A Tour of the MacKenzie Gallery
author: ethan butterfield | a&c editor
The arts in arts and culture / Jeremy Davis
Superscreen and more at the art gallery
It’s time for another tour of the MacKenzie Art Gallery! I’m not doing this so that you don’t have to, just so we’re clear. Here’s a teaser of what you can see for the next couple of months at the art gallery.
The mind knows what the eye has not seen, Agnes Martin. Curated by Bruce Hugh Russell and Naomi Potter, with Elizabeth Diggon
I feel like I’ve stepped into a graveyard for misprinted graph paper. Surrounded on every side by abstract art – honestly I just see lines on paper – I’m standing, circling aimlessly, trying pretty hard not to laugh. Sorry. There’s a wedding reception going on in the room next door; their DJ is blasting Beyoncé. All the Single Ladies, put your hands up. Life is so strange. I love art.
That’s not to say that I particularly love this art. I don’t. It’s two rooms full of… just, well, lines. Yeah, not for me. Hmm. I really wanted to appreciate this, but sometimes it’s just tough, you know? I’m sure it would have been easier to enjoy without also having the urge to dance the whole time (‘I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips…’). The exhibit is by a successful Sask. born artist, Agnes Martin, so I am glad to support that and you should, too, I guess. If you’re there to see the other exhibits, you may as well step in. No need to stay long.
SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut. Curated by Heather Igloliorte
Okay, wow. This one is really quite cool. The MacKenzie has it right when they say that the works featured in SakKijâjuk are “distinctive, innovative and breath-taking.” The exhibit showcases the art of the Labrador Inuit, spanning “work by 47 artists across four generations,” using some really stunning combinations of contemporary and traditional materials. There are textiles, statues, and a load of incredible digital photography, giving a glimpse into what it’s like to be a human in that part of the world.
SakKijâjuk is even more impressive because of the isolated nature of the artists. Labrador is no New York or Paris, but clearly artistic and cultural practices are alive and well. As the exhibit reads, “these artists are remarkable for their tenacity and willingness to experiment and grow,” all while finding creative inspiration in the work of previous generations. This one is definitely worth checking out.
Superscreen: The Making of an Artist-Run Counterculture and the Grand Western Canadian Screen Shop. Curated by Alex King and Timothy Long
Badass, funny, and counterculture, Superscreen is my favourite for this season’s curations. Featuring the work of prairie print-makers from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, this is a fun one to see. It’s a mix of more serious topics such as feminism, Indigenous sovereignty, and political rebellion, with sprinklings of psychedelic-inspired pop art and humour.
One of my favourite pieces in Superscreen is a work entitled “Humpty Dumpty, for Example (1972)“ by the creative group General Idea. This series of photographs commemorates a piece of Regina history that I think should be remembered: when a group of artists from the U of R visual arts department pushed a giant plaster egg off the top of the old gallery, smashing it on the concrete below. Did I mention that I love art? This isn’t just something silly, though, I promise you that. ‘Humpty Dumpty, for Example’ is actually a statement on the unbalanced relationship between artists and galleries.
Superscreen also provides a unique and unfortunately timed look at some of the late Joe Fafard’s prints from this period, something I didn’t realize he ever did. As he’s known especially for his impressive bronze horses, these more fragile images of mother earth are a treat to see. Also fun to learn that Fafard and fellow Regina artist David Thauberger once challenged Winnipeg’s counterculture printers to a hockey match. The exhibit is large, creative, fun, and well worth a visit.