Friday, February 11, 2005

Karen Trask, Neige Noir


Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to interview Karen Trask both about her exhibit and on a whack of other things, too. As the interview is now in line for being transcribed, and might take a while, I figured that I should put some words to screen about the show.

Ms. Poirier used to have two rooms in the Belgo building, but moved over the summer to be within spitting distance of the Maison Radio-Canada. All I can say about the location is that I hope that the good folk at the CBC collect scads of art, because as the CBC itself is a hassle to get to, Ms. Poirier's space ain't the most convenient spot.

That all being said, the one thing I liked was that for the vernissage, I was able to check out the Galerie Dentaire, which for you folks from out of town, is a combo Dentist's office/Art Gallery. Cool concept, but if the art that was on the walls at the time of my visit is any indication of the quality of their root canal or tooth cleaning capabilities, then I strongly suggest that you brush your teeth at minimum three times a day AND floss regularly.

But back to Ms. Trask. Neige Noir is a collection of highly conceptual art, that after discussing things (in detail) with her became absolutely wicked cool. Basically she riffed off of the concept of snow on the TV into the space in between into dirty snow in the city. Or at least that's what I think, now. I'm quite capable of changing my mind tomorrow.

There are eleven pieces in all. One little man, six prints, two videos, a sculptural sorta thing, and set of prints, that while they can be purchased individually really and truly are one large piece called 63° latitude, 0' 49" / 21° longitude, 38' 36" 14hr34min 07 janvier 2001 [sic]. If you wanted to translate it into decimal you'd get latitude: 63.0136 and longitude: 21.6433. If you wanted to see exactly where it is/was, look here:

One way of seeing latitude: 63.0136 longitude: 21.6433

Another way of seeing latitude: 63.0136 longitude: 21.6433

Yet another way of seeing latitude: 63.0136 longitude: 21.6433

And still another way of seeing latitude: 63.0136 longitude: 21.6433

Apparently Ms. Trask was in the wilds of Finland in January of 2001. Cool, eh? And while she was there, I would imagine that her thinking lead her to this:

The way Ms. Trask saw latitude: 63.0136 longitude: 21.6433 also know as 63° latitude, 0' 49" / 21° longitude, 38' 36" 14hr34min 07 janvier 2001, 24 lithographs on hand made paper, 70" x 135"

Now it's all about the spaces in between. This piece itself is sandwiched between Lecture de neige (of which you're only seeing half, 'cuz a) you gotta get yourself down there to see it for yourself, and b) it is pretty freakin' cool!)

Installation view of Lecture de neige, TV, Metal, Plaster and wood. Variable dimensions

The missing piece is a TV screen also on a stool which is showing your standard issue snowy screen. The face watching the TV is in fact a mold for a sculpture of a face, so while you think you're actually seeing a face, in fact you're seeing a face that is in fact missing. Which again wraps in nicely to the whole concept of the space in between.

Now I know that in the interview Ms. Trask somehow made the connection between the space in between to words, which if I remember correctly is sorta maybe vaguely based on the concept that ideas are, are, are - never mind, I'll go back and listen to the interview again. Or maybe it has to do with the concept of TV transmitting ideas directly into one's head, which she then realized could be represented this way:

Serie Neige Noir VI (I think) Lithograph and collage on handmade paper 12" x 8"

But in the same way that I am getting all confused about which way is up and which way is down, she continues on the very same track which leads to this:

Serie Neige Noir VII (I think) Lithograph and collage on handmade paper 12" x 15"

Then once you get into the other video and the little man, man I was so twisted I didn't know which way was up.

There is a whole bunch of stuff that I could riff off of or on to with regards to this show, from anything I've previously written to how technology and progress has forever changed things for the worse (after all, when snow falls, it is white). But I've already foamed at the mouth for what some would consider too long (744 words to be precise).

But the main thing to me, is that for the most part when I see conceptual art (ie stuff that is supposed to make you think big thoughts, or more commonly known as a large preponderance of what Canadian Artists make nowadays) is that unless there is someway into it, I don't spend the time doing the big thoughts. Because Ms. Trask graciously agreed to be interviewed, I was able to have my socks blown off, because I could follow her thought process and then make my own progression of ideas down a slightly different path. And being able to think about all the twisty bits in Ms. Trask's art is wicked cool.

Oh yeah, the show goes on until the 13th of February, and Sylviane Poirer's gallery is located at 1000 Amherst, #103 to be precise, they're open slightly better than standard gallery hours (Wednesday - Sunday, noon to 5:30 or 6 pm).

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