MSVU ART GALLERY
10 Jan 2015 – 8 Mar 2015
Beautiful Illusions presents works in graphic media by two young
Nova Scotian artists. Colosimo’s principal practice is drawing; Young favours drawing and indexical techniques, such as casting and monoprinting. For both, materials and process are key determinants of the meaning of their works. Themes of memory, transitory states and trace imagery pervade their art.
The title of the exhibition evokes the realism with which each artist renders subjects such as the façade of a wooden shack, a range of mountain peaks, or the intricate patterning of twisted wires in a chain-link fence. Virtuosic mimicry is not the only point of such images, however; “failures” such as smudges and anomalies of scale disrupt the illusions and remind viewers of the usually compliant but sometimes faltering hands and memories upon which the illusions depend.
OPENING RECEPTION Saturday, 17 January, 2 to 4pm.
ARTIST’S TALK & WORKSHOP Saturday, 28 February, 2
to 4pm. Following a discussion of her work, Young will lead a
workshop exploring textures through the art of frottage.
This past June I completed a residency aboard a Barquentine Ship through the fjords of Svalbard, located within 1333 kms of the North Pole. Spitsbergen, the main island of Svalbard, is host to stunning black and white mountains, hundred's of active glaciers and rich wildlife, all of which I was lucky to observe during my time North. We sailed some hard sea's, reached a latitude of 80.5 degrees North and I took over 4000 photographs which will inspire my work for years to come. Here is a peek into this magnificent landscape and the ice rubbing project I was developing on land.
Support Provided by Nova Scotia Arts and Maine College of Art's Artists at Work program.
Avalanche (an in progress drawing), Graphite and Pencil Crayon on Mylar, 3' x 12'
"Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience; to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder upon it, to dwell upon it.
He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it.
He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of the moon and the colors of the dawn and dusk.'
-N. Scott Momday as quoted in Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
Photo Credit: Stratton McCrady
I've been spending lots of time in my studio, and outside of it.
August 23- Sept 12, 2013- Charley Young and Katie Belcher exhibition drawings on paper and mylar at Studio 21 Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Check out the article in about the Studio 21 exhibition in The Coast:
This summer, Gabriella Sturchio paid a visit to my studio in Portland, Maine in preparation for an article to be published this Fall in MECA's Magazine. Here are her photographs from her visit.
This weekend was monumental. The 249 year old Charles Morris Building moved from it's site in Downtown Halifax to it's new home in the North End of the city. This isn't the first time this structure relocated and was forced to adapt to the changing needs of the city. My involvement with this structure began in 2009, shortly after the structure was spared demolish and relocated a stones throw from it's previous site. The structure sat on stilts for the last three years until this weekend.
Moving a building is a surprisingly common activity, but none the less requires a great deal of effort and collaboration. In recent years, many artists, architects, researchers, organizations and activists have used this building for inspiration. Vulnerable it sat, but forgotten it wasn't.
It is surreal to witness this structure move through the city streets, strapped to a truck. It is uplifting to see the generations of citizens captivated by this project and who gathered in the bitter bitter cold to welcome this building to it's new home. From this point on it will serve as affordable housing for youth and serve as a testament to community perseverance and the resiliency of a city.
I believe that art and architecture alike have power. It's built into the bones and spirit of a place. It's a spirit that is not replaceable through the creation of a modernized replica but acquired through time and human presence. Architecture serves as a physical reminder of a region's past and our collective histories.
I feel proud of the work we created, and prouder yet of the ability and agility of the human spirt. This is the first time I have witnessed this transformation and artistically feel empowered as I see the continued relevance and power of art.
Congratulations to the Ecology Action Centre, the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, Ark, Metro Non-Profit Housing and the countless individuals involved in this triumphant move.
Watch the documentary about our Morris Building Project, Carbon Copy:
Look! My work False Front(ier) created during my time as Artist in Residence at the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon was included in the lastest issue of Uppercase magazine. I just love this magazine!
For more about False Front(ier):
I had the great pleasure of seeing Ann Hamilton's latest installation, The Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. It would be an understatement to say that this exhibition has and will continue to influence me. At this point in my Graduate Studies this installation answered some questions I have been contemplating in my studio, mainly how to invite participation in an authentic manner. I appreciated Hamilton's utilization of her audience and their uninhibited willingness to participate. The body is a beautiful thing on a swing. It is self sufficient in it's mechanics and elegant in it's movement. On a swing, children and adults alike get wrapped up in play and behave in a utopic way, one that perpetuates sharing and collaboration; each participant pushing their friend for ultimate excitement, and then alternating roles. Swinging is an activity that most of us are familiar with or are capable of learning immediately. This installation gave the audience a purpose. They activated the work, initiating the movement and flutter of the glowing white curtain.
As my two classmates and I left the installation, we were all in agreement that art is, or should be MAGIC.
1800 Granville Street, Halifax NS
"All inhabited space bears the essence or notion of home"
- Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard
The Macara Barnstead Building located at 1800 Granville Street in Halifax served as a home to me. It was a place of employment but it was also a place of stability and comfort. Built in 1825 this historic property had seen numerous occupants ranging from Neal White and Company; a dry goods vendor, Miller Bros: piano and organ agents, J.P. Hagarty Musical Warehouse, Barnstead’s Drug Store and most recently a simple convenience store and The Flower Shop Ltd.
Dwarfed by the scale of the surrounding bank buildings the Macara/ Barnstead Building is currently experiencing a state of vulnerability. It is raw, exposed, stripped to the bone. For the past few weeks I've been documenting it's transition from a intact and usable site to a fragmented deconstruction and soon, it will rest as a braced facade.
In April, with the helping hand of many friends we printed the facade of the Macara Barnstead building, using a manlift. This fall I am completing the project about this site. The printed fabric is unpacked from its rubber made storage container and is in various states of alteration. The final piece will be a large scale (43' x 40') fabric installation, using polyester drapery fabric, interfacing, tarp, oxidized cotton and dyed cotton rope. More photos to come as the project evolves.
To see pictures of the printing of the facade follow this link
Photo credit thanks to Steve Farmer Photography
Support for this project has been provided by Nova Scotia Community, Culture and Heritage
Sometimes I surprise myself by finding a bit of courage (or maybe more accurately it's denial) somewhere within me.
It would be fair to say that upon picking up my rental car at the Halifax Airport I was in a pretty serious state of panic. My best friend Alyssa can attest to the fear and uncertainty I was feeling when leaving her house that day. I was to start a new adventure but truthfully, I wanted to still be in the Yukon. The drive was lonely but I had the continuous company of satellite radio to help me arrive in Portland unscathed.
The MFA program at the Maine College of Art is a Medium Residency program which requires 8 weeks on campus in Portland, Maine. The program is intense to say the least and I spent a considerable about of time in a pretty deep state of being doubtfully lost. Advisors and peers reassured me that you have to be lost to be found but regardless, being lost is a struggle.
The program wasted no time in asking very deep rooted questions of us and our work and I realized pretty quickly the things I needed to improve upon.
It was a challenge but I turned to my studio work and peers to provide me with any bit of certainly I could muster. I started to more seriously develop the work, currently untitled, about the Macara-Barnstead Building in Halifax as this was the last place I left off prior to leaving for Dawson. It was difficult to be in the mental space at the time to transport myself to a place that I wasn't currently existing within. I realized that I was experiencing the city of Portland, Maine in a very unusual way and that I wasn't allowing myself the time to literally explore the space I was inhabiting which is very unlike how I typically become familiar with a new location. I hadn't gone for a long long walk. I hadn't sat in a park to sketch the architecture nor had I photographed bits of the city.
So with that, my next step seemed obvious. It was time to go for a walk. This came at a time when I was getting more and more infatuated with the work of Francis Alys and his walks through urban spaces. I couldn't help but think about the way my body was traveling through the urban space and the openness for thought that it left for me during this intense period of doubt.
Since this time i have started reading Wanderlust: The History of Walking written by Rebecca Solnit. She argues that walking is a shared common experience and that there is a strong correlation between the body moving through space and the less charted travels of the mind. Her book states that when walking the mind moves at 3 miles per hour, a much slower state of existence than we are typically exposed to, thus allowing for a more thorough observation.
My experiences in Dawson and Portland have made it clear that walking has always been an important part of my artistic process and how I navigate and respond to the urban or rural environment that I find myself in. Walking provides me with a direct interaction to sites and gives me time to truly see the spaces I inhabit.
From my walks in Portland I created a series of image transfers based upon buildings with which I have no particular familiarity to. I don't know the occupants, nor do I know the history of these properties. These image transfers on vellum simply allowed me to explore my thoughts in a way that my large scale installations work does not. They are immediate, take less planning and allow me to compose. They are dark, layered and a bit uncanny.
By the end of the summer, with a fully saturated brain and notebooks full of artists and readings to investigate, I left as I arrived; with a rental car full of supplies, a few tears in my eyes and my faithful radio. Once again in transit.
I arrived armed with a backpack and a suitcase stuffed full with art supplies, winter clothing and a head full of open and unknown expectations. I settled into the upstairs studio of the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture's (KIAC) Macaulay house, Artist's Residence, over looking Princess Street. This studio served as my home base for my time in Dawson, but I soon realized that it would be difficult to find time for undivided studio time in such a small but bustling town.
My first full day in Dawson I bought a ticket to see Fred Eaglesmith at the intimate KIAC Ballroom. I throughly enjoyed the concert and have been listening to his tunes ever since. They bring a sentimentality to each listened moment and continue to leave me longing for Dawson.
I arrived in Dawson 2 days before the ice broke on the Yukon River. To outsiders this may seem like a small insignificant event but to the people of Dawson, this is what they have been eagerly awaiting during the dark of winter months. The 'break up' as locals affectionately call it, is met with eager anticipation as it signifies the transition from the depths of the Winter darkness to Spring and quickly to Summer. It didn't take more than one outing to catch the buzz that this event brings and before I knew it the tripod marker injected through the ice was drifting down river, sounding the alarm, and quite literally sending the citizens of Dawson running for the river to witness the event.
Much of my time in Dawson was spent wandering. Like many artists, the act of walking or hiking provides an extreme awareness and openness of thought that proves fruitful upon return to the studio. With my new friend Karen McKay and the company of others I hiked all over the hills that encompass Dawson. Karen and I both share an innate curiosity and would often find ourselves chuckling while bushwhacking through the hillsides of Dawson.
These hikes provided me with a deeper understanding of the histories of Dawson and how my own temporariness of presence echoes those of the gold miners who came before us. Our hikes brought us to the Moosehide slide, the Midnight Dome, Lousetown, the Paddlewheeler graveyard in West Dawson and back again to the dirt roads of Dawson.
My reason for being invited to the residency program was to complete a site-specific work about the architecture of Dawson. Working with David and Elaine Rohatensky at Parks Canada and the helping hands of many friends I developed a project I would later title False Fronts, False Frontiers. Still a work in progress, this project is a print of West’s Boiler Shop located in the heart of Dawson.
In 1896, gold was found in the hills of the Yukon signifying the start of the Klondike Gold Rush, which attracted over 30,000 perspective miners up and over the daunting Chilkoot Pass. Anticipating a temporary presence in Dawson City, miners and businessmen quickly constructed “boomtown” buildings from the limited resources that were available. These structures where never intended to have longevity. Today a visitor to this remote location would find structures in a distinct state of ageing. Some of which have a characteristic lean, thanks to the layer of permafrost underneath the city, manipulating the built structures above.
False Fronts, False Frontier, refers to the exaggerated false front facades, a common architectural characteristic of many buildings in this historic Northern city. It also references the daunting struggle of the thousands of miners who rushed to the Klondike in the hopes of striking it rich in the Gold Fields, but whose dreams where not entirely realized. Many left as poor as they came.To create this print, fabric was draped across the façade of the building, while an inked roller was used to record the textures of the wood, window frames, doors, etc. This printing approach allows for an exact scale replica of the building, emphasizing the worn textures intrinsic to this structure.
It would seem neglectful in this reflection to omit the significant amount of time spent at the pub while in Dawson. It's rather heartwarming to have a neighbourhood pub like Bombay Peggy's or the Pit, where you can roll in as a visitor to a town and within a few days experience your first bell initiated round purchased by a friend and have the bartenders know your name and your drink preferences by heart. Yukon Gold beer proved to be a faithful friend, but the real treat was my companions; fellow artist-in-residence, Andreas Horvath, Burton house writer-in-residence, Tim Falconer, hiker extraordinaire Karen McKay, the Dawson City welcome wagon, Laurie and Dan Sokolowski and the friendly faces of Gaby Sgaga and Meg Noila.
Dawson, I miss your 4 digit dialing, your fast moving clouds, immense hours of daylight, your hardy dogs, talkative ravens, welcoming faces and your daily surprises. Although I spent but a short month in your city limits your impact on me and my art presence is monumental and lasting.
I left Dawson with a list of things left unachieved. I never drank the Sourtoe cocktail. I never hiked to Moosehide and I never panned for Gold in Bonanza creek, among many other things. This, however was a deliberate ploy as my Mother always reminds me that it important to have reasons to go back to a place traveled. I couldn't leave Dawson knowing I'd done it all, because I knew than that I had to return.
It's been an exciting but busy summer that started by leaving my position at NSCAD University to quickly complete a time sensitive project about the Macara-Barnstead Building in Halifax. Before I knew it I moved out of my beloved apartment, temporarily adopted my cat out to a few friends and was hitting the sky ways bound for the Yukon and eventually back east to start my Master's Degree in Portland Maine.
I've been fortunate to experience some incredible places, commit to my artistic practice and meet many new friends this summer. Now that I'm back in Halifax it seems fitting to take some time to reflect on these experiences as already, they already seem so far way.