Critical Distance

The Tightrope Walker: Petra Mueller
December 2 – December 23, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Angela Somerset

It must be like going to a film; you enter into the screen, you forget abut the camera, the actors, everything–you’re lost in the story, and when you come out, it’s like coming from a dream.

-Guy Caron, Artistic Director – Cirque Du Soliel

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Critical Distance

sound machine – Noise of Wonder: Michael Dumontier and T.R. Elliott
September 1 – September 23, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Marian Butler

The Oxford Universal Dictionary states that wonder is the emotion excited by the perception of something novel and unexpected, or inexplicable; astonishment mingled with perplexity or bewildered curiosity.
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Between Brandon and Barbizon: What I Learned from Kay Cherniski

after the gleaners: Kay Cherniski
May 19 – June 10, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Sigrid Dahle

“When Minimalist painting was the rage in university departments all over the country, a New York critic toured some of the major Midwestern schools. He saw canvas after abstract canvas, but they tended to be strangely gray compared to the paintings he knew in New York. Finally he realized the problem. Midwestern students had been getting their information about Minimalism from the art journals, and the gray tones represented what happened to an abstract painting after it was put through a color-separation process and was printed as a photolithograph in an art magazine.”1
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After “after the gleaners”

after the gleaners: Kay Cherniski
May 19 – June 10, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Michael Boss

The exhibition:
17 paintings (8 original and 9 copies of works by Vermeer, Daumier, Corot, Millet, da Vinci and Van Gogh) juxtaposed with the plates in the books from which the copies were made.

The subject matter:

genre; including flowers, portraits, landscape and animals.

The reaction:
Controversy: Why?

I believe it was because of the pervasive prejudices that this presentation confronted. Continue reading

Critical Distance

still life: Aganetha Dyck and Karen Thornton
March 24 – April 18, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Doug Melnyk

“It’s so sexy!” Aganetha said to me, on a day that I had a long conversation with her in her studio, speaking at this point about the massive body of honeybees she had encountered in their hive.

“Did you ever touch them? You can put your hand inside the hive, gently, if you’re careful. Don’t make any fast movements or do anything reckless. You just put your hand down very slowly and gently, until it’s on top of the surface of their backs. Oh my, it’s so warm. And of course, it feels furry. It’s warm and so furry, and it’s just pulsing with life. It just throbs!”

Aganetha’s relationship with bees, after years of reading about them and working directly with bees and professional beekeepers, is a very complex relationship.
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INTERSTITIAL INTIMACY: analysis in proximity

inside out: Sarah Crawley and William Eakin
February 24 – March 18, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Sigrid Dahle

“Private and public, past and present, the psyche and the social develop an interstitial intimacy. It is an intimacy that questions binary divisions through which such spheres of social experience are often spatially opposed. These spheres of life are linked through an ‘in between’ temporality that takes the measure of dwelling at home, while producing an image of the world of history. This is the moment of aesthetic distance that provides the narrative with a double edge which…represents a hybridity, a difference ‘within’, a subject that inhabits the rim of an ‘in-between’ reality. And the inscription of this borderline existence inhabits a stillness of time and a strangeness of framing that creates the discursive ‘image’ at the crossroads of history and literature, bridging the home and the world.” 1
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Making and Taking “inside out”

inside out: Sarah Crawley and William Eakin
February 24 – March 18, 1995

a response to the exhibition  by Cliff Eyland

Most of us merely “take” a picture–we’re happy with whatever comes back from the drug store. Artists and other professional photographers, however, “make” photographs. The photograph is not a window on unvarnished reality, and we all know that the striking, “spontaneous” image of a battle or a disaster we see on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press or the Sun is probably a carefully cropped, dodged and digitally or manually manipulated image which has been picked out of innumerable contact sheets.
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Critical Distance

Dark O’Clock: Stephen Andrews, Doug Ischar, Mathew Jones, Wanda Koop, Glenn Ligon
January 17 – February 18, 1995

a response to the exhibition by Alison Gillmor

When I started to write about Dark O’clock, I had to check the spelling of the word “glamorous” (g-l-a-m-o-u-r-o-u-s? g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s?). The Collins Concise told me that the word comes from an 18th-century Scottish variation of “grammar,” meaning a magic spell, because the occult was associated with learning; the magic spell eventually evolved into the idea of alluring charm, leading to our contemporary notion of glamour as a slightly supernatural force, an aura of beauty, sexiness and power that allows certain people, certain objects, to draw us in. 1 Glamour and grammar, sex and ideas — recently these two things have not been much connected. The puritanism of a lot of 60’s and 70’s radical art and politics banished glamour, seeing it as shallow, distracting and frivolous. Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel, Kiss of the Spider Woman tries to re-integrate radicalism and pleasure, ideas and sex, grammar and glamour — as an earnest, bearded Latin American Marxist, shares a cell with a gay window-dresser, who adores the over-the-top melodramas of the 40’s and 50’s. 2 A lot of art in the 90’s, like the work in Dark O’Clock, recognizes the need to turn away from the joyless, sexless daytime clarity of “sociological” art, toward a night-time dynamic of darkness, intrigue, desire and danger. Dark O’Clock artists don’t lose radical content; they use glamour to make me want it even more.
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