(2) “Every time I moved houses hope was renewed: Rue de Seine, Rue Royer-Collard, Avenue d’Orleans, Rue Mazarine, behind the shop Hotel Montalembert, Hotel des Gds-Augustins, 63 Park, 333 E 41, 142 E 18, 335 W 22, 347 W 20…475 Dean. Broken Promises. I’ve paid my debts and I can go: bliss.” Louise Bourgeois, Destruction of the Father, Reconstruction of the Father(London Violette Editions, 1998), p.365

(3) “Therefore, the places in which we have experienced daydreaming reconstitute themselves in a new daydream, and it is because of our memories of former dwelling-places are relived as daydreams that these dwelling-places of the past remain in us for all time.” Gaston Bachlard, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), p.6

(4) Kevin Rodger’s recent work on wallpaper develops this sense of a love that exists within one’s home or bedroom. It is a love that is confined to a familiar place, unable to be expressed outside of the barrier of the bedroom walls. He captures the doodlings of love and its counterparts by way of ‘filling in’ sections around floral-printed wallpaper and applying glued on paint can drippings and text that express his longing for ‘the girl next door’. Rodgers’ wallpaper pieces entitled Pretty Paintings For the Bedrooms of Pretty Girls evoke this idea of sentiment by recalling teenage love, romantic endeavors and days that slipped by us. He uses manufactured wallpaper as an object that performs history by way of daydream and recollection of the viewer, and onto it he attaches remnants of the personal and private. Whether read as partly earnest or partly sarcastic endeavors, Rodgers’ work successfully complicate our notions of childhood loves and the power of nostalgia that are so central to domestic life.

(5) Identity resonates through language. The ways that we use language are identifiers of our differences and similarities. When marks such as graffiti tags (personal identifiers) are displaced from their original context (a city centre’s infrastructure) and recontextualized, their original meanings become virtually unreadable. Zoë Williams photographs existing graffiti tags and then embroiders (appropriates) them onto fabric. In the work Chimera, Williams embroidered a tag in red silk thread onto the chest of a handmade organza apron. The tag has become an aesthetic form that has been transferred from one locale (graffiti culture) to another (the domestic). Now this shape is associated with the marginalization of a different voice; a history of women’s relationships to the home. This object functions as a translator of language and identity within the domestic setting. Embroidered delicate handkerchiefs accompany the pinned up apron as pocket reminders.

 

WRITER BIO

ROBIN ARSENEAULT curated local(e) and wrote this corresponding text while working as the Programming Assistant at the Stride Gallery. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1998. She continues her practice in Calgary, Alberta, where she had an exhibition at TruckGallery in April/May, 1999.

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