January 10–February 15 in the Main Space
Laura Aldridge, Jonathan Owen, James McLardy, Rachel Duckhouse, Ciara Phillips and Daisy Richardson (Glasgow)
Andrea Williamson, Hannah Doerksen, Kent Merriman Jr., Steven Cottingham, Tyler Los-Jones, and Stephen Nachtigall (Calgary)
Curated by Matthew Mark Bourree & Yvonne Mullock
Opening Reception: Friday, January 10 at 7:00 pm
Marbled paper by Andrea Williamson
Conceived originally as a two-part community-based exhibition that would bring Glasgow artists to Haight Gallery in Calgary, and Calgary artists to The Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow, both halves of WE are united in Edmonton in between. This exhibition celebrates and documents the grassroots art scenes in both cities, including those spaces, in a snapshot of two close groups of artists that straddle D.I.Y. practices and the professional. The six Calgary artists share a tactile sensibility that lends itself to poetic romance, loss, and nostalgia, across media. In Glasgow, the artists explore medium and process in print, collage, and sculpture.
At Latitude 53, WE includes works by both groups of artists, presented together for the first time in anticipation of their conversation in Glasgow.
This essay by Adam Waldron-Blain is available at the gallery with a mind-map poster by Yvonne Mullock and Matthew Mark Bourree.
Yvonne Mullock almost apologizes as she explains to me, with her collaborator Matthew Mark Bouree, that they don’t want to seem self-important, but maybe this project will be an example to others building something for themselves, afterwards. A vision of continuity without an institution to hold it.
I hear it as an almost-apology because Mullock and Bouree’s take on the few degrees of separation in their art-world networks feeds my fascination with my own responsibility there. It’s awkward how small communities end up so tangled—and this is a kind of acknowledgement as well as a celebration. So on Facebook I am stalking the artists and counting mutual friends. “People you may know”. People who I didn’t add the one time we met and now it seems too late.
At the beginning of 2012 I came back to Alberta from Glasgow and quickly ended up a participant in a big but brief public art project, Dirt City¦Dream City. Apparently there was some criticism about the name, but it was awkwardly extended by the city once they realized that they liked it. Before that, I remember reading “Dirt City” on hoarding downtown in 2007 for one of Sheri Barclay’s unsanctioned wheat-pasting blitzes. Participant-journalist Fish Griwkowsky wrote: “No permission was asked, no grants solicited—all the supplies came out of pocket in an attempt to, as the ‘show’ is called, Make it Not Suck on Jasper [Avenue].” Nearby, I contributed a short essay about our official festival culture. 12ʹ long and pasted to the boards, it questioned whether our projects could be more ambitious in structure—the worst thing about one-offs is when they pretend not to have one.
Later in 2012, I went to an opening to see some friends at a strange little office; its owners approached The Works Festival to program it for part of the year—they didn’t know how to contact any actual artists. For that first show, Fish interviewed the curator for the paper. His friend explained the theme as a way to avoid thinking about things. That’s what my sarcastic essay was about, five years before. Afterwards at the bar, after a chat about my own too-tangled map and my unexpected move home, the director of Dirt City Films asks me to apologize to another former DIY curator, from the same circle, whose work I scathed once in the weekly magazine. She’d been undone by a lack of community knowledge, and by a network that admired its dirty, self-made self-image more than success, wearing its isolation as a badge. It’s not the right time for either of us.
There is something nice about smallness. After those stories I feel suspicious of grandiosity: DIY Edmonton is now exploited for civic marketing campaign that mostly exists to reassure those of us lucky enough to access institutional resources that we deserve them more than anybody else. In Calgary I see a lot of big objects and broad gestures, touched by Alberta’s entrepreneurial glamour, that I don’t think always justify themselves. Our ambitions get lost in these publicity-friendly shapes.
Despite the humility, this stop in Edmonton is a kind of a document of a big, simple performance, in which Mullock and Bouree pack the artworks into a suitcase and take them across the veil between worlds. The two collections contain things that I recognize of their cities: Glasgow’s grey skies, muddy stone and green flashes, draped and paused objects and absences, and from Calgary careful materials caught in a moment between despair and motion. I don’t really belong to either—though there are a few places you could write my name on the map—but these things always give me hope.
Artwork by Ciara Phillips installed at Haight Gallery in 2013
Matthew Mark Bourree is a visual artist and curator who ran a small independent exhibition space, Haight Gallery. From 2008 to 2013, Bourree curated more than 30 group and solo exhibitions, showcasing emerging, mid-career and established artists based in Calgary.
Previous works include collaborative projects with Nate McLeod, founding The Bakery Studio Collective, Fresh Bread, and curatorial exhibitions entitled PHASE, most recently shown at TRUCK, Calgary. Three years ago Bourree co-founded MMJT, a collaborative contemporary sculpture project with fellow artist Jeremy Pavka, making unique pieces for both public and private site-specific environments.
Recent curatorial projects include, WRECK CITY and PHANTOM WING, curating a number of Calgary artists in pre-demolition spaces. Bourree continues to paint, sculpt and create works that invite playfulness and chaos.
Matthew Mark Bourree graduated from the painting department at ACAD, Calgary and is currently based in Calgary, AB.
Yvonne Mullock’s practice is multi-disciplinary and spans interests in nature and craft; working in mediums such as drawing, sculpture, ceramics, video and textiles for both gallery and site specific installations. Her work is often informed by a process of research, using both people and surroundings as a springboard for artworks that are responsive to a specific context.
Over the past thirteen years Yvonne has participated in artist in residence programmes within Scotland, England, Canada and the U.S. Recent exhibitions and projects include an on-going residency with Fogo Island Arts and Shorefast in Newfoundland working in collaboration with a local community of quilters, Beaver Fever a solo exhibition at Glasgow’s Project Room, group exhibitions in Calgary with Wreck City and Phantom Wing, and will have her first solo exhibition in Calgary at Pith in the new year.
Yvonne Mullock graduated from the painting department at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland and is currently based in Calgary, AB.
Adam Waldron-Blain is a famous artist and important critic in Edmonton. In 2013 he created exhibitions from his sad art reviews at the Art Gallery of Alberta and Harcourt House, showed works at The New Gallery (Calgary), Xpace External Space (Toronto), Whippersnapper Gallery (Toronto), and participated in residencies at The Banff Centre and SÍM (Reykjavík).