Vancouver

CAG Presents The Artist's Studio is Her Bedroom

  • January 24, 2020 - April 5, 2020
  • Recurring daily
  • Times: Friday, January 24th - Sunday, April 5th 2020
  • Address:
  • Contemporary Art Gallery
  • 555 Nelson St
  • Vancouver
  • Vancouver, BC V6B 6R5
  • Admission: Free
  • Phone: 604.681.2700

The Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present The Artist’s Studio is Her Bedroom, a group exhibition challenging our society’s profound assumptions about where and by what means “serious” artwork gets produced.

Taking place across CAG’s B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries, the exhibition shares the perspectives of ten Canada-based artists whose practices are attentive to these assumptions, and to the very real temporal, spatial and monetary constraints that bind and shape their work. Their contributions to the show address a multitude of labours—whether physical, emotional, reproductive or otherwise—that are often inextricable from artistic production. Some question myths of the studio and the “magical” labour of the artist. Others explore unconventional models of authorship, including the entanglement of childcare and creative work. Each, in different ways, asks how we navigate (or resist) our artistic and political inheritances, and how we might seek out alternate role models and alliances through which to better strengthen our creative communities.

The exhibition takes its name from the title of Erica Stocking’s sculptural installation and theatrical performance, which offers an anchor point in the show. Taking up the entire Alvin Balkind Gallery, The Artist’s Studio is Her Bedroom: a choreographed statement on autobiographical art making (2019) encompasses a play setting that extends a participatory framework to visitors through which to explore the porosity of subjecthood from the perspective of a woman practicing art alongside motherhood. Within the installation, visitors can don dazzle-patterned costumes and self-organize to rehearse the script. 

Maura Doyle’s Pot Experiments (2014-2019) is part of the artist’s ongoing series Who the Pot? (2014-present) and considers the ceramic form as a mode of self-portraiture. For Doyle, pots offer a metaphor for the isolation of human experience—particularly parenting—and the irreconcilability of our inner and outer worlds.

In recent years, Steven Brekelmans’ artistic practice has been relegated by life circumstances to the realm of an activity only able to be pursued in his “spare time.” His work shapes itself around the idea of a hobby, exploring how and in what milieux our time and skills are understood to have worth. Produced specially for this exhibition, The Gift / The Climb / The Curse (Billiard Table) (2020) presents a suite of object forms placed upon a stepped plywood platform that examinate the hierarchy of materials and value that persists in today’s contemporary art market.

Brady Cranfield’s large wall drawing Slack Motherfucker (2020) quotes lyrics from the American rock band Superchunk’s 1990 song of the same name. This monumentally-scaled text work executed entirely in BIC ballpoint pen over-performs the “magical” labour of art-making, thus echoing the song’s defiant declaration of agency over work and refusal of that work to be co-opted for the accumulation of capital (the drawing will be destroyed at exhibition’s end). 

Damla Tamer’s ongoing series Divination Objects (2019-2020) draws upon a traditional ikat weaving technique, where threads are dyed in areas before being woven into a design. Tamer explores the weight of gravity as a physical force (crucially experienced during a baby’s first year) alongside labour precarity by literally weaving together cut-apart ink drawings with shredded compositions from her university teaching evaluations. The warp and weft each hold traces of their materials’ previous information, but now with misalignments, seepage and glitches. 

Claire Greenshaw’s subject matter often originates from seemingly insignificant moments in her everyday life. Zeuxis Can Eat Me (2016) and oo (2014), both rendered in pencil crayon, offer astonishingly faithful enlargements of images painted by the artist’s young sons. They are at once poignant meditations on the rapidity of a child’s development and his entry into language, and a tongue-in-cheek reframing of what is perhaps the western origin story of male artistic competitiveness, the famed ancient Greek fable of Zeuxis and Parrhasius.

Justine A. Chambers’ movement-based practice is also anchored by her close observation of the everyday: the unintentional choreography, as she describes, that is already in the world. And then this also (2020) is a new performance and written score produced specifically for this exhibition. Through an embodied and durational examination of distraction, adrenaline, time and care, Chambers considers her near-constant experience of being in multiple places at once (“my studio is the public bus,” she states) as a working artist and mother.

Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley have been collaborating as Leisure since 2004. Their participatory installation Conversations with Magic Forms (2017) is informed by a series of sculptural explorations undertaken by English sculptor Barbara Hepworth after the arrival of her triplets in 1934, and invites children and other gallery visitors to make use of gypsum plaster to create cast objects in the sand. Challenging the normally pristine space of the gallery, participants are offered the opporunity to impact the installation, and—if they choose to leave their objects behind on the plinths—to become exhibiting artists themselves.

Annie MacDonell’s  single-channel video Book of Hours (2019) shows the artist embarking on a playful exploration of colour, image and pattern with her young son. Through sequences of footage shot inside the family home, amidst glimpses of Yvonne Rainer’s earliest films—and her choreography drawn from the movements of everyday life—played on laptop computers and smartphone screens, MacDonell looks to under-recognized sites of experimentation and to time spent with children—often dismissed as wholly unproductive—as full of artistic and political possibility. 

Together, each of the works in The Artist’s Studio is Her Bedroom assert the generative potential of these other spaces and cadences of creation, addressing artists’ feelings of constraints and distraction, and call for acknowledgement of and solidarity in different ways of being—and making art—in the world.

We acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts towards artist travel

Friday, January 24th - Sunday, April 5th 2020

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver BC

CAG Presents The Artist's Studio is Her Bedroom
Contemporary Art Gallery