Taking a Tour

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Tegan and Sara photograph nicely, don’t you think? /Image: MacKenzie Art Gallery

Tegan and Sara photograph nicely, don’t you think? /Image: MacKenzie Art Gallery

The MacKenzie plays tour guide to the JUNOs

Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

Combining music with visual art isn’t a new concept, but the MacKenzie Art Gallery decided to do something unique back in April that is still catching people’s eyes.

In order to celebrate the JUNOs being held in Regina, the MacKenzie along with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), came up with an idea to pair great Canadian art with equally great Canadian music.

Eight JUNO winners and nominees from recent years were selected to visit the MacKenzie Vault and choose artworks from the Permanent Collection that held particular meaning to them. These pictures, paired with photos of the artists who chose them, will remaining hanging in the vault until Nov. 24.

When you walk into the gallery, at first it looks like any other showing. Paintings are on the walls, there’s a ceramic sculpture on display, and it’s quiet. Very, very quiet. But as you get up close and personal with the pictures, things start to take on a new form.

The band Metric, who has been nominated 10 times for a JUNO and won twice, chose a painting that, at first doesn’t make much sense. Who Decides Who Rises and Falls? was painted in 2011 by Zhong-Yang Huang and is a painting rich in different shades of brown oil paint on canvas. While I stared at it, I started to understand why Metric may have chosen it. We’re all humans living in the same world dealing with similar issues. It’s not our job to judge or condemn others while raising a few selected ones up in the process. From the songs I’ve listened to by Metric, this seems to fit with their sound.

[pullquote]“When you walk into the gallery, at first it looks like any other showing. Paintings are on the walls, there’s a ceramic sculpture on display, and it’s quiet. Very, very quiet. But as you get up close and personal with the pictures, things start to take on a new form.”[/pullquote]

Tegan and Sara each chose a piece of art and I like Tegan’s choice best. Janieta Eyre’s The Mute Book #2 is a poignant piece whose message comes across clearly. A woman is in the photo with a line painted on her body that cuts her in half. On one side her clothes/style is more androgynous while on the other, she is styled in a more elegant way. Her hair is loose and curled with a floral printed dress. For me, the photo says that there are two different ways to look, but both sides don’t change the fact that she is a woman and her femininity can be viewed in a variety of ways.

Whitehouse, a relatively new band, chose Jane Ash Poitras’ Rebirth of the Four Coyote Spirits as their special piece of art. The duo’s work is seen as a marriage of their “innovative approach and magnetic appeal,” which is something Poitras’ work has, as well. It’s a marriage of colour and photography, celebration and tragedy. I admire it for its realness and its connection to Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal history. Whitehorse’s new album The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss “speaks to an ominous, epic sense of drama about the fate of our world today” which, again, correlates with the artwork they chose.

With other pieces of art in the section of the gallery, I could go on for another 500 words, but I think you get my point. The MacKenzie and CARAS did a cool thing, and I really hope they do it again for next year’s JUNOs.

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