Critical Distance

DANCE OF GAIA: Angela Luvera
October 9 – November 7, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Tricia Wasney

“It is clear that polarities loom large in human thought. All cultures note and deal with such oppositions as night/day (or darkness/light), male/female, sky/earth, life/death, and a host of others… the attractiveness of dualistic thinking lies… in the solution it offers to the problem of ensuring an ordered relationship between antitheses that cannot be allowed to become antipathies. It is not so much that it offers order, for all systems of thought do that, but that it offers equilibrium. Dualistic theories create order by postulating a harmonious interaction of contradictory principles.”¹ Continue reading

Deep Brown Apathetic Scatology

THE BROWN SHOW: Scott Hadaller, Simon Hughes, Cathy Kuryk, Les Newman and Paul Robles
September 3 – September 26, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Blair Marten


Pre-linguistic universal truth ‘number one’: ‘Pinch a loaf’ too hard while defecating, and face the potential of a hemorrhoid-dappled event horizon.

Pre-linguistic universal truth ‘number two’: Give up and ‘go with the flow’, and meet the post-bathroom query “So, did everything come out all right?” with an affirmative response.
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Critical Distance

SHUDDER: Rita McKeough
August 7, 1998

a response to the exhibition Deirdre Logue and Kim Truchan

As performers in Rita McKeough’s work Shudder, we experience the work as both empathic participants and as physical bodies. We are simultaneously corporeal elements and emotional recipients, existing within the layers and cycles of the work. Although the piece is most specifically about the realities and implications of fear, the experience of Shudder is substantially more complex, giving rise to feelings of dissonance, containment, anxiety and despair. We are performing bodies on the precipice of articulation, on the edge of language, on the tip of the tongue – both consumed and set free.

In flight there is the promise of escape. Continue reading

Critical Distance

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST: Sharon Alward
July 20 – July 25, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Stephen Phelps

In St. John the Baptist performance/ installation artist Sharon Alward is a sight to behold. Framed by a columned portico, she’s seated on a revolving stool, bare-skinned except for a diaper, a halter and the outlandish, surpassing fancy of a pair of neon wings. Her illuminated figure, marble-like in the neon’s gentle glare, presents a picture of grave incandescence on its motorized perch – a bio-luminescent angel bought to earth and put on display. From the axial centre at the base of her spine to the outer radius of her knees, she makes a perfect dial, strikingly in sync with the motion of the gears. As the perambulating skull meets the overspill of an angled spotlight, we glimpse a violent splash of red on blonde – the telltale drippings of an overhead tap whose mouth delivers a steady trickle of ketchup directly onto the head, like a Chinese water torture. The dribbling paste beats a remorseless tattoo as it plops, slowly hardening into a gelatinous clot that encrusts the scalp like glue. Continue reading

Critical Distance

A Ferocious Longing: Connie Cohen
May 29 – June 27, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Joan Thomas

1: I dropped in at Ace Art before A Ferocious Longing opened, while Connie Cohen was still at work. Part of me said it was a mistake to s ee the installation in process (the part that knows art as a conjurer’s trick, and doesn’t want to see its inner workings). In fact, A Ferocious Longing had a meaning for me then that faded later.
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Critical Distance

HOT: Tanya Mars
May 14 – May 16, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Sheila Spence

Dressed in a floor-length black skirt and a lace vest, the artist, at a distance, appears formal and elegant. A closer look reveals a once conventionally beautiful woman with a full beard. Her fragile bones are on the outside. In the distance a voice repeats “Do you love me?”.
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Critical Distance

Light / Shadow / Dark: Ron Gorsline
April 9 – May 16, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Derek Brueckner

Why Paint?
I would like to start this with a disclaimer. I do not consider this tex to be the initial charge of a long and lucrative writing career, nor do I consider myself to be a historian, critic, critical writer or any kind of competent writer for that matter. I am grateful, however, that Ace Art has facilitated a situation where a visual artist and studio teacher (or at least that is how I position myself) can have his say or little rant. Partly due to selfishness, I wish to emphasize some issues of painting that desperately need to be brought into focus, and it seems, after having taped an interview with Gorsline at Ace Art, that these issues are important to him as well. Also, Jennifer Woodbury has generously volunteered to write regarding the work in Light / Shadow / Dark and, I suspect, will do a far better job in ters of insight into the meaning of Gorsline’s paintings than I ever could. So here it goes!
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Critical Distance

Literally: Kelly Mark
March 6 – March 29, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Cliff Eyland

I have known Kelly Mark for a few years. Not so long ago, she ran the bar at an alternative gallery in Halifax called the Khyber, which was once as famous for its raves as its parallel art programming. The Khyber keeps up its alternative art credentials, but its bar is licensed now, and Mark has moved back to Hamilton. Meanwhile, her career has taken off: she is now represented by Toronto’s Wynick/Tuck Gallery; she will join a few other Canadian artists in the next Sydney Biennial; and she has just had a solo show at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
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Critical Distance

Flashpoint: Helene Dyck
February 27 – April 4, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Erika MacPherson

chapter one I STEP INTO THE GALLERY
a quick survey. i’m in the reception area. it’s dark. in the background a warm pool of light spills onto a lone narrow shelf. two books on the shelf catch the light. they stand upright. they’re static but windblown, the bottoms of the pages pulling up, weathered. the hinged plywood covers of the book reminiscent of doors, a coffin, a cupboard, the proportions of a human body. i hinge open the doors of the book to the vellum paged rooms inside. the images are sensuous, soft photographic studies; tree bark, mattress, a faintly blurred image of a girl running in the grass… a personal archive, a photographic diary. images to trigger some memory, something that words can’t quite remember, like the smell of your grandmother’s house year after year always taking you back to your childhood. as with most books there is a dedication: for jake flashpoint, the bookwork.
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Critical Distance

Exhalt Fax and Other Techno Sirens: Aurora Landin
January 16 – February 21, 1998

a response to the exhibition by Susan Turner

Even the title of Aurora Landin’s exhibition is arresting: “exalt”, implying wonder, religiosity, awe, and praise; “fax”, possibly a Latin word from the past and, therefore, distanced from us, but no – it’s “fax”, the abbreviation for “facsimile”, an exact replica of an original, but of lesser quality – not as valuable or durable; not as precious. Machine-made, accessible, dispensable. FAX. Something quick, technological; but then equally as quickly, from the digitally altered, computer generated print at the entrance to the exhibition, I infer that a joke is also implied. A toy store with the name EXALT and which offers FAX services is on the route that Landin takes to the University of Manitoba where she teaches printmaking; window signage has placed the two words in humourously inappropriate syntactical contiguity.
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