Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nick Bantock's new Gallery/Studio - The Forgetting Room

Thanks for sending this update . . look forward to seeing it soon.

Nick Bantock's new Gallery/Studio - The Forgetting Room

CVAG Opening, Courtenay, BC

Installation views from opening night at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, Courtenay, BC

Thanks to Ken Flett for sending this poem:

"Open a pathway through the slow sad sail,
Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat
For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound,
We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.
Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,
Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned."
-dylan thomas

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CVAG . . ART OPENING, Courtenay, BC

I've loaded up the van and we set out on the journey north to Courtenay this morning . . . It has been a long time coming to see the completion of this body of work.

I'll be posting images from the opening once I return eary next week.
Comox Valley Art Gallery is delighted to announce the opening of three new exhibits Friday 25th May at 7pm: Tapestries and textile sculpture by Vancouver’s Barbara Heller and Victoria’s Dale Roberts in the Public Gallery; In the Arts & Craft Gallery stunning large lino cut prints by West Vancouver’s Mi Hyang Kim and sculpture by Hornby Island’s Cedar Wallace. In the Window Gallery an installation by the talented Port Alberni artist Ken Flett, also the mentor to the G P Vanier High School students exhibit in the Students’ Gallery.

Tony Martin
Exec Director/Curator
Comox Valley Art Gallery
580 Duncan Ave
Courtenay, BC V9N 2M7

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nick Bantock Workshops

This posting just came in from Nick . .

Nick B A N T O C K W O R K S H O P S

Upcoming classes at Nick’s spacious new Gallery and Studio-Workshop, in Merchant Mews on Saltspring. There are four dates set aside for workshops in 2007.

WORKSHOP ONE June 23, 24
This first weekend class will focus on collage techniques and the layering of rich collaged artworks. It’s preferable that you have had some experience in this field, though a general artistic capacity will see you through without too much pain. As well as plenty of practical collage time, Nick will engage everyone in a variety of art discussions intended to provoke a better understanding of nature of art.

WORKSHOP TWO July 28, 29
This class is designed to go a little deeper into the art of serious collage (serious in this case means you’ll need a bit more knowledge of the art), as well as the roots of creative passion. This workshop is for the slightly braver or those who did the first workshop and wish to enter a little further into the forest. We’ll also be covering such things as the murky edges between ‘form and content’ and the ways to circumnavigate creative block.

Slightly different from the first two classes, we’ll be focusing on both images and words. Nick will be discussing his mix of text and art and how they came together in his books.
You’ll be doing a mixture of art and writing, though Nick promises that neither will feel remotely like being at school! Without being ‘therapy’ there is inevitably a small degree of personal content to this workshop, so you will need to bring both your honesty and your sense of humour.

Is more varied, playful and experimental workshop. We’ll be working with lots of different mediums, including found materials both 2D and 3D. The results of your endeavors may be the best and/or the worst Christmas presents in the world. On the other hand it could just be what Jung described when he said, ”There is no creativity without play.”

Beginning at 9am on a Saturday morning and finishing at 4pm on Sunday, the price for each of the weekend workshops is $350. As well as tuition and the provision of some basic materials, the weekend will also include a get together and a glass of wine at Nick and Joyce’s house early on the Saturday evening. Gourmet sandwiches will also be provided for both Saturday and Sunday lunches. Please note, we’ll work on a first come first served basis. Deposits of $100 are needed when registering and the remaining $250 must be paid one month before the workshop.
For further information contact us at: or ph.250 538 0991

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Loreena McKinnett concert . . Victoria, BC

Gillian and I were determined to have something more for the tale of this amazing evening . . and lined up around the stage door where we got to meet Loreena after the concert . . ever so gracious and willing to sign autographs and chat . . . What a powerful musician and amazing magical voice . .
Thanks GG for this wonderful gift!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Studio Visitors . . .

Yvonne Owens and dog "Umberto" (or was that a small horse) . . . come and do a review of the new works.

Valerie and Stephan come to deliver rhubarb from the garden . . the plants are from my grandmother's garden in Newfoundland!

Martin Batchelor visits delivering a new addition for the Jesushrine project.

MUN Alumni . . . meet at The Empress

With the Harts . . . Susan and her father David.

Julie Miller, Oshawa, Ontario, CANADA

One of the Swap Shop List Members . . Thanks Julie . . . something coming in the mail soon to you.



Room of All Sorts. . . David Sedaris

Thanks to my friend Jeffrey Boone . . this one gets added to the collection in the "Room of All Sorts" . . David decided to name it the "Room of Stuff" . .

David has such a great way of writing . . I often laugh out loud . . "Me Talk Pretty One Day" was one of the best I've read . . .

Thanks Jeff

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Stella Meades . . Victoria gathering of artists

The recent gathering of Victoria artists at "Studio J" who recieved one of the shoes and the visual response to the call.

This was my first attempt at needle felting . . now I'm "hooked"

More on Stella's project below:


a response to the exhibition by Heidi Eigenkind

In footnote, Stella Meades pays homage to the circumstances of her own childhood and to those children still affected by war and ethnic hatreds.1 Taking as her starting point, a 1995 UNICEF statistic that 6,000,000 children have been disabled or killed in the last decade, Meades handbuilt 1001 shoes. Each one of the first 1000 represents 6000 injured or dead children. The extra shoe moves the installation beyond the statistic’s timeline, into the present and the future.

By bolding the second half of the exhibition’s title, Meades asks that we take notice, that we take account of these shoes/lives, that we count them in. If we consent, it is because of the close fit between these objects and their maker’s objective. Clay here is a felicitous medium. In Meades’ hands, it imitates various materials - most often leather and always, the vulnerability of skin. There is a strong cultural identification between shoes and those who wear them evidenced, as Meades points out, in the phrase “walk a mile in my shoes”.2 And children’s shoes, bronzed and mounted, have functioned for decades as treasures North American family icons, sentimental embodiments of innocence and safety.

Meades’ 1001 shoes evoke other qualities and circumstances. She has shaped the installation into an elongated mound, a groin against the erosion of memory, the pull of denial’s tides. And though she has not anchored it to a specific time, the work is not completely timeless. Since 1945, any collection of sorted objects carries the echoes of Nazi warehouses stuffed with personal belongings confiscated from camp arrivals by the henchmen of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’. This historical reverberation links footnote to Meades’ childhood experiences in Britain during the Second World War. Some of the shoes, the Buster Browns and Mary Janes, suggest the 1950’s and 60’s. One of my friends commented on the lack of current children’s footwear - hightops for toddlers, and the rubber tire and plastic shoes commonly worn in ‘developing’ countries. When I asked Meades about this absence, she explained that although she had wanted the shoes to be mainly neutral in terms of style, she had tried to make footwear suited to the decade covered by the UNICEF statistic. Her inclusion of sneakers and thongs are meant to provide a more contemporary and possibly less culturally specific presence. Given the nearly inescapable influence of fashion on what North Americans and Europeans wear, such neutrality may be only partially achievable. And I do not think it is essential to this installation’s impact.

It is common knowledge that numbers numb. In footnote, Meades offers us intimate contact with a reality that unmediated could easily overwhelm us. Six million is a Holocaust number, one too large to comprehend in individual human terms. In contrast, Meades’ 1001 shoes constitute a visually and emotionally understandable accounting of 6,000,000 children’s fates. She presents us with an experience we can grasp at a glance or explore in detail. Her marking of the shoes - the bullet holes, wire wrappings, low fire charrings, the tire treads and squashing- read as desecrations carried out on children’s flesh. The shoes speak softly and unflinchingly. And amongst all the scarrings, the hurt surfaces, Meades has drawn occasional stick figures, her signature and evidence of hope.

footnote owes much of its strength to Meades’ ability to combine intense feelings with simplicity of approach. Her installation has no graphic elements, no dramatic splatters of blood. For one year, Meades worked to create a subtle and potent memorial to those who, in her words, historically have been “shuffled off” or declared minor annotations to war’s greater meanings. She has made children and what they needlessly suffer the primary text. The result is a space made sacred by the presences of the young selves Meades has honoured through her art. I don’t know if the timing of this show, which ended just before Remembrance Day, was coincidental. If so, I am grateful to both chance and Meades for helping me remember the millions of poppets hurt and killed in war, when on downtown street corners those selling red felt poppies insist on commemorating only the wounding and death of ‘bonified’ uniformed, adult male victims.

1. A reworking of the artist’s statement accompanying the exhibition
2. From a conversation with the artist

Heidi Eigenkind is an artist and writer once again living in Winnipeg.