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Saskatoon
Tarin Hughes
2015 Critic's Picks
December 17, 2015

BlackFlash 32.2 feature artist Scott Fitzpatrick’s live DIY filmic experiments using film loops, projectors, and appropriated designs and patterns were a highlight of the magazine’s launch in April. His treatment of the medium in these expanded cinema performances and the nuance of each investigation became evident through borrowed imagery and experimentation with colour, texture, and shape. The speed, pulse, and duration of each piece revealed a kind of submersive tempo. The most challenging and pleasing performances of the night was Dingbat’s Revenge – a black and white overlapping of skulls, computer symbols, and various icons – delivered in a rapid fire, anxiety-inducing, yet hypnotizing sequence.



Robin Brass, Hot As The Sun: Homage to miškotē pizihki, 2015 (image: Debra Piapot)

Without a doubt Tribe Inc.’s 20th Anniversary take-over of Saskatoon (Treaty 6 Territory) was the exhibition of the year and emblematic of their dynamic history and ongoing vision as a nomadic and experimental artist-run organization. Wanda Nanibush’s curated exhibition Fifth World (including Sonny Assu, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Jordan Bennett, Nicholas Galanin, Ursula Johnson, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Meryl McMaster, Skeena Reece, Travis Shilling, and Charlene Vickers) was the last show at the fifty-year-old Mendel Art Gallery. With artists working through social, political, and cultural inquiry, Fifth World marked a fitting end and harkened the new consciousness behind the concept of Leslie Marmon Silko’s Fifth World. Simultaneously, Tribe Executive Director Lori Blondeau organized Dana Claxton: Revisited at AKA artist-run, Bear Witness: The Ultimate Warriors at Paved Arts, the billboard project Don’t Speak by Edward Poitras, and four panel discussions over two days in May. The cumulative series of events resulted in a powerful exchange throughout the city, ending with Robin Brass’ performance Hot As The Sun: Homage to miškotē pizihki. Accompanied by Blondeau, Brass piled heaps of bee pollen every few feet down a back alley (behind the AKA/PAVED building), scuffing and kicking her way through the pollen, she then laid within a circle of golden rocks and slung dandelions at the sun. The pollen in the alley lasted for months into late summer.

Finally and totally at random one Saturday, I looked up and saw a plane drawing patterns in the sky. A few days later I learned they were commissioned drawings by Dana Claxton, Brendan Fernandes, Karilee Fuglem, Dagmara Genda, Alison Norlen, and Adrian Stimson performed by aerobic pilot Stefan Trischuk. To use the sky as an impermanent surface and exhaust as material necessitated considerations of boundaries, locality, and ephemerality, while allowing the artists to explore place, Indigenous knowledge, and interrelationships. The Sky is the Limit, curated by Sandra Fraser for Remai Modern, was a surprising and fleeting gesture, finding resonance in its impermanence.


Tarin Hughes is a curator based in Saskatoon where she is the Executive Director of AKA artist-run. She received her BA in Art History from the University of Waterloo. Her recent and upcoming curatorial projects include Maggie Groat & Barbara Hobot: Untitled (new visions) at AKA, To Space To Place at Schleifmühlgasse 12-14 in Vienna, and a pending project as curator-in-residence with 221a in Vancouver.

 

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