Montreal graffiti artists BOSNY gets up in Winnipeg.

Everyone loves a great “graffiti artist against the world” story. But this isn’t one of those.

Today, Montreal based graffiti artist BOSNY isn’t battling a fabled enemy. His hurdle, if any, is to introduce himself as a critical thinking visual artist to Winnipeg’s art scene.

The twenty-four-year-old has migrated west to Winnipeg to install his exhibition FREE CARROTS at gallery ___623___ in the Artspace building in the Exchange District. The exhibition runs from June 10 – 17, the opening reception on June 10 from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Most graffiti artists I know are speckled in paint dots and inked hands. Instead of aerosol paint dust, Bosny had fire engine red latex paint dribbled on his khaki coloured pants.

That fire engine red paint is the exhibition’s staple wall, showcasing one piece using a variety of mediums. Each of Bosny’s works in FREE CARROTS is set of mixed media works with an emphasis on digital prints, video projection and painting.

Bosny explained it’s the context of the work that drives the medium he uses with an emphasis on using “visual language that’s simple and accessible.”

Viewers are encouraged to feel, perceive and react to the exhibition as they experience it.

“I’m interested in the commonality of human experience, digital versus analogue, culture, and observation,” says Bosny.

“We take our screens, phones and technology as real life observation, which it isn’t, it’s very skewed and put into two dimensions. It warps the image, the aspect of time and it’s made static,” says Bosny. “[By] taking it [the skewed observation] as a real thing, I’m trying to draw attention from it.”

If you’re having a hard time following, here is the idea of skewed perception. Think of surrealist painter René Magritte’s The Treachery of Images also remembered as, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” French for “This is not a pipe.”

(For all you non-art nerds. It’s a painting of a pipe, meaning it’s not a real pipe but if you were to see a picture of a pipe and someone asked you what it was, you would say “it’s a pipe,” when it’s really only a picture of a pipe. Tell me if you’re still confused.)

Bosny has been a practicing artist for 10 years and been “stuck” with the name he gave himself when he was 13.

“It’s a name that people I have met eight or nine years ago will still call me…” says Bosny. “It was never a name I would introduce myself as, but it continues to be a name still used when people talk about me [his work].”

There is an appreciation for being incognito in the graffiti world and not having to use his real name.

“I have the ability to live my day to day life as a regular person… and not curate myself according to my practice [as some graffiti artists do],” says Bosny.

In Montreal, Bosny creates a variety of public works such as commissioned public murals. He currently works as a curator and gallery assitant in two galleries. He is in his second year of printmaking at Concordia University in Montreal and previously studied in Halifax for two years prior.

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BOSNY installing his show FREE CARROTS at ___623___ for his exhibition which runs from June 10 – 17. Photo provided by gallery curator Mahri White.

“You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels,” artist Graham Wiebe’s exhibition opens at Flux Gallery.

You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels by Graham Wiebe, Ma
Portrait of artist Graham Wiebe in front of photographs from his new exhibition “You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels,” showing at Flux Gallery May 13-20, 2016.

I was introduced to Graham Wiebe during his first day of university – at the time he was the second Graham I met in my life. He is also the most successful, pleasant and infectiously positive Graham I know to-date.  (Sorry other Grahams.)

Twenty-one-year-old Wiebe is a recent BFA graduate from the University of Manitoba, and Flux Gallery’s next exhibiting artist.

His exhibition, “You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels,” is a collection of recent photographs from the BFA graduate show and new pieces that are tremendous in scale.

The exhibition runs from May 13-20, opening night May 13 from 7-10 p.m. at Flux Gallery, 2-290 McDermot Avenue.

His works are described as “coming of age” narratives.

The photographs are an invitation to Wiebe’s “young punk” lifestyle.

“With the time I’m in right now, I’m trying to create some sort of sensitivity in a lot of the work, and beauty, and grotesque,” says Wiebe.

His exhibiting photographs vary in scale, meant to create intimacy or a visceral reaction.

Although the young artist is showing us a moment in his personal time and experience, the depth of feelings and tenderness captured in each photograph show Wiebe’s talent as a developed artist.

This is Wiebe’s first solo exhibition as a BFA graduate. He has also shown at Starving Artists Gallery/ Degrees Gallery at the University of Manitoba.

For the past few months, Wiebe’s photos have been featured online at Juxtapoz Magazine and Then There Was Us Magazine. He also has an upcoming show at La Maison Des Artistes Visuels Francophones in St. Boniface later this year.

For those who will enter into aceartinc’s current exhibition, Karen Asher’s photo series The Full Catastrophe will be a welcomed segue into Wiebe’s work.

“If people come into my exhibition thinking it’s [Asher’s photos] mine, I’ll be honoured,” says Wiebe. “The mood is very similar and she works in portrait based [so does Wiebe], but it’ll maybe be a little stranger.”

Wiebe was also the recipient for 2014/15 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship Program, an award reserved for post-secondary fine-art photography artists whose work focus on ‘artwork that provokes a strong response and exhibits conceptual rigour, technical excellence and a dynamic engagement with contemporary photographic practice and theory.’

SHITMONGER aka Graham Wiebe
Cargo Collective via Graham Wiebe
littlemoe / Instagram

You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels by Graham Wiebe, Ma
Right in the pit of things, Graham Wiebe’s new exhibition “You Can’t Call People Without Wings Angels,” showing at Flux Gallery May 13-20, 2016.

Cyber Sensuality in the City

For its third exhibition – emerging artist’s gallery, Flux Gallery, is showcasing the multi-disciplinary work of twenty-five-year-old Nancy Nguyen.

Cyber Sensuality is Nguyen’s first solo exhibition.

Throughout her show, Nguyen uses the Internet as the catalyst to her creations.

“It’s about image-crafting my Internet identity by glorifying selfies through books and wall installations, to the point where people know and see too much,” says Nguyen.

The web has created platforms where sharing photos, personal and private thoughts and ideas has become ritual for people growing up as millennials and generation Z.

Exposure of those shared intimacies launched careers, broken down lives and created us to have the attention span of 8.25 seconds – same as a gold fish.

Nguyen has created a slowed down – almost memorialized – version of the Internet in her show.

“I’m using graphic design and books as an art medium to evoke visual information rather than textual information and demonstrating the Internet through permanent forms like paper,” says Nguyen.

 

I sat down with the artist in the midst of her installation – she was still painting, sanding and putting up shelves.

We talked about her show, the ideas behind it, and her parents’ reaction to her provocative pieces.

 

Cyber Sensuality will be on from April 22 – 28, 2016.
Opening reception Friday, April 22 from 7 – 9.
2-290 McDermot Ave. inside Ace Art Inc. Gallery

Sounds of summer are… free.

Free from school, homework and paying for festival tickets.

This week I talk summer festival season and volunteering on my column.

Sounds of summer are free

But, if you’ve been missing my blog posts I’ll be keeping them up this summer.
My summer focus will be on event and exhibition reviews, artist profiles and possibly some insights into what’s new and worthwhile.

I’ll also be working on some collaborative art and video projects and setting up a so-far-secret music event that will start in the fall!

FUTURE + ART THOUGHTZ

Sorry Gen X, you’re going to have to sit this one out. (Or stick around if you want to learn a thing or two.)

It’s all about you millennials. I’m one, you’re one – all the best ones are. 
Just kidding – you baby boomers, Gen X and TBA’s are great but you wouldn’t ever know it if you don’t ever highlight this message. Also brought to you by technological advances.
It’s a term tossed around often.
There is some argument by researchers, media sources and general audiences about who are categorized as a millennial.

Today we’re going with researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss definition, “those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.” (The Wire via The Atlantic.)

We are the ones who have learned to adopt technology into our everyday lives. Many of us who were born dealing with dial-up in the 90s have come to witness many futuristic Star Trek inventions used habitually. (Tablets, universal translators, video communications, ect.)

These inventions and web-based technologies are second nature in our jobs, relationships and how we receive basic information. Through technological platforms, we have become rapid mass consumers of information (most of it just “stuff.”)

Technology now, allows me to check the temperature outside and tells me if I need a  coat, umbrella, or if it’s sandal season – even before I get out of bed.
But you know this if you’re a millennial or any generation fighting for or against technology. It is the only way you’re able to read this blog post.

(See Hennessy Youngman talk about Millenials and the future of technology here.)

So what does the future hold for us in regards of technology? How will we use it?
And will it continue to improve our lives?

If T.V. and movies are any foresight of what the future holds, I can only hope it’s similar to Spike Jonez’s, Her and less like I, Robot

I believe there will be waves of phones, computers, tablets and other tech devices that will be recreated to replicate nostalgic devices, but with all the conveniences of being web-based, chord free and self-repairing.

The improvement will come from the ability for everyone to access credible information,  medicines, impactful news, and mass notifications about zombie apocalypses.

However, society will collapse if we allow technology to take over our lives and relationships to prevent us from fulfilling Basic Instincts.

Sorry for the movie pun.

Decolonizing Winnipeg’s theatre

 

Reservations written by Steven Ratzlaff, directed by Emma Tibaldo and Ian Ross is being presented by Theatre Projects Manitoba and is showcasing at The Rachel Browne Theatre between March 10 – 20, 2016.

Reservations is a two in one story.
Pete’s Reserve, invites the audience into a caucasian family’s indecision to give back farm land to the Siksika Nation. The conversation revolves around the indecision to give up millions of dollars and generations of family land, and the idea of what reconciliation means.

Standing Reserve, a story that some foster parents have faced with CFS – the fear of losing the children in their care. The story is the personal and professional dispute between foster parents and an Aboriginal CFS agency.

The play conveyed the truths and real conversations that take place surrounding issues involving Indigenous culture and its perceptions.

My theater experiences are limited and far between. I think the expectation to see a normal play, is surpassed with Reservations. The play was deeply touching and the story I connected with was Pete’s Reserve. It used language the audience could relate too, and involved a balance of emotions.

The second half, Standing Reserve, polarized the audience who were unfamiliar with philosophy concepts and Heidegger’s teachings. It also started on a high-level of emotions, which didn’t allow for build up.

The theater offered a talkback session, that allowed the audience to engage with the writer, actors, music/ sound designer, and lighting/projector designer.

Playwriter and actor, Steven Ratzlaff had been vague or unresponsive during the talkback but it was because there were very few provoking questions asked.

I believe the talkback could have been successful with an engaged host, or with questions directed at the audience and gain critical feedback that way.

My favorite aspect about the play was the involvement of trying to engage the audiences senses. My biggest accolades go to music and sound designer Andrew Balfour, and lighting and projections designer Hugh Conache.

Another aspect that left a haunting feeling even days after the play – the set up’s use of chairs faced toward the audience. Every scene included one extra seat that eeirly  invited a fourth presence into each scene. Possibly representing a hidden spirit – possibly being an added figment of my imagination. However, the set up of the play was throughly considered not to be coincidence.

The  most moving line from the play, the one that brought it all together and represents the entire idea was a line from Pete’s Reserve.

“You take pleasure in being more ignorant than you are.” 

This play is one of the few local works that are recognizing Indigenous issues using personal stories. The RWB’s Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation and Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Mapping Identity, are putting Winnipeg in the front line of contemporary art and culture that involve truth and teachings of real stories.

 

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The set of Pete’s Reserve from Reservation – the set is wholly based on the intricate projection and lighting design by Hugh Conacher, March 15./ JOY BALMANA