Saturday, January 10, 2004

Two shows in one week! Holy Smokes!


Besides Kristi Ropeleski's "Blood Harmony" that opened here on Thursday, we also have Carmen Bouchard's "Twins" opening at the Art Gallery of Bishop's University on Wednesday. You'd think that Zeke's gallery was some sort of major institution or something.

Initially I wrote about Carmen's show when it was up on the walls here;

"Carmen and Carole Bouchard intended to celebrate their �sisterly bonds� with a trip to Japan in which they would only wear matching outfits. The trip got cancelled, but the dresses were made � so instead they were worn in Los Angeles. The ensuing photographs of the experience, and the dresses themselves make up the exhibition entitled Twins, by Carmen Bouchard.

"From being called �every woman�s nightmare� by a very insecure British woman, to encountering two 8 year olds who had been dressed identically by their parents, the entire experience was a transformative one for both sisters. It ends up not only questioning the very nature of identity and individuality, but also the validity of fashion and the fashion industry as it relates to women in the Western world.

"Getting dressed has always been considered a very personal expression. By deliberately wearing the same outfit as someone else, one ends up purging some, if not all of their personality. It is considered acceptable practice in children, and is forced in military organizations, prisons and the like. By voluntarily doing this the Bouchard sisters not only contradicted the Western idea of the individual as supreme, but also simultaneously contradicted the opposite belief of the effacement of self as the path to enlightenment, as they are excluding themselves from society and emphasizing the differences between the two of them as a unit and the rest of the world.

"The pictures, originally taken with a variety of disposable cameras, are more than 20 times their original size in order to emphasize the �otherworldly-ness� of the experience. The original dresses (some of which will be worn during the vernissages) are pinned to indoor clotheslines and accentuate the domesticity of the situation. Combined, the oversized snapshots and homemade outfits hint at a condition that should be entirely familiar, but is not quite.

Subsequent to the exhibition, Canadian Art magazine decided to publish "Nixon's Wives," and now Ms. Bouchard got the gig at Bishop's, I'm pleasantly surprised, and pretty much ecstatic. I can only wonder as to Carmen's emotions.

The thing that I'm most looking forward to, is having to deal with the "white cube" nature of the Bishop's U Art Gallery. By placing the art in a different place ("context" for you syllable watchers) a completely different feeling happens. Think about how you'd view your favorite painting if it was used as the background for an ad for the Gap, instead of being on your wall (above or in front of your couch). Hearing your favorite song played live by the composer, versus hearing it on TV as the background music for an ad for the Gap. Although the difference between Bishop's and Zeke's is not as large, as those between Art for Art's sake and Art for Commerce's sake. and both of us are attempting to do similar things (among them, getting folk to see and connect with Art) it will be interesting to see how Ms. Bouchard's Art plays there.

Once it is hung (unless I'm really motivated, no blog entry for Monday) I'll fill you in on the details. If you're anywhere within 50 miles, by all means go see it, ok?

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