It’s your gallery

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Students are the jury at the Fifth Parallel Gallery

Paul Bogdan
A&C Writer

On Oct. 6, the Fifth Parallel Gallery held its jury meeting to determine its exhibits for the upcoming semester. The meeting wasn’t just restricted to the staff of the gallery – it was open for all students.

“This year we did a lot more advertising and emailing,” said Jess Richter, the director of the Fifth Parallel. “It’s very hard to get students to come, so we were really pleased with the amount that came, … The more students we can get, the better.”

During the two-hour meeting, those in attendance considered proposals for potential exhibits. The proposals weren’t the only topics of discussion though; students also debated general questions such as what types of exhibits the gallery should be considering and the boundaries of what’s possible to display in the Fifth Parallel.

“There was lots of dialogue about important things that need to be talked about such as the idea of filming people in galleries, quality of submissions, how proper submissions should be made,” Richter said. “It’s the kind of thing that we should be talking about so that more people can learn about it. It was really good for the jury; I think they learned a lot, and for gallery members it helped us figure out what needs to be done as well.”

Because the gallery is funded by students, it’s important to the staff at the Fifth that they get a say as to what is shown there.

“If it’s just the directors, then it’s only the shows that we like that are going to get it. It’s more democratic if students who aren’t a member of the Fifth have a say as to what goes in,” Richter said. “It’s their gallery. They pay the fees towards it, so they should have a say as to what gets in. What’s really important is that you can get involved in choosing what goes in the gallery.”

There was a somewhat limited selection for the jury to decide on, with only six proposals being submitted. Richter explained that this is typical for the fall semester, with artists just coming back to school or just beginning their work again.

“Usually fall is a slower time for proposals, and in the winter semester we have anywhere from ten to fifteen proposals submitted simply because fall is when people are just getting back to school, and in the winter they generally have more work,” she said. “It’s not unusual for fall to be a bit slower for proposals.”

The small number of proposals didn’t mean that there was any shortness of talent or quality for the jury to debate on, with the sometimes-heated discussions having to be cut short due to time constraints.

“We had a lot of really good ones. We had a lot of performance-based ones … and it’s good to have unique ones like that come in,” Richter said.

Since the Fifth Parallel is student-funded, it can take more risks when selecting exhibits. It can both consider and accept ideas that larger galleries often can’t.

“We don’t make any profit, so we don’t have to worry about shows that would offend people,” Richter said. “We’re funded by [a student levy collected by] URSU, and they’ll give us our money, so we don’t have to worry about insulting donors. We can take risky shows and shows that may be considered to small to be in larger galleries.”

These types of exhibits also help to bring in large audiences to the Fifth Parallel.

“When you have flashing lights, things projected…it’s going to attract more people into the gallery,” Richter said. “Unique shows bring in people.”

Dealing with atypical exhibits is a benefit for both the gallery and the artists submitting their work. It enjoins the gallery to be more adaptive and gives artists boundaries that they can then push.

“For one thing, it gives us practice for dealing with all kinds of shows,” Richter said. “The gallery is first and foremost a learning experience for students who are working at the gallery and submitting. We learn to deal with all sorts of shows. When we deal with shows that are more controversial or just different than what other galleries could take in, it gives us practice for dealing with all the issues that come with that.”

Out of the six proposals that were discussed and voted on, four were chosen to be showcased as exhibits in the Fifth: Remember As We Forget, Nothing Happened Here, Peepshowrama, and Against Inertia. Richter said she is excited to turn the selected proposals into exhibits.

“I’m very excited about the Remembrance Day one that’s upcoming,” she said. “I think it’ll be great to see some artwork from veterans. I’m also very excited about the installation and performance art one that we have coming up. It’s one of the first times we’ve had performance art during the school year. It’ll be a pretty big thing for us."

This semester’s Fifth Parallel shows

At the Oct. 6 jury meeting, the jury chose four shows to be exhibited in the student-run and student-funded Fifth Parallel Gallery. Fifth Parallel director Jess Richter gave us a brief rundown of what visitors to the gallery can expect to see in the next three months.

Remember As We Forget
Oct. 30 – Nov. 19

Remember As We Forget is a collaborative project with veterans from the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre. It will take a look into the lives and perceptions of veterans of war.

What Richter said: “It talks about we often forget veterans even as we’re trying to remember them, and I think it’s a really important show to have up in a student environment where the sacrifices of veterans can often get overlooked.”

Nothing Happened Here
Nov. 20 – Dec. 10

Nothing Happened Here is a performance art exhibit that will have three nights of performances. The props from the performance nights will be left as they were after each performance to then be viewed as an installation show.

What Richter said: “[It’s] very exciting because we’ve never really had that before.”

Peepshowrama
Dec. 11 – Jan. 7

This is a multimedia show featuring videos, projections, and audience interaction.

What Richter said: “Multimedia work with projected work on screens is always exciting. It’s going to be fantastic and bring people in. The work is amazing.”

Against Inertia
Jan. 8 – Jan. 28

Against Inertia is a more typical show compared to Peepshowrama and Nothing Happened Here. This exhibit will showcase digital drawings made on computers.

What Richter said: “They’re beautiful.”

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