Regina’s snow useful for something
Article: Liam Fitz-Gerald – Contributor
Two weeks ago, Lucien Durey and Katie Kozak’s Baba’s House premiered at the Dunlop Art Gallery. There, the artists scanned various objects found in Kozak’s Ukrainian-Canadian grandmother’s house in Creighton Saskatchewan, creating beautiful collages on display. The Saskatchewan born but Vancouver based artists are back in Saskatchewan working away on their next exhibit Snow Gallery.
Durey and Kozak are creating a display composed of four walls of ice that will hold objects that the duo found from thrift stores around Regina. The artists seek to create a lose portrayal of the city with some photographs frozen in blocks of ice. They want to create a parallel between two cycles: consumer goods and nature.
The outdoor exhibit will stand until it melts and rejoin the water cycle while the objects will vanish or be taken, either in residences, thrift stores or garbages.
Snow Gallery started as a project that Kozak began in Flin Flon last year called Ground Water Gallery. She built a gallery out of snow and hosted exhibitions in it making it both a venue and artwork. Both artists see Snow Gallery as an extension of Ground Water Gallery only they’re adding another layer of complexity to it.
“We’re adding the element of finding objects in Regina that are anonymous. So we went to thrift stores and found objects whose owners were unknown,” Durey says.
While they know where they came from in terms of where they were purchased them from they don’t how these objects arrived at the thrift stores.
“We assume they were someone’s personal objects at one point that were donated. So it’s a way to remove the personal significance. It doesn’t belong to any individual person per say, so in a vague way, the objects belong to the city of Regina,” says Durey.
Kozak added that there are parallels between nature and society that Snow Gallery captures.
“With the physical gallery itself, it will melt and while some people might see it as disappearing I like to see it as expanding into the water system. In the same way the objects will come into the gallery space and will leave it as it is a public space in the downtown core of Regina,” she says.
“I think if you think about the concept of the cycles of nature, of water turning into gas and redistricting it puts the consumer cycle into question. How valuable is the object when it is made, destroyed and dispersed somewhere and returned to this cycle,” Durey says, emphasizing that the display questions the importance of things.
On what the community should take away from Baba’s House, Durey hopes that people are reflective on how they interact with objects throughout the city. Kozak hopes that people can find a public space in the exhibit. It will also be a changing exhibit as the spring comes and melts it away.
“I hope they look at the objects and are reminded of similar objects they had or being in a place like a thrift store and seeing familiar/obscure things,” Durey says, emphasizing that Snow Gallery is a lose portrayal of the city.
“I like the idea of you create a space for people to be in, that they can have their own experience, even if it’s slightly constructed,” Kozak adds.
On their styles of art, they emphasize while there are similarities there are differences.
“Part of it is we definitely work on a consensus model. For collaborative works we both have to agree. Someone has to sometimes convince the other person that their path is at that specific time the best option and the other person has to agree to go forward,” Kozak says.
When putting Baba’s House together, Kozak and Durey would read the images differently. As they were working on objects connected to Kozak’s family she would see the objects differently than Durey. It was different working on Snow Gallery.
“It’s different working on something like [Snow Gallery] where I don’t have a personal history with the materials,” she says. She became very attached to items at her grandmother’s house.
Snow Gallery premiers Feb. 14.Image: Haley Klassen