The Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduate Show 2016
Denouement (noun): the climax of a chain of events, usually when something is decided or made clear. New Oxford American Dictionary
The 2016 graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Alberta are currently exhibiting their final work, titled Denouement, at the Fine Arts Building (FAB) Gallery. Julie-Ann Mercer, MA Candidate in the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture, interviewed three of the graduates about their work. This is what Holly Hughes, Alex Linfield, and Michelle Paterok had to say:
East Jerusalem painting by Michelle Paterok
Describe your work in FAB Gallery. What materials and processes did you use to make your work?
Holly Hughes: My works Intrude and eleven year drip function as a combined installation with video and participatory elements. The bulk of the work involves what I’ve affectionately dubbed “the uterus tent” – taking the found form of a children’s play tent and transforming it with fabric and stuffed fabric forms I’ve sewn together as representations of endometriomas, which viewers are welcomed to climb inside. This is accompanied by a smaller repurposed medicine cabinet in which I’ve placed a video presenting my body as it is drenched in sauces reminiscent of blood.
Painting by Alex Linfield
Alex Linfield: My work in the gallery is simultaneously a photographic representation of space and a photographic representation of the object and material it is presented through. The image is hence both a sculpture and a two dimensional work. I use materials that people have pre-existing relationships with in order to cause viewers to view documentation differently. For instance I predominantly use 8.5 x 11” Xerox prints often found in proofing low quality photos but create relationships between the unprintable margin of the page and the illusory space of the image.
Michelle Paterok: I have four oil paintings in the show. They’re based on photographs I’ve taken, which I’ve reinterpreted through the process of painting.
What did you research to create your work? What were you influenced by?
Holly Hughes: This piece is part of a larger body of work, all of which were influenced by an on-going personal struggle with endometriosis and by extension the struggle of navigating through the healthcare system with a chronic illness that is grossly over-looked. This specific work was, truly, an act of catharsis, capturing my attempts to reach personal resolution with my body and the strain placed upon it and my mental health as I came to terms with a diagnosis eleven years after the initial onset of my symptoms.
Alex Linfield: A lot of how I came to my work was through researching the documentation process involved in archaeology. By this I mean the documentation of artifacts and piecing together assemblages in order to get a sometimes very degraded image of the past.
Michelle Paterok: My paintings reference photos that were taken both in Edmonton and in Israel/Palestine. The photos are mainly used as a starting point upon which I can improvise in order to capture a mood or atmosphere that the photograph alone doesn’t reflect. I am interested in exploring how memory and perception inform the way space is experienced, as well as how space is reconstructed in our memories.
Installation by Holly Hughes
How does your work contribute to current discussions in contemporary art?
Holly Hughes: I am interested in the way that art can function as something that is intensely personal whilst also being universally accessible. While grounded in exploring and discussing an individual experience with chronic illness, my work also contributes to discussing intersections of contemporary art, healthcare and medical practice, and feminist theory. I assume the role of female, patient, and artist, and each of these helps to frame my work as a site for critical dialogue. How can this work function to break down the expectations of productivity deemed so desirable by the art world, the medical world, the feminist movement, and Western society as a whole?
- Installation by Holly Hughes
- Paintings by Alex Linfield
Alex Linfield: I think much of our current lives is lived through documented sources. Everyone knows how much of a surrogate experience social media has become, but sometimes when things such as the printed material have been in our lives for so long we completely forget how they function in influencing our views.
Michelle Paterok: Painting is my medium of choice because of its capacity to impart an indescribable resonance. In an era of ubiquitous photography and video, I feel that painting has the potential to communicate an effect unique to the medium. As well, to engage with painting is to participate in a conversation regarding its history and, in a sense, one’s own potential lineage within that history.
Presenter: The University of Alberta Bachelor of Fine Arts Class in cooperation with the University of Alberta Department of Art and Design
Event Title: Denoument
Dates: until April 30, 2016
Venue: FAB Gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta)
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Monday
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