I have a small, enclosed front porch with it’s own lighting and electrical outlet. It’s almost perfect to maintain a small gallery space so that’s what I have been threatening to do.
So, now I am. The space is still not finished and has a whack of drywall leaning on one side. I’ve been waiting for our cheap and (very slow) renovations to stop but I don’t think they will before I leave Hamilton. Sometimes, you just gotta say “fuck it” and go ahead with a project – this kind of public declaration essentially forces you to carry through with your threat of art. Sometimes it takes me years to demonstrate I was serious (and usually right) about something and the BAG Project Space is such a something.
So, no time like the present. After agonizing for a year about how I am going to work with and work around the long vertical windows on the west, east and north walls I finally came up with a practical, cheap solution that is easy to implement and just as easy to remove and without damage to the space before we sell the house: white fabric over the walls. It sure beats my previous plan to have a series of drywall panels with wooden frames hanging from the ceiling by hinges.
The 6 sheets of drywall leaning against the west wall are not going anywhere but with a white sheet draped over that, it will transform into a respectable plinth. Hey, it’s my project space and I can do whatever I want.
So the first exhibit “slower: advice for the economy” (a projection about the industrial skyscape) opens up next week on Friday the 13th from 6-9pm. Yes, I am aware of the symbolism of both sets of numbers. For local readers, you will also no doubt recognize that my gallery is open during the exact hours of the ArtCrawl. You will also note that I live in a poor, some would say “scary”, area of downtown Hamilton not know for arts and culture. Well, consider this new gallery space as a response to that – I’ve criticized designated areas for arts and culture in a city before. Now I believe independence for an artist is the most desirable goal to achieve – more than funding. No, I don’t believe in the BS that anti-arts advocates spout about not funding the arts. I believe the arts should be so integrated and integral as part of our society that we would have trouble even distinguishing where support ends and begins.
So. I have a humble and independent space for exhibiting a series of exhibits by others and myself. I have some really exciting ideas to materialize in this space, and in many way culminates my work about and in Hamilton over these three years. I have not listed the address because I want to encourage people to explore this community in order to find. I want people to explore this community because that is the way to improve any neighbourhood – go walk through it. Lots of people out walking through a place is a very powerful device. I know many people will probably not bother coming to find it at all, especially if I keep the exhibition hours the same as ArtCrawl and I don’t pander to the usual agencies for promotion. I don’t care if anyone shows up or not – I care about the projects and the documentation. The reason we were able to buy a house here was because of the negative impressions people have of this area – and they don’t come here so the houses were affordable. Why should I now conduct my business on my estate grounds with any different formula?
However, I care if the local community here engages with the projects. I do care about people coming here to engage with the projects too. This space is simply part of this neighbourhood though the act of a pop up art space should be universal.
Contained therein this act and through this upcoming series of projects is my final dialogue with Hamilton.
My Montreal artist friend, Andreanne, told me my recent photo collage artwork gives her a “headache” when she looks at it. She also introduced me to her roommate as a “really good drawer”.
I get the sense she doesn’t prefer most of my work.
That’s ok, because she gave me feedback, and she doesn’t pussyfoot around – that’s all an artist can ask. I also kind of like the idea of my work giving someone a headache. That’s more powerful and tricky to do than perhaps making someone coo with how pretty a work is 😉
I also don’t mind criticism from Andreanne because she shows up to my exhibit anyways – and offers to help with any art installation or performance going on. Again, what more could you ask for?
So I got her help with another “Landscape with X” work – this time at a demolition site of a heritage building in my neighbourhood. I have a series of paintings I finished with the letter “R” repeated in it (sort of a reference for corporate involvement in my subject matter). So I used that in this work with Andreanne holding a piece of paper and I used my pocket projector, on site and at night. I think it turned out really well, and it gives me a little thrill inside that I had an artist who is not crazy about this work participate in helping to create it. Hopefully, someday this will be an interesting footnote in an art history textbook – because when you’ve involved two artists, you’ve doubled your chances of this happening.
Sexy presentation of unsexy subject matter and materials. This animation project with plates at TIAF this year was really well done. An entrance work for visitors to the fair as well as part of this year’s theme “Focus Asia”. http://tromarama.blogspot.ca/