May 13/2013, :
May 13/2013, MORE PAINTINGS:
May 9/2013, NEW PAINTINGS:
For the last couple months I have been making some studies, mostly in oil, based on still life dioramas that I set up in my studio. I’m using bits of scrap wood left over from various building projects and combining them with pieces of the scale model from my installation Good Work. What started out simply as an exercise or practice in painting has turned in to a method through which I can reconstruct and deconstruct the images, symbols, and ideas that I started to explore in the installation.
March 4/2013, this should have happened long ago:
I thought I had already posted this video months ago, but it turns out I hadn’t.
Below is a link to the main video component of my installation Good Work. The video is entitled The Big Wash. Many thanks to Alanadale for all their hard work at writing and performing the music for the piece, to Jesse Krause and the Riel Gentlemen’s Choir + friends for their singing, and especially to Erika MacPherson for all her hard work in shooting and editing the video.
July 22/2012, Riel Gentleman’s Choir sings at GOOD WORK:
Below are two links to videos of the Riel Gentleman’s Choir performing inside my installation at the opening of GOOD WORK. I have also included a link to some live recordings of our first ever performance earlier this year at Mennofolk, 2012. Enjoy.
July 19th/2012, Good Work: A Handout
Below you will find a link to a pdf version of the brochure that accompanied my installation Good Work. You may print it out and assemble it into a small book, or just read it off the pdf if you like. If you happened to come to the show, you would have found a small stack of brochures available on a small shelf at the top of the belvedere, an architectural construction from which one gains perspective.
Good Work: The Absurdity of Labour in the Garden of Sisyphus
In this essay I provide historical, mythological, and philosophical context through which the viewer might begin to ask questions about my installation Good Work. It should be read less as a solution or answer to the work, and more as a guide or starting point from which the reader might more fully engage with the ideas and narratives fleshed out in the installation.
I hope you find it helpful and worth the read.
Good Work artist talk June 2012:
Thanks to everyone who came out to my talk on June 23. Thanks especially to all the folks who had such insightful and challenging questions. I appreciate all the support!
I have included a link to the video of the talk:
June 2012, Good Work, a success!
I have posted a few images of my installation Good Work , currently on exhibition at aceart, in Winnipeg, MB.
I appreciate all the support for this project. It has turned out to be a huge success, and I’m still reeling in all the excitement!
May 19, casting a crew in salt:
For the last few days I have been perfecting my (secret) recipe for casting salt sculptures. I have settled on a good mix and am pleased with the results. I have made seven silicone rubber molds, three large versions and four small versions and am quickly amassing quite the crew.
The design of the figure is based on Russian Constructivist drawing principles, specifically the figurative works of Varvara Stepanova, where only a straight edge ruler and pair of compasses is used to make lines. Russian Constructivism was a Russian avante-garde art movement that was active from 1913 through the 1940s. Aesthetically Constructivism was minimal, geometric, and ordered. The Russian Constructivists were a revolutionary group of men and women who understood the role of art as serving a social purpose. They were skeptical of art as a spiritual practice, looking instead to industry and production to take their ques. With their new approach to making and understanding art, the Constructivists brought together the worlds of art and production. They used new industrial materials to make objects that were intended to be incorporated into and reflect modern life, ushering in the new Communist era.
With this part of my project I am reclaiming the spiritual aspect of the creative process while employing Constructivist techniques and principles. For the first week of my exhibition I will be working in the workshop component of the installation, mass producing as many totem salt figures as I can. When the work week is complete, I will sacrifice the crew by submerging them in the fountain. Over the following days the figures will slowly dissolve in the water, transforming it into salt water, reminiscent of blood, sweat, and tears.
Below are some images of my setup in the studio as I prepare for the weeks ahead.
Good Work, an introduction:
Now that the majority of the building is completed for my upcoming exhibition I am turning my attention toward writing. Below is the introduction to an essay I am writing about the work I have made. Stay posted for the full essay.
Good Work is a multi media installation combining architectural sculptures, video, and live performance to offer a retelling of the classical Greek myth of Sisyphus. It is, in a way, a multi media lament to the gods. With this retelling, I bring together three distinct narratives, the Sisyphus narrative, my personal narrative, and the narrative of the making of the work itself. The resulting dialogue confronts questions of masculinity, work, repetition, and ritual.
I have spent the last three years working a day job as a drywall taper and restoring ornamental plaster. The daily grind of working a job that is both incredibly repetitive and laborious in an environment that is overtly gendered as a masculine space has caused me to continually reconsider what it means to be a good man, and what it means to do good work. The myth of Sisyphus has become a significant narrative through which I might consider and contextualize such musings.
With this installation I make use of common construction materials such as lumber, poly, drywall, and plaster to create a series of architectural sculptures, which, together make up a hybrid workspace and sacredspace. Videos of clownish workers performing various repetitive and laborious tasks play within the structures. In the middle of it all I will be working, as a live performance, at mass-producing a crew of small figurative sculptures that, through a ritual performance, will be absorbed into the larger installation. The result is a mysterious and playful installation, which attempts to engage honestly with a conception of masculinity that is lived out through daily labour. In a culture that is steeped in irony, laziness, and meaningless work, this installation is a return to sincerity and the discipline of ritualized labour.
Studio shots, May 15, 2012, one month to go:
I have taken about a month off from my day job to complete my final preparations for my exhibition in June. I’m almost finished my second week of long, hard days in the studio and I don’t think I could be any happier. The work is progressing on schedule with very few setbacks and I’m very pleased with the results. After steadily plugging away at this project for the last two years it is a pleasure to have some good concentrated time to buckle down and get ‘er done. I have just about finished building everything that I can before I get into the actual gallery space. Below are a series of photos from my studio. As you can see, the more work I make, the less space I have to work in. It’s a good thing I start the install in the gallery in a couple weeks!
The Big Wash, an update:
Progress for my upcoming exhibition at aceartinc. in Winnipeg is moving along nicely. A couple of months ago I did a performance piece that was documented on video. The resulting video piece, entitled The Big Wash, will be projected onto an eight by 12 foot screen as part of my installation at aceartinc. this summer.
The basic premise of the performance was to perform a ritual cleansing, or ablution, drawing a parallel between ablution and the actual cleaning of the body after a long day of hard work. I commissioned Winnipeg indie, prog, folk musicians Alanadale to write a song specifically for the performance and I could not have been more pleased with the result.
The song Alanadale wrote is not only beautiful and musically complex, but lyrically it is smart, poignant, witty, and well researched. It takes as its starting point the classical Greek myth of Sisyphus. In this version Sisyphus, after centuries of rolling his stone up the mountain only to watch it roll back down again, eventually erodes the mountain into a trench. He leaves his rock, resting in it’s trench, to recruit all the slaves and indentured servants in a rebellion against the gods. It is a beautiful and rousing spectacle . I could have asked for nothing more.
It was a great night, starting at 6PM and running right until 2 AM. There were almost thirty men who showed up to sing in the choir, I was overwhelmed by their support and excitement. It was hard to believe that all the various elements came together so perfectly. The band had never played with the choir, the choir had never seen the music before that night, and the crew had only a couple hours to get the stage set, lit, and the musicians sound checked while the choir rehearsed their music. We ran through the performance about five times through and somehow it all came together. It was a long haul and everyone stuck in there and performed beautifully.
This production required lots of help from lots of different people. I have been very lucky to work with talented and experienced videographers Erika MacPherson, Wendy Buelow, and Bruce Little, and sound technician Andy Rudolph. Alanadale, who is Thomas Krause, George Dyck, and Dale Thiessen worked very hard and performed beautifully. The choir, which is too big to list all the names here, was amazing and robust. Thank you to all of you!
The video is almost finished and will be released online very soon. Keep posted!
A wooden bathtub!:
I have just finished making a wooden bathtub. It will be included in my upcoming exhibition at aceart in the summer. The tub is made out of two layers 1/8 inch baltic birch plywood, with oak ribs. I have just finished putting it through a number of tests to make sure it is thoroughly sealed. It passed the fourth test. The tub will be used as a prop in a video I will be shooting in early December where I take a bath in it while Alandale and a rousing men’s chorus sing a beautiful song. The tub will also be incorporated into the installation as a fountain. It will be filled with water and a pond pump will cycle water through a kitchen tap fountainhead mounted on the wall above. Below are some pictures from the studio.
Shadow puppet animation:
I have been working for the last number off months with Curtis Weibe, a video artist and puppeteer friend of mine. We are making a music video for local Winnipeg operatic indy band Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers. The video is for the first track off their new album Hans My Lion. The majority of the video will be a shadow puppet show, with a few scenes using stop motion animation. Below is a short clip of a fight scene between a young lion and the boy Samson. More to come, keep posted…
Good Work Mask Prototypes:
So, I’m getting ready to shoot a video in early December. The video will consist of me taking a bath inside a wooden tub while local Winnipeg prog/folk darlings, Alanadale, performs a new song (commissioned specifically for the video). Alandale will be accompanied by a rousing men’s choir. Each person in the video, choir, band, and bather, will be dressed in blue jeans, a denim or blue work shirt, and a hood/mask. Posted below are three mask prototypes. I have settled on Prototype03. Let me know what you think…
Also, check out some of Alanadale’s music, They have a new album coming out soon!
Good Work maquette:
I am preparing for an exhibition next summer. The work will be a large scale installation involving architectural sculptures, video, and performance. The working title is Good Work. It will be a hybrid sacred space and workspace where I will explore thoughts on work, ritual, and discipline. So far I have completed a scale model of the entire installation and have begun construction on some of the architectural components. What you see below are photographs of the scale model, or maquette.
Upcoming Radio interview:
I’m going to be interviewed on Eat Your Arts and Vegetables, CKUW 95.9 on Thursday September 23 at 5:30 PM. We’re going to talk about what I’ve been doing lately, listen to some music, and tell scandalous stories. Please listen in Winnipeg at 95.9 or http://ckuw.ca/ on the web.
I have a piece in a group show that opens this Friday, September 16th 2011. If you’re in Winnipeg come check it out.
New Work, September 2011:
I recently finished a new painting. It is a commissioned piece where the client asked me to make a painting of his family, not so much a straight up portrait, but something that included them in the image. They also wanted to be depicted as foxes. The client is a drywall subcontractor and also happens to be my boss. The piece is entitled Under the Gun.
For the last month or so I have been working on a painting. It is almost finished and I thought it would be nice to post some pictures of it in progress.