Jul. 25, 2012 - Issue #875: Shout Out Out Out Out
For Your Consideration
A pair of AGA exhibits offer openings for interpretation
Behind This Lies My True Desire For You
Works by Mark Clintberg
Until Sun, Oct 14
Absence | Presence
Works by Catherine Burgess
Art Gallery of Alberta
No matter your relationship with art and art galleries, the curiosity to understand them is a persistent pull. In working through a relationship with such objects and spaces, we are forced to question our interpretive experience—what is made invisible by my lack of understanding?
Mark Clintberg explores the yearning to find connection in his new work, as the latest instalment of the AGA's Manning Hall commission series. Manning Hall's giant wall, visible in the AGA lobby, is covered in grey weather-worn barn wood, inscribed with the piece's title, BEHIND THIS LIES MY TRUE DESIRE FOR YOU, written in text reminiscent of that found on grain elevators. Considering the text as though the gallery is speaking to the audience, Clintberg connects to the intent behind the gallery's brand identity. "Your AGA" the new concept that accompanied the opening of the current building, speaks to the gallery's desire to connect with audiences, and cultivate a sense of ownership of the space by the Alberta population. However, in this consideration of connection is institutional critique—there is no way to access the other side of wall which is additionally reinforced with wood. Sitting on the couches that snake Manning Hall, the work provides an opportunity to ruminate on the idea of accessibility and the art gallery, and what might lie behind the AGA's desire for us as audience members. Ironically what does lie behind that wood-enforced wall is the gallery's upscale restaurant Zinc, suggesting a desire for high-end consumers rather than visitors or participants.
New to the RBC New Works Gallery is well-established Edmonton artist Catherine Burgess' exhibition, Absence | Presence. This series of diminutive abstract shapes of metal and stone are clustered around the wall and floor, simple arrangements fitting the minimalist genre's predilection to no-fuss explorations of shape and form in space. Although such work commonly tends to give viewers a role in considering their relationship with such objects because they must inhabit the same space, I wonder what in particular I can learn or experience in this work that is unique to it. The opportunity to interrogate harmonious and disquieting spatial relationships between these objects, and between the art and visitor, exists and is an undoubtedly valuable experience to have. However, seeing that this is well-trod territory and Burgess is a master of this particular and elegant brand of art making, I wonder what she could do to challenge herself and her audiences. What other kinds of relationships with space, materials, and people are possible? It would be exciting to see skilled senior Edmonton artists like Burgess help us explore these possibilities off the beaten path. vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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