What If… – Algoma University BFA Thesis Group Exhibition

What If…
Algoma University BFA Thesis Group Exhibition
Kate Lapish, Shannon Turner, Winter Pearson, Kyrstiana Bourdage
April 12th,  7 – 9 pm

As the title of this exhibition suggests, there are questions being posed by each of these artists. While pursuing very individual concerns, each of them has begun their investigation with a proposition, or a series of questions, that the work attempts to answer.

In addressing the nature of memory, Winter Pearson has asked “What if I just began drawing, every day, the images that I recall? Would it add up to a whole? Would I remember more through this act of recollection and recreation?”.  Pearson’s poetic assemblage of fragments of memory coalesce into a sensory reconstruction of ‘home’. There are repeated images, touchstones that suggest continuity among the shifting spaces. We can imagine ourselves walking through rooms and feeling the light change (is it a different season, or are we in a different time and place now?), and through this experience, a solid representation of any one place eludes us, but what we are given is richer; a sense of the passage of time and accumulated experience.

Kate Lapish questions the nature of our response to images of faces. So ubiquitous are images of the human face, how do we respond when confronted with fractured/disassembled/ reconstructed faces? What is our response to faces that refuse to come into focus? In deconstructing these portraits, are we as viewers, enticed to look more closely? Interestingly, the more time one spends with these drawings, the less we see this ‘rearrangement’ of features as an indignity to the form, and the more it appears as a sort of tender focus – simply a way of directing where our eye might want to linger, in order to notice the curve of a mouth, or the particular shape of an eye.

Shannon Turner’s elegant abstract works begin with a fairly simple proposition. She establishes a set of ‘rules’ for herself (such as “draw a set of radiating lines that never touch each other” or “start drawing small circles and stop when the square is full”).  The end result of these ‘instructions’ is not predetermined. She gives herself steps to follow, and allows the process to unfold. Despite the potential for the works to appear mechanical and impersonal, we are always aware of the artist’s hand, and the slight imperfections and variations are critical. The resulting images have a kind of purity to them – free of all but inadvertent aesthetic decisions, they function as meditative objects – creating for us the viewers the same sort of calm the artist is seeking.

Kyrstiana Bourdage’s initial question, “How will people respond to, and interact with this drawing machine, and will that be reflected in the drawings produced?” evolved into a deeper questioning. As it became evident that that there were interactions people were not aware of (how they approached the machine – how often and from what side, for example) comparison of both the conscious, intentional interactions, and unintentional interactions became her primary interest. She then set about devising a means of tracking that interaction, interpreting the data, and translating all of it into a companion suite of drawings. In pursuing answers to these questions, Kyrstiana has essentially set the stage, and invited the world to participate in making drawings. She is both facilitator and trickster in this endeavor.