Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Critic's Picks

In 2014, as the Ottawa Akimblogger, I tried to write about the most notable exhibitions in the area each month. Unfortunately I had to let some events and exhibitions slip by, mostly due to bad timing. Each year, the Akimblog critics post their critic's picks for the year. I had been looking forward to this opportunity to mention some of my favourite things from the past year that my usual posts could not accommodate.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, The Year’s Midnight, 2011. 
(Installation view, Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa, 2014. Photo : Jennifer Covert)

In an image that summarizes the past year, my eyeballs are smoking from looking at great art. It’s an effect of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s The Year’s Midnight, a version of which was installed at the new Canada Council for the Arts office in time for their AGM in January 2014. With the work’s reference to the winter solstice in the title, my art viewing experience for the year has come full circle.

The complete text of my year-end post was published here on the December 16 Akimblog.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Beyond Earth Art" Review in C Magazine 124

My review of the exhibition "Beyond Earth Art: Contemporary Artists and the Environment" appears in issue 124 of C Magazine.

Taking inspiration from the ground-breaking Earth Art exhibition organized by Willoughby Sharp on the Cornell University campus in 1969, curator Andrea Inselman put together Beyond Earth Art, an expansive new exhibition examining the manner in which yesterday’s earth art resonates with artists practicing today. Inselman selected environmentally-themed artworks by over three dozen international historical and contemporary artists for installation throughout Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum and on its grounds. While Earth Art was more strictly conceptual or philosophical in the way that it expanded the boundaries of what could be considered art, the works in Beyond Earth Art more pointedly refer to ecological issues. As a whole, the exhibition registered an increasing sense of urgency around environmental concerns that is correspondingly reflected in contemporary art.

The sprawling exhibition did not offer a succinct chronological outlay, but created an environment for investigation and discovery. Evoking both a sense of alarm and disgust while conjuring up the spirit of beauty, contemporary works in a wide range of media at contrasting scales, from small works to room-size installations, populated an expansive zone for the viewer to traverse, circumscribing states of desecration and preservation. Though Beyond Earth Art has come to an end, the dialogue that was strongly given voice at the Johnson will continue to alert, engage and inspire new audiences.

For the complete review, check out C Magazine 124, available at the finest bookstores, newsstands, and libraries near you.