Friday, July 08, 2005

The Group of n, no more.


Just after my computer crashed (hence the lack of posts) I took advantage of the calm to walk across the street to see the last ever exhibit by the Group of n. Murad and Rob were kind enough to let me take photos - although I gotta warn you, I am a horrible photographer, and worse at attempting to do color correction. So these images you see here, are only close approximations of the work that was up on the walls of Blizzarts.

Now, the Group of n, was a group of loosely affiliated artists, very loosely. I had no idea who some of them were/are, and was pleasantly surprised to see some artists that I knew who in fact did belong to the Group of n.

I got introduced to them through Maclean (who some of you might know had two shows here). And while I got the concept behind the group, some of the gazillion shows that they did worked better than others.

This struck me as a show that was designed to have stronger individual parts than work on the strength in numbers concept. No matter how hard I squinted, I couldn't figure out any rhyme or reason for the choice of pieces. And then with a pretty much complete lack of information about the stuff (except for names) I pretty much threw up hands in frustration at trying to discover any common thread going through all the pieces.

For those of you who have been to Blizzarts, this is what you saw upon walking around the corner, after walking in the door.

But down at the other end of the bar I was able to get a way better shot of the long wall.

And this is the wall that made me think that the individuals were stronger than the group thing (which to be honest is very surprising considering what I know about the Group of n). Maclean's piece getting (heck hogging) all the light, and David Atwood and Steve Topping having to be content to bask in the reflected glow from Maclean's piece. Also I unfortunately don't have any pictures of Steve Tpping's piece, and am missing two of the three watercolors by Mr. Atwoood, because the light wasn't so good, and I'm a horrible photographer who wouldn't know a flash from a flush.

But once I go away from that wall, things got brighter. This is called Off to the Races and it is by Jesse Purcell. Cool, eh?

Since I made it a point to try and get pictures of everybody's work (somehow I don't think that documenting was a major priority for the Group of n) I'm going to be flitting around all over the place as we take a look-see around. This is one of the untitled watercolors by David Atwood.

Now you can see why I should never be a photographer. This is Tears Beers Frown Drown, by Jo-Anne Balcaen. A wicked cool piece, made to look horrific by yours truly. The reason why this is flitting around all over the place is after the installation shots, I figured the most fun way to organize the images would be inversely to how well I know the artist, and then following up the end with the founders of the Group of n. So I think, I met Ms. Balcaen, once. Maybe twice.

Vanessa Yanow, on the other hand I met only once, but it was like two weeks ago or something when on the Friday Gallery Tour, we went to the Long Hall. I was pleasantly surprised by this piece called Blinded by Bubbles, as when we were at the Long Hall, she described herself as a glass artist. (That yellow doo-hickey in the lower left is some sort of reflection.)

Barry Allikas' piece had previously been exhibited at Sylviane Poirier's gallery. It still looked as good at Blizzarts as it did here.

Then we trundle over to Rupert Bottenberg's piece. I always think of him as a writer, but it is obvious that he is a man of many talents. I gotta try and convince him to let me see a bunch of his stuff all together, 'cuz this piecemeal business is making it extremely hard on me to figure out exactly where he's coming from or what he's trying to do. (This is also why some info on the tags would have been helpful.)

Now, what is there not to absolutely adore about Billy Mavreas' piece. Not only is he a superlative cartoonist. But as his store (yeah, I think that all the members of the Group of n have day jobs) is a wonderful collection of surprises at every turn, another thing he does is take found paintings and improve them. My picture doesn't do what he did to this beauty justice.

Now we venture into the territory of giants. The founding members of the Group of n. Someplace around here I have an interview (recorded, not transcribed) with Maclean (who also is responsible for the piece here) that sort of goes into detail about the beginnings of the group. Nonetheless, to give my mandatory one liner about the piece, it combines two of Maclean's older styles (quite well, don't you think?) but as the last conversation I had with Maclean about his art, was about how he found the older stuff he did quite restraining, I am fascinated to see that he has returned, and returned with a vengeance, to stuff that he told me he didn't want to do anymore. If you continue scrolling down, you can see the "original" version of the painting.

Danger Zones by Maclean

And then I gotta apologize to Colin

And to Flo. I've spent way too much time on this post, and have to get back to work. So I'm gonna wrap this up with a promise to do a longer post about Flo and Colin at a later date, and express my sorrow at the Group of n disbanding,

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