Dave Dyment

Dave Dyment is a Toronto-based artist whose practice includes audio, video, photography, performance, writing and curating, as well as the production of artists’ books and multiples. His work mines pop culture for shared associations and alternate meanings, investigating the language and grammar of music, cinema, television, and literature, in order to arrive at a kind a folk taxonomy of a shared popular vocabulary.”

(source: MKG127)

Nothing Else Press

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“Founded by Dave Dyment and Roula Partheniou about a decade ago, The Nothing Else Press sporadically publishes artists’ books, multiples and editions. To date, we have published work by Jonathan Monk, David Shrigley, Paul Butler, Alex Snukal, Ken Nicol, Micah Lexier, Michael Dumontier, Karen Azoulay, Colleen Savage, Neil Farber, Kelly Mark and Vanessa Maltese. Forthcoming editions include Jon Sasaki, Dean Baldwin, Cary Leibowitz, Maurizio Nannucci, Jimmy Limit and Lee Ranaldo.”

(source: dave-dyment.com)

A Drink to Us [When We’re Both Dead] (2008 – 2108)

“Working with the staff at the Glenfiddich Distilleries, Dyment created a reinforced barrel, filled it with uncut spirit and buried it in Warehouse 8, among large stones from the river Fiddich. It will be excavated in 2108. This whisky is being pre-sold now, though it will not be available to drink for 100 years. Buyers will receive an extruded wood casket housed in a linen box, a map of the warehouse, a small diary documenting the process, and a contract to pass on to their descendants to collect the whisky in a hundred years time.”

(source: MKG127)

Harrell Fletcher

Harrell Fletcher is an American artist living in Portland, Oregon and a key figure in the development of ‘Social Practice’ and relational art in the US. A one-time collaborator with Jon Rubin, Fletcher became known for making projects in collaboration with strangers and non-artists. He went on to found the Social Practice program in the Art department of Portland State University, where he is still on faculty.”

(sources: Wikipedia + Portland State University)

If I Wasn’t Me I Would Be You

 

If I Wasn’t Me I Would Be You (2003) are “videos of people’s scars with the stories of how they got them”.

(source: harrellfletcher.com)

People’s Biennial

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People’s Biennial is an exhibition that examines the work of artists who operate outside the sanctioned mainstream art world. As such it recognizes a wide array of artistic expression present in many communities across the United States. Working in cities that are not considered the primary art capitals, the 36 artists in this exhibition present significant contemporary work ranging from documentary photographs of military life in the heartland, to video works focusing on the biological activity in urban ecosystems, and complex, minute marble-like sculptures carved out of soap bars. In covering even the little-known, the overlooked, the marginalized, and the excluded, the exhibition represents a real snapshot of creative practice in America today.

People’s Biennial also proposes an alternative to the standard contemporary art biennial, which mostly focuses on art from a few select cities (New York, Los Angeles, occasionally Chicago, Miami or San Francisco). It questions the often exclusionary and insular process of selecting art that has at times turned the spaces where art is exhibited into privileged havens seemingly detached from the realities of everyday life.

The exhibition is the result of a year of research into the creative communities of five American cities: Portland, Oregon; Rapid City, South Dakota; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Haverford, Pennsylvania. In each place, the curators collaborated with an art institution and participated in a series of public events and open-calls, meeting hundreds of artists, which led to the selection of the works on view.”

(source: ICI)

The original iteration of People’s Biennial took place in 2011. A more recent edition was organized in 2014.

One Mile Loop

One Mile Loop (2014) is a series of public signs and musical performances that respond to the routine exercise habits of runners and walkers who regularly use the park’s walking trail. Six signs, placed at intervals along the trail, replicate historical markers, but instead of containing historical information, the markers share information about the current lives, exercise habits, and musical preferences of six Nashville citizens who regularly use the park. A musical performance was organized with six local bands playing songs selected by the runners and walkers, allowing the public to experience a continual live music experience as they make their way around the path.”

(source: harrellfletcher.com)

Aleesa Cohene

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Oakville Galeries installation view. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Vancouver-born, L.A.-based media artist Aleesa Cohene “uses found footage and sounds to create videos and installations about human intimacies. … Cohene’s audiovisual collages are expertly edited, telling oblique, strongly atmospheric stories. The artist’s found footage tends to come from Hollywood films and TV shows popular during her childhood in the 1980s and early 1990s. … Cohene was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and her work has also been shown at Oakville Galleries and Galerie Suvi Lehtinen in Berlin.”

(source: Canadian Art)

Like, Like

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Like, Like portrays two love-sick women. The women are composite characters created from the actions, reactions and dialogue of multiple women from multiple Hollywood sources. The exhibition space includes a wall painting of a textile pattern reproduced from an image in the video and a scent created by the artist. The scent is composed of amber, musk, bergamot, black pepper, juniper bark, fibers from security blanket, lavender, Lenor “April Fresh” fabric softener, neroli, and ylang-ylang.”

(Source: aleesacohene.com)

View it on vimeo.

 

Something Better

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Something Better consists of three synchronized videos, each a different member of a family. Spectators are introduced to multiple film actors who merge into three personae: father, mother and child. The three composite characters hear each other but don’t listen, look but don’t see and have relationships that are simultaneously distant and intimate. Something Better recognizes that our relationships to others are constructed through mirrors of ourselves. A textile pattern that appears in Something Better is painted from floor to ceiling on the gallery walls leading to the videos.”

(Source: aleesacohene.com)

View it on vimeo.

Janine Antoni

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Still from Touch (2002)

Born in the Bahamas and based in New York City, Janine Antoni works across disciplines, including performance, sculpture, and photography. In her process-based work, Antoni often uses her own body (or that of others) as a mark-making/performative tool.

 

Mom and Dad

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Mom and Dad, 1994, Silver dye bleach prints (triptych), 24 x 19 7/8′ each

“In Mom and Dad (1994), Antoni made up each of her parents in the guise of the other, photographing them together in three different permutations with either one or both of them costumed in this way.”

 

Momme

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Momme, 1995, C-print, 35 x 29 1/3′

“For the 1995 photograph Momme, Antoni hid under her mother’s dress, her own adult body bulging like a pregnant belly.”

 

Loving Care

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When Janine Antoni performed Loving Care in 1993, she moved herself into the history of contemporary art, and she has occupied that place ever since. Like any negotiation with history, the understanding of her performance, in which she dipped her long hair in black dye and set about mopping the floor, has been complicated by its initial reception. Loving Care is famous because of a series of black and white photographs documenting the event that recalls the photographs Hans Namuth took of Jackson Pollock working on an Abstract Expressionist canvas. The association is apt; as a woman artist Antoni was mimicking the making of an action painting and claiming a piece of the territory that had been occupied primarily by male artists. (She was also referencing Yves Klein’s use of his models as paintbrushes with the transformative difference that in her enactment she was both model and master). But what the Loving Care photographs don’t show is that she was also driving out of the performance space the crowd that had gathered to watch a woman, in a vulnerable position, enacting a laborious and inexplicable ritual. Like so much of her subsequent work, Loving Care was simultaneously about being in danger and being defiant.” – Robert Enright

 

Lick and Lather

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Lick and Lather, 1993, Two busts: one chocolate and one soap, from an edition of 7 with 1 artist’s proof + 1 full set of 14 busts, 7 of each material

Antoni on Lick and Lather: “I wanted to work with the tradition of self-portraiture but also the classical bust. So, the way I made it is: I took a mold directly from my body. … I started with an exact replica and then I carved the classical stand. I made a mold, melted down thirty-five pounds of chocolate, poured it into the mold. And when I took it out of the mold, I re-sculpted my image by licking the chocolate. So, you can see that I licked up the front and through the mouth up onto the nose, over the eye and back up over the ear onto the bun, and then down in the back around the neck.

I also cast myself into soap. She started as an exact replica of myself. We spent a few hours in the tub together. I slowly washed her down, and she becomes almost fetal because all her features start to be washed away. So, I was thinking about how one describes the self and feeling a little uncomfortable with my outer surface as the description of myself. And this piece very much is about trying to be on the outside of myself and have a relationship with my image. So, the process is quite loving. Of course chocolate is a highly desirable material, and to lick my self in chocolate is a kind of tender gesture. Having the soap in the tub was like having a little baby in there. But through that process, I’m slowly erasing my self. For me it really is about this kind of love-hate relationship we have with our physical appearance.”

Click here for an Art21 segment on Janine Antoni, from 2003 (segment starts at 36:05).

John Sasaki

A Four-Digit Clock Counting From 9999 Down To 0000

2015

At YYZ Artist’s Outlet in Toronto

 

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Accompanied by the video Dead End, Eastern Market, Detroit 

2015

“In Detroit’s rapidly-gentrifying Eastern Market neighbourhood, a white van approaches the fenced-off dead end of an alleyway, before beginning a laborious, tense and exhausting process of course correction.”

Bio

John Sasaki received a BFA from Mount Allison University in 1996.

He was an active member of Toronto/Vancouver–based collective Instant Coffee from 2002 to 2007. 

He lives and works in Toronto and is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects.

And often visits Guelph for artist talks!

Party Art 

Napkins (Materials Safety Data Sheet)

2011, Multiple, paper serviettes printed with one of three colours of ink. 5″ x 5″

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A Machine To Release One Burst Of Confetti Gradually Over The Duration Of An Exhibition

2011, confetti, motorized conveyer belt, scaffold, stanchions.

These images were taken at Papier Montreal Contemporary Art Fair, April 2015.

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“A conveyer belt topped with confetti is programmed to run imperceptibly slowly. At a rate of roughly one flake every five minutes or so, the confetti trickles to the ground, with the entire ‘burst’ piling up on the floor two months later. An exuberant moment is drawn out to absurd lengths, leaving us to question whether or not such gestures of enthusiasm can sustain themselves over time.”

Stop At Nothing

2013, intervention as part of the Parkdale Film & Video Showcase, programme of video works installed in storefront windows.

“I had hoped to upstage the other artists in the Parkdale Film & Video Showcase with an ambitious, highly memorable project. Unfortunately the project didn’t pan out.

So I decided that the next best thing would be to sabotage all the other video installations instead.

Throughout the weekend, I attempted to covertly turn off each window video monitor in the show using a universal remote control, in the hopes that the other artists who did manage to make memorable work would not be remembered either.”

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I Wish I Could See The World The Way You Saw The World

2011, installation, monochromatic light fixture, four colourfield paintings from the Kenderdine Art Gallery collection. (works by Herbert Bayer, Yves Gaucher, Gary Lee-Nova, Douglas Morton.)

“Works from the Kenderdine collection were selected for their zeitgeist, possessing the sort of optimism and assuredness often seen in work of the 1960s. Installed under a light fixture that emits only one wavelength, colour relationships were stripped away from these once-vibrant canvases, rendering them grey and depleted. Once faded, they became something of a quiet lament for a more hopeful, bygone era.”

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A Machine to Replicate the Effect of a Breeze Through an Open Window.

2012, Air compressor pump, motor, plexi enclosure, electrical components, 100′ hose, inline filters, aluminum square bar. Dimensions variable. Installation view: Gallery 101, Ottawa.

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Black Light Thrift Store

2007,  Salvation Army Thrift Store in downtown Toronto

An example of how you can transform a preexisting space into an art exhibition space for a short duration of time using a minimal gesture.

“The store’s regular lighting fixtures were replaced with CSI-style ultraviolet lights, directing attention toward the residue of previous owners. The gesture brought to the forefront all the lint, bodily fluids, spills and stains covering the used garments, invisible under normal lighting.”

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Nuit Blanche

I Promise It Will Always Be This Way

An all-night performance for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2008, Saturday, October 4, 7PM until 7AM Sunday morning. Lamport Stadium, Toronto.

 

“For “I Promise It Will Always Be This Way” twenty-six costumed team mascots took the field at Lamport Stadium, with instructions to whip the crowd into a fervent frenzy. Throughout the twelve-hour endurance piece, they pulled out all the stops with their mascot antics, while “Jock Rock” sports anthems played over the loudspeakers. As the night progressed and physical fatigue began to set in, the mascots required cigarettes, naps, snacks and bathroom breaks. Plush heads were removed and mascot illusions were broken, revealing the performers to be human after all…capable of feeling cold and weary. However, flying in the face of all expectations, the mascots’ morale never dwindled. An unbelievably supportive, ever-cheering, crowd reciprocated the enthusiasm, creating a touchingly symbiotic back-and-forth of support. What was intended to be a much darker, more futile picture of misspent energy ended up being a very moving moment of social generosity.”

 

 

Simple Gestures 

His work often focuses on the failure of objects, the failure of people, the failure of ideas.

His work presents small disappointments, playfully addressing the futility of life and art.

 

A North American Bulb in a 220V Socket

2010, HDV, 0’35”, looped

A 120V lightbulb has been transported from Canada to Ireland, and installed in an incompatible socket. The bulb illuminates very brightly for an instant, only to burn out immediately after.

 

 

Ladder Climb

2006, HD video, 1:50, looped.

“The artist’s fairly unsuccessful attempts at climbing an unsupported ladder. Exhibited as a single channel endless loop, the piece suggests both the desire for self-improvement, and the futility of the task.”

 

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning

A multiple for Nothing Else Press, Toronto.

Wired LCD screen, copper & zinc electrodes
9 x 6 x 3 cm.
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

“[The buyer] becomes complicit: they have to stab these two potatoes and watch the system run itself down. It’s tragedy, but really only tragicomedy. If it were a sentient being it would be tragedy. It’s comedy because it’s just a potato. There’s something heartbreaking and funny about empathizing with an inanimate object.” Excerpt from an article by Adam Lauder, Canadian Art Magazine, Summer 2014.

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(four months later)

Performative Institutional Critique 

Performance to Double the MOCCA’s Visitor Figures

2014, ongoing throughout the exhibition “TBD” at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, September 6 – October 26, 2014.

“The MoCCA, like most galleries, makes a very accurate count of the number of daily visitors who stop by, and these figures are subsequently reported by the museum to their various stakeholders.
As a service provided to the institution, I have pledged to singlehandedly double the attendance for this exhibition.”

“By literally “running in circles” for a number of hours each week, I will match the thousands of attendees for this show, eventually culminating in a figure that can be cited in the MoCCA’s year-end reports.”

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Subverting Common Language 

A Clock Set to 24 Hours Into The Future

2014-2015, public artwork for Sheridan College’s Temporary Contemporary, Trafalgar Campus, Oakville Ontario.

“Unlike most campus clocks, this one has been set 24 hours fast, always displaying “tomorrow’s time.” Of course, on a four-numeral digital clock, tomorrow’s time appears indistinguishable from “today’s time,” and therein lies a small bit of levity that is intended to open up a range of poetic interpretations.”

“A clock tower running 24 hours fast is in fact practical and functional in the present, but serves also as an aspirational signpost pointing towards the idea of tomorrow.”

 

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(the accompanying didactic panel)

 

After a Mural I Painted in Grade Four

2013

HD video, 34 min
Produced by the Koffler Centre of the Arts for the exhibition We’re In The Library, November 2013.

He uses the familiar utopian image of children of varying nationalities holding hands in a circle (usually surrounding a globe) to call into question such problematic yet common societal images.

“For this piece, twenty children enacted this utopian moment in real life, stretching it to an extended period of time. The instructions were simple, they were asked to “hold hands in a circle, smile and think happy thoughts.” Any control over the participants’ reactions was relinquished after that, and a huge spectrum of behavior resulted. This video charts the event minute-by-minute, from the instant their directive was given to the time the original utopic ideal became unrecognizable.”

 

 

 

Other Themes 

Sasaki also makes work about Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven.

As well as cultural differences between North America and Japan.

 

http://www.jonsasaki.com/

Bridget Moser

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“Bridget Moser is a Toronto-based artist who works predominantly in performance and video. Her work occupies the territory between prop comedy, experimental theatre, absurd literature, existential anxiety, intuitive dance, Dr. Phil transcripts, the internet, etc.”

Moser began at a very young age with dance lessons and drama classes

“Acting from an intersection of performance art, stand-up comedy, experimental dance and theatre, Moser’s gestures are a potent blend of funny and anxious.” – Canadian Art

Moser did a little bit of performance art while still in school but really began afterwards when she attended an experimental comedy course in her residency at The Banff Centre. She now does performances both live and on video. She has performed at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Mercer Union, 8-11, Artspace, and Doored, as well as other galleries and at some universities.

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Her performances are seemingly random scenes and clips taken out of different contexts, using different props, costumes, characters, and audio to signify a change in the story. Each performance has a different visual aesthetic, achieved through different props, costumes, and setting. Her performances involve various forms of audio, such as: voiceovers, ambient sounds, pop songs, and other sound effects. While performing, Moser interacts with objects using her body in different variations, permutations, and combinations. Moser will take an object that we associate with a certain action or use and subtly change the interaction between her body and the object, which subsequently and  temporarily changes our relationship with the object.

“The artist’s performance refused fixity, moving frenetically between different vignettes and voices on stage, all the while straddling the divide between comedy and art.” – Loreta Lamargese in The Editorial Magazine 

Almost every performance stands on the boarder between absurd comedy and profound thought. Moser plays into the fact that comedy is typically seen as frivolous and disengaged with conceptual themes. Despite this generalized view, she sees comedy and conceptual art looking to achieve similar goals; taking an expectation or conventional idea, and turning it on it’s head.

“Moser uses [conventions] as tools; she uses them to stabilize her slippery semiotic shifts even as she turns them back on themselves, slicing the bonds between signifier and signified with the ease of a practiced shoplifter removing a security tag. Moser does not defy or reject popular culture, but her performances do undermine the unified significations on which it relies, offering instead a thicket of signification so rich with distraction, dazzle and reflection that we forget the habits we came in with, forget, as it were, how to walk. In her activation of this dialectic of known and unknown, familiar and unfamiliar, Moser is less a young artist trying to define herself against the masters who precede her, than one in a long line of meaning-makers, outclassed but clever, sparring playfully with the behemoth of mass culture.” – Sarah Hollenberg 

Moser’s work ethic is based upon her trying to understand her interests and attraction to certain items or ideologies and the process she takes in trying to figure them out. For example, a topic that comes up a lot in her work is the idea of self-help. Moser finds this notion interesting as it has been made into a commercialized process that you can make yourself OK if you follow steps x, y, and z. She amplifies this in her performances, as she rehearses, she changes and rearranges scenes as she grapples with intriguing concepts, such as self-help.

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References:

http://bridgetmoser.com/

The strange new world of Bridget Moser

Bridget Moser & The Art of Self-Improvement

http://www.hwy-mag.com/features/2015/3/6/tender-offer

http://the-editorialmagazine.com/?p=4459

ARTIST PRESENTATION: VSVSVS

VSVSVS – Party Art

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VSVSVS is a seven-person artist collective who formed in 2010. They work out of a warehouse in Toronto, Ontario and engage in collaborative art production. They create works in areas of: multiples, drawings, video, sculpture, installations, and performance.  The Members of VSVSVS include: Anthony Cooper, James Gardner, Laura Simon, Miles Stemp, Ryan Clayton, Stephen McLeod and Wallis Cheung.

I Interviewed Miles Stemp, he spoke on behalf of VSVSVS.  We discussed where the collective stood in terms of what party art was and where their works fit in.

The collective VSVSVS began their career making party art. Party art is categorised as event based interactive art, which requires some form of play with the viewer.  The main focus of party art was the fact that people had to interact with people, which created one on one connection and experiences. Another form of party art is the sceptical. The sceptical goes against the event planning interaction.  There is a tension created in these types of works.  Usually, in some form the artist is on display and the re-actions that occur as a result of the intervention in a space become the piece.

The first piece of party art created by the group was in 2011, titled Ghost Hole III. This work was framed as a Halloween party taking place in a three-day art festival located in Toronto’s Kensington Market. They built a giant pyramid bar where viewers could get a psychic reading by a VSVSVS member while getting a drink. Alcoholic drinks were specifically given out tailored to the personality of the individual getting their fortune read. The work allowed for a one on one interaction between the audience and the artists. This created a relationship with the viewer and the artist’s that most artworks tend to lack.

 

Another work that follows the party art aesthetic is VSVSVS 2O15 work titled Vibration Station. This piece was made for the 2015 Wayhome Festival. They constructed a geometric plywood platform that vibrated with the music of the festival. VS’s wanted to create a space that had a focus on rest and conversation. People were encouraged to hang out on the platforms. This created a relationship between the viewers, the music and the art.

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This work is what VSVSVS’s made for the 2O15 Edmonton’s nuit Blanche, its titled Make It Flat. It was an event that lasted the whole night. It included temporarily building a hockey rink and having a steamroller replaces the Zamboni, which indiscriminately levels any object placed in its path. Items selected by the artists range from ramps, ceramics, lightbulbs, yoga balls, air-mattresses, toothpaste tubes and bubble wrap etc., are continually arranged, destroyed and rearranged over the course of the night. The project aims to use the act of destruction as a generative gesture and as an aesthetic spectacle. Over the course of the night the audience continued to participate in cheering on the performance. This created a high level of energy which fueled the VS’s members making for an exciting show.