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Sandee Moore
Gunpowder for the Mind at the Art Gallery of Regina
August 16, 2017

Though the exhibition title is an awkward distillation of an Anti-Slavery Speech from 1852 by Wendell Phillips – “what gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind" – curator Jess Richter's survey of local print makers for the Art Gallery of Regina, Gunpowder for the Mind, goes far beyond the printing press.

April Dean, We Are Ill Equipped, 2013, inkjet print on film

April Dean's photos of wet T-shirts are a bewitching collision of quotidian crudeness and ethereal romance. Printed on transparent plastic reminiscent of X-rays, each garment's construction is revealed in the density of its seams, while folds in the fabric become dark veins. Although the body is notably absent, the damp cloth suggests the sensual and the corporeal.

Across the room, block letters shout their doubt about appropriating rap lyrics in letters incised from a pale yellow/brown image splotched with red, which I took to be Caucasian skin but is, in fact, a screen print of antique letterpress tympan paper. Like letterpress type, Robert Truszkowski's Am I a Rapper? can be set into different configurations and thus remixed like pop culture citations.

Pop culture of another era is remixed by Caitlin Mullan. Her works can be thought of as visual poems. The syntax is composed by Mullan and the words are drawn from Claude Paradin's Devises heroïques, a 16th Century book cataloguing symbols used by nobility. Mullan let her subconscious guide her compositions – a hand with outstretched fingers, a spike projecting from the tip of each, sits atop a leaky barrel ringed with a garland of twined rope – and, likewise, avoids providing a "key" for viewers to decode the works, hoping that each viewer will formulate their own meaning.

Cut-up, collage, and recombination are also recognized as the techniques of memory in Rowan Pantel's images of her parent's house. And lastly, while the print multiple literally springs to life in Eric Hill's camera-less film In Motion, identical impressions reveal the capricious activity of ink blobbing and smearing to animate the form of a man, a horseback rider, and a cat.

Art Gallery of Regina:
Gunpowder for the Mind continues until August 25.

Sandee Moore is a nationally exhibited artist, arts administrator, and occasional art writer. She can be followed on Twitter @SandeeMoore.



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