VERTICALITY: IN COLLABORATION WITH ENRICHED BREAD ARTISTS

    Friday, July 18, 2008 to Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Opening
    • Friday, July 18, 2008

    Workshops: Contemplative Geometry Instructor: Barbara Brown Wednesday, July 23, 6:30 pm to 9:30pm: Fee $30

    Monoprint Instructors: Svetlana Swiminer & Joyce Westrop Wednesday, 10am - 1pm: July 30, Fee: $30 + $10 materials or Sunday, 1pm - 5pm: Aug 10, Fee: $30 + $10 materials

    Movement and Mark Instructor: Kenneth Emig Sunday, July 20, 1 pm to 4:30, Fee: $30 Workshops to be held at EBA- 951 Gladstone Avenue T. 613.230.2799 to register. Perceptually speaking, when viewing something vertical a strange thing happens to our vision. Objects tend to diminish in size in an unusual manner. When we look at the moon on the horizon, it can appear tremendously large. As it travels upwards in the sky, it seems to get smaller - even though it is the same distance away. Verticality could imply hierarchy as one has to look up to see the top. It could also indicate a journey upward, away from our earthy existence or up the ladder of success.

     

    Each artist in the Enriched Bread Artist collective (EBA) has a unique way of approaching the subject of verticality. The collective is accustomed to working along common subject lines as they regularly host exhibitions in the communal space they occupy on Gladstone that houses their studios. This does not mean that the work is similar, rather the use of common themes presented in different ways points to the diversity of each artist’s approach.

     

    Juliana MacDonald and Carl Stewart both use the butterfly to explore the fragility of life. MacDonald’s multi-layered work uses the cocoon to show the possibility of a life not yet achieved or possibly not to be realized. Stewart’s work takes a more personal tone and recalls the process of grief. Butterflies as a symbol of good luck were a common decoration on houses in the 1950s and 1960s. They can fly upwards and away, but if we try to grasp them too tightly, they will die. In addition, dealing with themes of mortality, Marika Jemma utilizes found materials to build a sculptural piece, which reflects the process of growth and decay, birth and death.

     

    Garbage – the traces of our existence - can speak to the excesses of western culture and form the basis of a social critique that concerns the environment. Joyce Westrop uses found materials such as exploded tires from the side of roadways to construct a skewed ladder that seems to attempt to reach the sky. In this case, the ladder, if scaled, would collapse and make the climb futile, similar to the linear concept of progress. Uta Riccius upsets the expected concept of verticality by collapsing the visual space of her work. Her cast objects, made from plastic materials that would have been thrown out, are placed neatly on this flattened space. Karen Jordon is another artist who is concerned with the environment. Her work is constructed from materials that also would have been discarded – in this case donated pieces of cassette tapes. These artists play with the idea of consumption and waste in our society.

     

    Gayle Kells’ 1950’s formal dress of recycled butter wrappers articulates concepts of the body and our obsession with image. One pound of fat is equal to one pound of butter. Amy Thompson’s girl is looking longingly to a ladder that is beyond her grasp as it lacks bottom rungs. Issues of sexually, identity and perfection are apparent in their work. The body is important to Cindy Stelmackowich's work, as well. She critically questions the way that medical science constructs and deconstructs perceptions surrounding the body.

     

    Tavi Weisz’s people could either be climbing or falling. Metaphorically speaking, one could lead to the other; on any climb to the top, gravity can take hold and force us to the bottom. Conversely, Barbara Brown celebrates the power of the circle to heal, for her verticality is expressed through a perpetual cyclical flow that achieves balance.

     

    Three artists who play with abstraction in the keenest sense are Dipna Horra, Sarah Anderson and Daniel Sharp. Dipna’s two-dimensional works explode with brilliant colour and expressive composition. Sarah Anderson’s forms and colours visually play with the eye and each other. Daniel Sharp’s compositions, inspired by shapes found in nature, are reminiscent of the shadows they cast. The shadows hint at the solidity of the object, while maintaining the suggestion of their fragility. Painter Hedda Sidla’s works display her interest in the landscape, through use of patterns and form. These works, though not literal translations of any given location, capture the mood and intuitive memory of place.

     

    Science has been challenging our construction of space through theories that makes probable parallel universes and multiple dimensions. Works that incorporate and hint at new possibilities surrounding these ideas are Svetlana Swinimer, Jean Halstead and Kenneth Emig. These artists appear to go beyond the three-dimensional space that we occupy. While each work is unique, they all transport us into unpredicted spaces that allow us to imagine beyond the expected.

     

    Finally, does viewing vertically imply that one is looking from the bottom up, or the top down? One EBA artist explained the concept in relation to the Greek myth of Icarus. His desire to fly was so great that despite grave warnings from his father, upon the granting of his wax and feather wings, he flew to close to the sun. Icarus, with shards of melting wings falling around him, plummeted to the earth and died. Multiple interpretation and investigations of verticality have allowed the artists from the Enriched Bread Artist Collective to create a unique exhibition. While diversity makes its presence known, the works hold together and allow us to imagine beyond one single or simple explanation. Leanne L’Hirondelle Director/Curator Enriched Bread Artists Enriched Bread Artists (EBA) is a multivalent collective of diverse Ottawa artists. The collective takes its name from the fact that the cooperatively run studio group is located in a former bread factory. Originally formed in 1992 by graduates of the University of Ottawa, the member artists have changed over time, in an ongoing artistic ferment. EBA is an art studio and an artistic laboratory. Today EBA is the biggest artist studio co-op building in the Ottawa region. Artists in the collective show their work locally, nationally and internationally. For the Ottawa community, EBA artists present an annual studio open house every October. Daniel Sharp