Nov. 14, 2012 - Issue #891: Heap and Pebble
The Monstrous Baroque
The Monstrous Baroque, the upcoming edition of the Art Gallery of Albera's evening Refinery parties, pulls its inspiration from the gallery's current Beautiful Monsters and Misled by Nature exhibitions, their pairing inspiring an evening of provoking programming by Kristen Hutchinson and Jennifer Forsyth, founders of the fast & dirty Artist and Curatorial Collective. Vue caught up with the pair to ask a few questions in advance of the sold out party.
VUE WEEKLY: Your themes were inspired by shows currently on in the gallery. What was it about those exhibitions that you responded to or found fascinating?
KRISTEN HUTCHINSON: We were interested in creating a theme for a Refinery that is a mash up of the two exhibitions to see what would happen with that combination. I was particularly struck by the use of materials in the Misled by Nature exhibition and wanted to see how the artists that we have chosen for our curatorial program would take the idea of the Baroque and incorporate and transform that esthetic into their own artworks and performances. As an art historian, I have taught courses about the art historical periods covered in both exhibitions. I find the Beautiful Monsters exhibition particularly engaging because I have been interested for some time in how monsters have been represented throughout the history of art and how this relates to cultures' views about morality and religion. For example, when I was teaching a survey of Renaissance art—which is far outside my area of expertise since I specialize in contemporary art—I tried to show as many images of monsters and demons that I could find.
JENNIFER FORSYTH: Kristen and I first viewed the exhibitions together. What stuck me was how Misled by Nature challenged us both. We found that we responded to the different works in different ways and the exhibition sparked an interesting discussion on how we each embraced ideas of estheticism and anti-esthetic at the same time. The work really makes you question what you consider to be esthetic.
I think Beautiful Monsters appealed to our creative selves, it really pushed us to explore the idea of Baroque in a totally new way. I would say that this exhibition had a major impact on our choice of artists to include in Refinery.
VW: Is there any local art inspired by the Baroque or the monstrous? Does this theme directly or indirectly represent a community of artists?
KH: We chose artists for Refinery who we thought would create works that address both the Baroque and the monstrous in engaging and surprising ways. Julianna Barabas will be doing a performance throughout the evening where the audience will be invited to purge their own inner monsters. Jennifer Mesch and Scott Smallwood are creating a dance and sound performance that portrays a ghostly presence trapped in a room full of books. Ryan Wolters, Sergio Serrano and myself are creating an installation based on the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse game that explores the intersection between the two themes.
JF: There was a mix in our choices between those whose practice could be defined as contemporary baroque and those who we felt could really embrace the theme in a dynamic way. Courtney Chetwynd is our only non-local artist, currently living and working in Yellowknife. We included her because of her emphasis on the ornate and ephemeral in her use of fine organic materials. Our choices for the Exquisite corpses piece was based on how well we thought the artists could respond to the Beautiful Monsters exhibition using a contemporary baroque approach. Kristen and I also wanted to approach the theme through our own practices; this was our first attempt at working on an installation collaboratively. Our monstrous baroque playing cards also tie into the events and activities—the event cards showcasing some of our images are available for collecting by the evening's guests.
Sat, Nov 17 (9 pm)
Art Gallery of Alberta, sold out
vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy