The Masquerade

October 15, 2009 – January 10, 2010

Aganetha Dyck’s The MMasked Ball series began after the artist was given a few figurines that made her think of lavish parties held in the ornately decorated ballrooms of yester-centuries. In building her collection from antique and second-hand stores, she discovered that many had defects yet were still offered for sale.  In fact, most of the figurines were ‘injured’ in some way and a few were even touched up with paint. Inspired by the large white artificial wigs that were worn by our ancestors and the masks they carried or wore at festive balls, the artist wanted to explore how masquerades altered their guests’ behaviours – how ‘masking’ would have given them freedom to be different (or even pretend to be someone else entirely) – to dance, flirt, have engagements, and receive and give proposals – decent or otherwise.

Working in collaboration with the honeybees, the artist gives these figurines new life, dimension, and an enigmatic beauty. The honeybees have an amazing ability to alter the intents of their subjects resulting in works that are not completely changed, only subtly altered – as if ‘masked’ for a masquerade ball. Exhibiting internationally, Aganetha Dyck received the Manitoba Arts Council Arts Awards of Distinction in 2006 and the Governor General’s Award in Media and Visual Arts in 2007.

 

Lindsay Craig’s installation of glass and porcelain sculptural dolls addresses issues of identity, femininity, and popular culture. Entitled Playing with Dolls, the series refers back to the artist’s childhood proclivities while carrying multiple conceptual layers from various and disparate sources that are open to a variety of interpretations as they incorporate influences of religious, mythological, and pop culture imagery.

The forms for the doll sculptures are based on the “Composition Doll” that was manufactured by the Reliable Toy Company in the 1940s. Craig uses all of her skills as a sculptor, jewellery designer, illustrator, fabric designer, and painter to blur the line between sculpture and drawing. Adorned with bronze masks and wreaths, her works are not about fitting into ‘the good taste aesthetic,’ but rather, they act as carriers for multiple layerings of all that is symbolic as they overflow with meaning, power, and magic.

 

 

Carole Epp’s new work continues her investigations into the ethical position of artists in relation to the subject matter they present. She holds a firm belief in the role that art plays in impacting public opinion, as a space for dialogue and a source for resistance to injustices in the world.

In A Collection of Innocent Crimes, Epp manipulates the figurative collectible into sculptures that are rich with narrative and metaphor. Each work is used as a tableau for the presentation of politically and socially charged subject matter and the collectible reference was in part due to its representation of aspects of childhood and nostalgia, kitsch, stereotypes, and most importantly – consumption.  While the miniature scenes may speak about larger world issues, the moments they create are intimate and present to viewers how anyone’s simple daily actions might have an impact on the larger whole.

Through bringing the overwhelming and devastating nature of war, terrorism, poverty, starvation, genetic technology, and environmental degradation back to a dialogue with the individual consumer, the artist offers more positive outlooks for pro-active change regarding today’s serious global issues.

 

 

Cédric Ginart makes strange antique devices and contraptions. The unusual objects created by the French-born artist and scientific glass-blower at the Université de Montréal, seem to exist somewhere between the worlds of science and the outrageously fantastic. Inspired by actual instruments that might have been used by Galileo, Copernicus, and Leonardo da Vinci, Ginart’s works appear humorous yet archaically functional. The works explore ideas about how humans observe and perceive the world around them. At the heart of the exhibition, are a series of 7 bells in which new planets are being ‘cultivated’ and viewers may witness their various stages of growth.

This exhibition of Ginart’s work is further complemented by the incorporation of authentic antique scientific tools from the University of Waterloo’s Optometry Museum. These artefacts were once used in order to measure, document, and understand the world and cosmos – in effect to reveal known, unknown, and possible alternate realities of existence.