Two artists combine talents to show off offbeat fantasy worlds
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 03:15 pm
Works by Alysse Bowd and Wanda Lock
Opening reception tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m. during last ArtWalk event of the season
Artists will be in attendance.
Show runs until Saturday, Sept. 28
Art Gallery of St. Albert
19 Perron Street
Call 780-460-4310 or visit www.artgalleryofstalbert.com for more information.
Some people like to tell stories around dinner tables. Alysse Bowd is about to one-up that tradition. She has a story to tell with her ceramic art. It’s not a story you’re likely to forget, especially after you approach her table, complete with place settings out of her very fertile imagination.
The spread of delicate dishes and cutlery – all ceramic still – look like the daintiest utensils anywhere, kind of like a china tea party set, all done up in buttery light pastel colours. Get a good look at the forks, knives and spoons. They aren’t forks, knives and spoons like you’ve ever seen before. It’s all part of her Children should be heard but not seen series. That’s a phrase that you don’t often hear parents say.
The story, well, that’s something else too.
“It all has to do with a father who lives in a town where they only eat noise,” Bowd began. “They consume noise and then they can eat more of it. He has 12 kids and for one part of the day, he tells his children that they can only be heard. They cannot be seen.”
The children hide under the table while the father has his tea. Yes, there’s a table for the full display like someone’s expecting dinner. The chandelier overhead is made of bells.
“He’s up in here,” Bowd continued, gesturing to the tabletop, “in a land that doesn’t exist with the kids but he can hear them making all this rambunctious noise. On their table they’ll have things like hammers and mallets so they can strike the bells and make as much noise as possible.”
The best part: she said that she does not discourage gallery guests from either touching or picking up the objects. They look dainty but the stoneware is quite sturdy, and utilitarian. She said that she’s hoping to tear down a bit of the taboo of art and hopes that visitors to the exhibit won’t feel that they have to wait until no one’s looking before picking up the pieces for themselves.
They’re all foodsafe too, she assured. Frequent patrons will recognize her delightful dishes and other works from the gallery’s gift shop.
After opening night, she’s off to another opening in Ontario before she moves on to Ólafsfirđi, Iceland to do a six-week stint with the Listhus Residency Program.
Unlike your parents’ Dick and Jane stories
British Columbia artist Wanda Lock has the flip side of the Tall Tales coin. She’s bringing in a new series of mixed media works on paper. They should have elements that should strike many people as familiar but those elements are somewhat out of place or out of context.
She’s been using the Dick and Jane characters (from the popular culture children’s learning book series) for several years now.
“I was using them more as a metaphor for events that were happening,” she said. “They’re about relationships and life and things like that.”
The drawings as she calls them are about people and events in her own home community. She doesn’t want to actually use pictures of real people so Dick and Jane make the most appropriate substitutes for her purposes.
“They become the personae for the people that I’m drawing about. And because they’re generic, they’re pop culture, they could be about anybody at any time. The work is all about the human condition and what we go through.”
Her pieces show these recognizable characters with various embellishments and new situations. Some might have extra long nightcap type headwear or have enlarged balloon heads with pasted on bobble eyes. They might be standing on multiple monochromatic lines or simply set against rather childishly coloured in backgrounds.
Sometimes she even adds in phrases that seem to utilize the same kind of cut up technique as the images themselves. One such work starts to read “Spot Helps Mother” in the typical Dick and Jane font before it abruptly switches to a larger and more dramatic font that finishes the sentence “Find A Portal To Another Universe Where Boom Bands Are Playing.”
The effect is a little more obscure than that of Bowd’s collection but it should still be esoteric and playful enough to keep audiences enthralled.