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Skawennati, TimeTraveller™

Skawennati, TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), video still [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, May 30-Aug 8]

Spirit Gum

Nanaimo Art Gallery
Nanaimo BC – May 30-Aug 8, 2015

Gilbert & George, The Singing Sculpture

Gilbert & GeorgeThe Singing Sculpture (1992), video still [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, May 30-Aug 8] Filmed by Phillip Haas

Claude Cahun, Untitled (Self Portrait)

Claude CahunUntitled (Self Portrait) (1929), silver gelatin print [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, May 30-Aug 8]

Those familiar with the world of theatre and stagecraft will know spirit gum as an adhesive used to attach wigs, false moustaches and pasties to human tissue. Composed of alcoholic solvent (“spirit”) and resin (“gum”), this at times toxic compound provides NAG curator Jesse Birch and curatorial intern Kara Hansen with a departure point for a group exhibition where “objects are not only adhered to bodies, but also inspirited with character.”

Like those of Birch’s more recent exhibitions, contributions to Spirit Gum come from past and present, hither and yon. Contributors from the past include gender-bending, photo-based French artist Claude Cahun (1894–1954), whose time-less self-portraits continue to startle and inspire. Another is former Nanaimo mayor, Frank Ney (1918–1992), a controversial figure who routinely attended civic events dressed as a sword-swinging pirate.

While much of the exhibition is given over to younger West Coast practitioners such as Mike Bourscheid, Katie Lyle, Elizabeth Milton and Krista Belle Stewart, highlights include the work of senior Vancouver multimedia artist Carole Itter and long-time East London-based performance duo Gilbert & George.

Michael Turner


 Mon, Jun 8, 2015