Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pictures From Her(e)

On Tuesday I walked through the VAG's Pictures From Here exhibition. Although I was aware in advance of the artists included in the show, one never knows what one will see until one steps inside.

On that note, hanging outside the VAG's south face is an exhibition banner that uses Rodney Graham's Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour (2012-2013) not as the triptych it is, but the image therein. Could the VAG not have made a three-part banner consistent with the artist's work instead of simply displaying the image the artist worked with?

Something else that bothered me is Paul Wong's Vigil 5.4 (2010). This is the last work in the show (if one proceeds clock-wise), and employs video documentation Paul shot of Rebecca Belmore's 2002 Vigil performance at the Talking Stick Festival (Full Circle First Nations Performance), footage that Rebecca projected in its entirety onto a surface of lightbulbs as a subsequent work entitled The Named and the Unnamed (2002).

Now I know there is nothing wrong with an artist making work from the work of other artists, but there is something troubling about what Paul has made of Rebecca's performance documentation. While I have no doubt that Paul is supportive of Rebecca and her intentions, the means by which he expresses his support does not critique/transcend the gaze that contributes to the conditions that allow women to "go" missing or "get" murdered.

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