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Halifax
Anna Taylor
Mollie Cronin at Seven Bays Cafe | Elise Boudreau Graham at Lost & Found
June 14, 2017

“The Barista Doesn't Have A Crush On You” reads a black and white comic panel hanging on the wall of Seven Bays Café. Soft Fail is Mollie Cronin’s first show as Art Brat Comics. Using her analog design skills and a projector, she blew up pictures from her sketchbook into poster-sized drawings, and then traced and inked them. They are images that have been filling my social media feed, and feeding my little underwaged soul, for at least a year strong. Her unabashed wit takes aim at small-city/big-town life, media-based dating trends, and freelance work/life balance, but the strongest read I get from her work is about being a woman in an art scene that is 70% femmes who are still wrestling power and platforms from the 30% cis-male population that we graduate with.



Mollie Cronin, The Barista Doesn’t Have A Crush On You & Other Ego Busting Revelations (photo: Kate Ashwood)

Exhibiting at the same time is Elise Boudreau Graham’s Some New Landscape Paintings at Lost and Found just around the corner. Boudreau Graham’s work consists of large hanging banners of screen-printed text. The one-to-two meter black fabric textiles are obviously not landscape paintings. One of her tapestries reads: “The expectation of a long life is a privilege.” It hangs next to a soft silk, hand-dyed textile hooked by one corner to the wall so you have to stretch it out to see it all. This piece is printed with a quote that was directed at the artist when she was working her side gig as a barista. It is an unnecessarily long explanation from a customer on why he does not tip service workers.

In communication these two shows reinforce one another as expressions of femme experience claiming spaces that are alternatives to the standard gallery setting. Both artists speak directly to all women, queers, and femmes searching for humour and good stories while surviving within capitalist patriarchy. Both artists are born in the Maritimes and they continue the legacy of side-hustling by generations of under-waged Nova Scotians in a suffering economy on unceded Mi’kmiq land. Deep self awareness of the privilege inherent in access to work rides alongside a need for self sufficiency, access to food/housing, and – if we dare – the fulfilment of working for pay in the industry we are trained to work in.


Seven Bays Café: http://sevenbaysbouldering.com/en/
Mollie Cronin: Soft Fail continues until July 6.

Lost and Found Shop & Gallery: https://www.instagram.com/lostandfoundhfx/
Elise Boudreau Graham: Some New Landscape Paintings continues until June 22.


Anna Taylor is an artist, crafter, and organizer sitting on the board of the Halifax Crafters Society. She is Akimblog’s Halifax correspondent and can be followed on Twitter @TaylorMadeGoods.

 

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