SFU Philosophers Café: Art Salons
In the spirit of social gatherings that provide forums for discussion, SFU Philosophers’ Café will run two art salons in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery. Each café will start with a guided tour of current exhibitions with Director Nigel Prince, followed by a discussion with Shaun Dacey, Curator, Learning and Public Programs and special guests.
Salon on the exhibition Blame It On the Rain by Julia Dault
free, all welcome
Blame It On the Rain
May 1 to June 28, 2015
BC Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition by Toronto-born, New York–based artist Julia Dault. Through a selection of new and recent works, the exhibition reveals the importance to Dault of balancing spontaneous gesture with responsiveness to rules, logic and the constraints of materials. Physical negotiations are central to Dault’s textured paintings and improvised sculptures; both are exhibited in Blame It On the Rain.
Dault is interested in ‘embodied knowledge’ — how making is thinking — and reinserts the artist’s hand into a minimal aesthetic primarily interpreted as distanced and industrial. The artist’s rule-based painting involves responding to mass-produced elements — patterned silks, pleather, unmixed paint straight from the tube — with unconventional tools, such as squeegees, rubber combs and sea sponges. The limitations of these objects create quasi-standardized gestures that allow Dault to skirt the line between expressive abstraction and cool, machine-like facture. Erasure of her paintings’ topmost layers, which allows viewers to ‘see into’ the painting process, is as important to Dault as paint application.
Exploration of artistic labor recurs in Dault’s sculptures. Always improvising on site and working alone, the artist manipulates and coerces Plexiglas, Formica and other industrially produced materials into imposing curved forms, then affixes them to the gallery wall using straps and cords. Dault’s efforts can be understood as ‘private performances’ in which her physical capabilities are juxtaposed with the properties of the materials she employs. Each sculpture is titled with a time stamp that reflects the duration it took to complete the piece. In this gesture, as with her paintings, she hopes to underline the durational nature of the art-making process.
Dault’s work fuses the emphasis on process found in both Abstract Expressionist painting and post-Minimal sculpture. One unifying element is the artist’s fascination with patterns, and with the slippages and imperfections that reveal the human origins of what appears mechanical. Another is the search for variety within strict limitations. By devising expressive gestures through rules and reasoning indicative of post-Minimal and Conceptual art, Dault is part of a generation of artists acknowledging histories and legacies of art making while revitalizing abstraction today.
The exhibition complements Color Me Badd, presented at The Power Plant, Toronto in 2014-2015. The two institutions are working together on the first major monograph of Dault’s work, to be published by Black Dog Publishing later in 2015. The publication is made with generous support from the RBC Emerging Artist Project.
Julia Dault lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has held solo exhibitions at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2015); The Power Plant, Toronto and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles (2014); Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich and Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto (2013); and White Cube Bermondsey, London (2012). She has also participated in group shows which include: Elevated, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2014-2015), Americana: Selections from the Collection, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2013–2014); Outside the Lines, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2013–2014); In the Heart of the Country, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Inner Journeys, Maison Particulière, Brussels (2013); The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York; Roundtable, the Ninth Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); and Making Is Thinking, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011). Her work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Saatchi Gallery, London; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Dault is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto; and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles.MORE
Follow the art process all the way through, from the flicker of an idea in your mind to the installation of your work in a gallery – on view for the world to see!
This unique and ambitious series of workshops introduces students to Vancouver’s art community. Activities include: drawing, printmaking and ceramic exploration with open studio time at Arts Umbrella; exhibition-making and creative writing at Contemporary Art Gallery; and a large scale sculpture project at SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.
Ages: 14 – 19
Application deadline: Friday June 5th, 2015
Program fee: $480
Tuition subsidies available from the Ken and Anne Woods Scholarship Fund.
Application requirements and downloadable forms at:www.artsumbrella.comMORE
On Friday, April 10, 2015 and in conjunction with the Canadian Art Foundation Vancouver Gallery Hop, the CAG hosted a talk by Canadian Art associate editor David Balzer based on his latest book ‘Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else’.
David Balzer is a Toronto-based critic, editor and teacher. He has written for The Globe and Mail, Modern Painters, Camera Austria, artforum.com, The Believer and others, and is the author of two books, the short-fiction collection Contrivances (Joyland/ECW Press) and the non-fiction study ‘Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else’ (Coach House Press/Pluto Press).MORE
Tad Hozumi reflects on his first feedback series event for the CAG responding to the paintings by Julia Dault:
The first workshop of the feedback series, Yoga Boogie, started with an introspective meditation and a series of ‘quieter’ postures.
Workshop leader, Gary Quon picked out some beautiful songs, particularly Donny Hathaway’s I Love the lord He Heard My Cry Part One & Two, setting the tone for the workshop that was at times amusing and energetic but always grounded by an earthy and soulful spirituality.
It is very common for yoga classes to use music to set a mood, but here there was something new added, with Quon’s dedication to his craft as a dancer shining through. The climax of the workshop was a soul train to Gino Soccio’s Dancer. He really got everyone sweating! It was great to see Shaun work up a sweat, especially as he admitted before the class that he actually kind of hated yoga.
In fact, I kind of hated yoga as well, till recently. I thought of it as an inane repackaging of what was a serious introspective Eastern discipline. Kind of the spiritual equivalent of bad miso soup. I have met some great practitioners lately though, that seem to connect to the practice in a way that I can vibe with. Quon is definitely one of those people.
The session closed with meditation to Donny Hathaway’s Someday We’ll All Be Free and Sweet Honey in the Rock’s song, Sweet Honey in the Rock. Somewhere between gospel and Eastern wisdom we found a sense of quiet content.
On Saturday June 13 was my own Body Jazz workshop. I brought my street dancer skills to anchor the session that was designed to be both inviting to everyone and still be quite experimental. We connected to the rhythms in Dault’s works. If I can make a sweeping and general statement, I think abstraction in general has a funny place in art history. Its often kind of seen as the beginnings of an intellectualized approach to art but really when you look at the practice it is far from it.
In his introduction to Art Life, Lawrence Rinder writes about how Agnes Martin’s minimal and abstract works are always referred to as a link in art history between abstract expressionism and minimalism but never as a tool for meditation. I vibe with that. I like to think of artworks as tools as well. To that end we were channeling Dault’s works and the records I curated from her exhibition to explore our own potential as embodied beings.
My final session will be an artist talk and DJ session on Saturday, June 27 at 4pm, please join me then!
- Tad Hozumi
On Saturday, June 6th the CAG hosted Tad Hozumi and Gary Quon for the first of three Feedback events in response to Julia Dault’s exhibition, Blame It On The Rain. The Feedback Series is designed to work with cultural and critical producers to explore thoughts and ideas rooted in their own practices, inviting audiences to engage in conversations, and probe curiosities relevant to contemporary issues, theories, ideas, and culture.
Hozumi is a Vancouver-based artist and hip hop therapist who is involved in local street dance culture and is currently working on a body of photographic, installation, social intervention and performance works examining subversive vocabularies of street style dances. Hozumi responded to some of the pop culture references in Dault’s paintings by playing personally selected records. Gary Quon, a yoga practitioner who specializes in Kundalini practices with elements of rhythm and dance, led a participatory and energetic movement workshop called Yoga Boogie choreographed to select music.
While participating in the 1.5 hour long workshop with Tad and Gary I thought a lot about what it meant to be moving and dancing with friends and strangers alongside Dault’s paintings, inside a gallery setting. Not only were our movements often informed and inspired by the paintings and environment, it felt like a reciprocal relationship was occurring—the paintings also seemed to be in dialogue with the space and the people within it.
On my first encounter with Julia Dault’s work, I was initially struck by what I sensed as a vulnerability in the paintings and sculpture – a certain humanness, an embodied quality—a visceral and gestural component to the paintings revealed through the materiality and everydayness of the work. The use of found fabric, unconventional tools (squeegees, rubber combs and sea sponges) allow Dault to play with the tensions between expressive abstraction and a cool and industrial characteristic which is most tangible upon first impression.
It is undeniable that the gallery space is enlivened by moving bodies dancing, laughing, sweating, clapping and singing—doing all the things that would normally make people squirm with discomfort or even embarrassment, especially within a space that is typically reserved for particular “etiquette”. The space was transformed, and for me being literally “embodied”, I was able to access a new depth in Dault’s work and see deeper levels and the existing knowledge inherent in the paintings.
It is interesting also to note the formalism and usual expectations of gallery etiquette that are transgressed by introducing contrary behaviors into the space – - there is certainly, at first, a self-consciousness or shyness that accompanies, say, doing yoga and chanting kundalini mantras in a space that is typically governed by a particular “way” of inhabiting the gallery space but after that fades the relationship between the bodies in space and the art seems to evolve.
The next feedback series event, Body Jazz, is taking place on Saturday, June 13th at 4pm and will again be hosted by Tad Hozumi. Hope to see you there!
The CAG has invited artist, deejay and movement based therapist Tad Hozumi to create a series of feedback events and workshops in response to Julia Dault’s paintings in her exhibition Blame It On the Rain.
His upcoming series of music and movement workshops and events will playfully reference elements found in her work.
Here Hozumi writes, the first in a series of blog reports, about his work and about preparing for the events and workshops:
Last weekend I installed a listening station for a selection of funk and disco vinyl records in the CAG bookshop (see above image). This listening station is part of my feedback response to the current exhibition: Julia Dault’s Blame It On the Rain. My initial task was to curate a selection of records that responded to Dault’s works and that served as the inspiration for a series of workshops. The curatorial method I undertook was really simple: Rhythms x Patterns x Geometry x Materials. Dault’s eye is similar to that of a crate-digger, she is constantly scanning the visible ‘debris’ in our environment for moments of resonance.
Crate-digging, if I can give the most romantic definition, is the practice of scouring through dusty bins of long forgotten music to unearth rare or special records. There are a lot of great crate-diggers out there, including Japan’s DJ Muro or Vancouver’s own Sipreano, who recently released Native North America Vol. 1 – Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966–1985, a project that I am sure will go down as something of historical importance in our time.
Not all crate-diggers have an active public life, deejay or compile music. If I had to guess most are actually very private, sharing their collections with a few people who are willing to bear them in order to get a sneak peak at an unknown gem. There is one thing I am pretty sure of, digging while mysterious, certainly is not glamorous.
As a crate-digger, I’m just a baby. It’s exciting, because almost everything I come across is new to me. Perusing bins at a thrift shop will almost always turn up some new discoveries. I used to think I had a pretty good handle on music. I was wrong. I think the current statistic is that over 80% of recorded music on vinyl is unavailable digitally. So crate-digging can expand the musical world you live in quite a bit.
The record in the above picture (click on the arrow for the slideshow) is Outline – Gino Soccio. A really top notch Montreal disco record. It was actually one of first five records I randomly bought in a thrift store. Man, I was happy when I first heard the slick beat on Dancer. Somehow I felt like this omniscient being who could magically discover dope records. Being able to visually locate the sensibility of an album without any audio information is a big part of crate-digging.
After I bought Soccio’s album, when I was about 1,000 records deep in to my collection, I realized that the album was pretty common. A great album for sure, but not necessarily a spectacular or rare find that I thought I had made. I now have three copies of Outline and a 7” of Dancer. Still, I have a lot of emotions attached to Soccio’s first release.
Any ways, you can listen here to Dancer. A real classic. Thumping.
Other albums selected for this project are:
Extensions of a Man- Donny Hathaway
Encounters Of Every Kind – Meco
Sweet honey: in the rock (Self-Titled)
A Fifth of Beethoven – Walter Murphy
Live Oblivion – Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
I hope you will come by the CAG and enjoy listening to the above records in person
This is my music + vinyl blog.
- Tad Hozumi
Saturday, June 6th, 4pm
Yoga Boogie, a unique hybrid practice developed by Quon combines his passion for dance and yoga. Using songs curated from Hozumi’s collection, Quon will lead a dynamic session that will begin on the mat and get you up and grooving! Be prepared to BOOGIE!
Gary Quon is a yoga practitioner who specializes in Kundalini style and a well-recognized disco dancer (waacking). Quon’s practice often incorporates elements of rhythm and dance along with the kriyas resulting in an uplifting and energetic practice.
*This session will be available for the first 15 people – Please register to save your spot at learning@contemporaryartga
*Please bring your own yoga mat.
Sat, June 13th, 4pm
This movement-based session is about becoming mindful of how music and visual stimuli resonate within our bodies, by letting impulses that we discover from the music and Dault’s artworks move us around the gallery space.
*This session will be available for the first 15 people
Artist Talk and DJ Session
June 27th, 4pm
Music Back Ground (talk) and Back Ground Music (party). Hozumi will speak about fan videos of Mariah Carey, deejaying indie dance parties in the 2000s, making video game music, finding himself in hip hop and (re)discovering crate-digging. After the talk he will play a deejayed set of some unique records from his collection of jazz, soft pop/rock, disco, funk and more, weaving around the albums that were selected for the feedback series.