Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue

In the thick of work on my thesis project.  This is a first shot at a promotional image for the project, which will eventually emerge as books, a book launch event in late March, and an exhibition-like space where the launch will take place.  More on this soon!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Marimekko at the TMC

This week, an exhibition of Marimekko fabric, fashions and ephemera opened at the Textile Museum of Canada.  I'm proud to say that I worked a wee bit on this exhibition and that as a bonafide 60s art and culture buff, it was a totally fascinating and visually delicious experience working and living with the items highlighted in the exhibition several hours a week at work.  For those of you who don't already know, Marimekko is a Finnish design house founded by Armi and Vijo Ratia during the post-war period, and whose heyday was in the 1960s and 70s (though they are certainly going strong today).  The influential and visionary company helped usher in a distinctive, Scandinavian brand of Modernism that was fun, bold and combined geometric and organic references to excellent effect.

I just found this cool little video produced by Maclean's Magazine which features an interview with Marimekko With Love Curator and TMC Directress/Boss Lady Shauna McCabe, as well as cameos by many of my fabulous co-workers.  For those of you who are interested in checking out the exhibition, it's up until March.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vik Muniz's Wasteland (2010)

I watched the documentary Wasteland not once but twice last week, which focused on a multi-year project by the Brazilian artist/photographer Vik Muniz.  Muniz ventured into the largest landfill in the world, on the edge of Rio de Janeiro.  Getting to know the Catadores (Wasteland's website defines the Catadores as "self-designated pickers of recyclable material") who work in the dump, Muniz followed a group of them and created portraits of them using recyclable material from the landfill to auction off in Europe.  All of the proceeds from the auction went to the Catadores union, the ACAMJG.

Wasteland was a really incredible documentary.  Muniz has become an uber-successful artist over the last decade, and for him, this project was a way of going back to his roots.  As a city, Rio de Janeiro is characterized by its disparities between the rich and the poor.  Muniz himself grew up lower-middle class in São Paulo and supported himself by working in American grocery stores before his career took off.  Wasteland gives the viewer a glimpse of a project that not only is a powerful and effective collaboration with a community of workers, but it showed the power of art to create lasting social change and empower marginalized groups.

Jackson Pollock in chocolate syrup!

The child of a plantation worker drawn in sugar.

Predictably, I'm pretty attracted to Muniz's work that involves food and portraiture, which is very similar in spirit and approach to some of my own work.  It is also similar in that it draws on the tactile/formal parallels between disparate objects.  Muniz began his career as a sculptor, and even though his work is photographic, his process of making the images is more akin to drawing or sculptural processes.  Each of the images included in this post were created on the ground and photographed from several feet in the air.  For more on Muniz's process, check out his really great TED talk, which can be found here.

Images, from top:

The Gypsy Magna, Pictures of Garbage Series, 2009/10
Action Photo (After Hans Namuth), 1997
Valentine - The Fastest, from "The Sugar Children Series," 1996