Julia Feyrer: Background Actors

Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, BC -

By Michael Turner
Among the highlights of Vancouver’s 2009 exhibition season was the debut of Julia Feyrer’s nine-minute film The Poodle Dog Ornamental Bar (2009) at Artspeak. Inspired by a photo of an 1890s cedar bark bar in Vancouver’s downtown, Feyrer and friends built a facsimile behind a rental house in Mount Pleasant’s Tea Swamp. Although designed as a set for her narrative script, the bar quickly took on a life of its own. The greater that life, the less interested Feyrer became in her script’s narrative.
In her four-minute film New Pedestrians (2018), Feyrer has focused on the inadvertent role that background actors play – not as “extras” but as ghostly figures in the liminal space between the animate (human being) and the inanimate (prop). As in Poodle Dog, where the fi nished fi lm had the narrative removed and its actors effectively reassigned from foreground to background, Feyrer has extended this reassignment to her current exhibition, where the gallery performs the role of set and her artworks “behave” not simply as sculptures, but also as props.
Between Poodle Dog and New Pedestrians, Feyrer made a number of works that explore the relationship between fi lmmaking and sculpture, as a solo artist and in collaboration with Tamara Henderson. The Last Waves (2016) at the Belkin Gallery was a recent joint effort. It was the fi nal stop in a three-city exhibition that had as its centrepiece a bar that was, in its fi rst iteration, made of stacked newspapers, and, at its fi nal stop, bricks in the shape of a long-lost home.

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