Friday, August 20, 2010

The Post-Mort

During my theatre years, 'post-mortem' referred to the critical examination made by the technical support team after a performance was struck. In this instance there is only myself to evaluate the relative success of the project - to deem if changes or improvements are required or whether the endeavour should be laid to rest.

For now the project will remain dormant (although posts will continue to sporadically surface on the blog site) and the only task remaining is to mention and thank many people for their very meaningful contributions. The list of people involved in one way or another is extensive so forgive me if I have overlooked you (my memory doesn't always operate at full capacity) but please, remind me of my oversight.

I want to give thanks to Daniel, Glenda, Beka, Janine and all of the staff at Profiles Gallery for providing much more than a venue in which to exhibit.

Thanks to Deanna, my friend and co-exhibitor. Let's do it again sometime!

Thank you to the community of art-goers who visited the show while it was up including my friends, family, and even the mayor of St. Albert.

I want to express gratitude to Dawn, Sharon, Rick, Brenda Kim, Marjan, and the many 'anonymous' people who sat with me during my twelve hours of silence to share stories, anecdotes, actual articles of clothing and just general musings - the blushing young woman with the backpack, the retired Canadian Forces officer, the lovely middle-aged woman in chartreuse, the PhD candidate from New Zealand researching oral storytelling traditions, the young Asian woman who shared her apron story, the Doukhobor woman who shared with me a part of her culture, the woman who fed me a fresh market berry, and the couple who stopped to reminisce about their elder name a few.

Special thanks to the people in my own corner of the world who contributed articles of clothing and stories so that I could hang it all out on a line for the rest of the world to see - Connie, Bob, Don, Carol, Larissa, Lori, Murray, Lorna, Don, Polly, Charity, Enerys, Christina and Dorothy.

To my young models, Brienne and Jessie - thank you!

And to Liz, my make-up artist (Aria Studios), and Rianna my hairdresser (Deor Hair Studio) thank you for helping me with the 'look'.

For Beth, Brenda Kim, Glenda, and Lisa, a very heartfelt thanks for your presence and participation in the workshop.

Thanks also to those who took time to write comments on the blog site - Ken, Natalie, Paula, Jan, Stephen, Joann, and Yan). Daniel perused the site frequently over the duration of the show and printed out the pages so that visitors to the gallery could also read them.

For a brief period of time we were all spun into this marvelously unique yet common thread. Thank you - everyone - for being part of the project and helping to create a space for storytelling to emerge.

After Hours

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.


Friday, July 30, 2010

The Empress' Clothing

My writing fell by the wayside this week as I spent my time saying goodbye to a friend.

It wasn't as 'cut and dried' as the goodbye one would spit out at the end of a casual phone conversation but that final kind...the one that takes days to pour out and pulls your thoughts from the here and now into the " I remember when..."

I was twelve when I attended my first funeral. I skipped school with my best friend at the time, Jessie, and we attended the service held for Mrs. Poon.

Mrs. Poon, together with her husband, ran the neighbourhood corner store and any of us kids who spent more time than money hovering over the candy section would soon realize she had eyes in the back of her head.

We had difficulty understanding everything Mrs. Poon said at times because she came from somewhere else. There wasn't a day (until the end) that we didn't see her sitting high on her stool behind the confection counter. She always greeted us; she would smile, and we liked her.

My last memory of Mrs. Poon never seems right. I am looking down at her instead of the other way around. She isn't wearing the indiscriminate relaxed clothing we came to associate her with. Instead she wears a formal, iridescent turquoise gown. It is the most beautiful blue-green I can ever recall seeing and the way it shimmers reminds me of the way sunlight must sparkle on faraway oceans, in tropical lands - lands that remind me that Mrs. Poon comes from somewhere very far away, somewhere picturesque and serene, lands in stunning contrast to the neighbourhood where the two of us have come to spend some brief time together.

When I think of Mrs. Poon to this day (and I do still think of her), I think of her dressed as a queen. I think of her embarking on a majestic voyage, returning home perhaps, to family and friends who have been eager to embrace her and to know all there is to know about the foreign land she visited.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Power of Silence

Today I want to leave you with a quote from Rita McKeough, an artist whom I admire.

"As soon as you stop the chaos, you experience the subversive power of silence. Dialogue and listening are politically and socially the most powerful tools for change."

I invite response, as always.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Im)Pulse - A Workshop in Performance Art

(Im)Pulse is a 3-hour workshop designed for individuals interested in knowing more about aspects of Performance Art and learning to think about the body in art as 'the medium'.

Through experiential activity, gesture, play, and interpretation, participants will consider the practice of art-making within a public setting and the presence of both artist and viewer as vital elements of the work.

July 22nd, 2010 from 6 to 9 PM (Registration Required) Profiles Public Art Gallery, 19 Perron Street, St. Albert, AB. Phone (780) 460-9537 for further details.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

West - Monday through Friday

The photographs were based on the plight of a western prairie woman who finds herself in an unfamiliar landscape of banal and seemingly endless days and spends a lifetime trying to forge out an identity, silently praying her daughters don't follow a similar path.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Following Subject Matter May Not Be Suitable for all Viewers

Mother, may I go out to swim?

Yes, my darling daughter.

Hang your clothes on a hickory limb

But don't go near the water.

This of all verses sums up best the inconsistency of messages I received as a youngster. It also makes me wonder about the countless other 'mixed messages' that as an adult I feel bombarded with daily.

It's true that a number of cities and municipalities have bylaws outlawing the use of outdoor clotheslines. Many of these same communities urge us to be responsible citizens by being conscientious consumers of energy and resources.

Although using a clothesline saves money, energy, and helps our laundry to smell fresher, keeps our whites whiter (thereby eliminating the need to use harsh detergents and bleaches), and helps our clothes to last longer and show less wear, aesthetically it doesn't have the same appeal as an architecturally manicured backyard consisting of 2.5 trees, a barbecue and a patio umbrella.

One of my neighbours has three vehicles parked in back that he has ignominiously stripped for parts but somehow that doesn't offend the bylaw officers as much as my hanging laundry on a clothesline does.

To get around the bylaw, I've just done away with the clothesline entirely. I counted four houses on my block today that still have Christmas lights hanging from eaves and trees, and one even has a sadly deflated Santa mercilessly slumped over a fence, so I see no problem hanging my delicate unmentionables from the branches of my caragana hedge. In my opinion, it's a welcome sight to see the fruits of my labour and know that the fresh outdoor air is a far healthier alternative to chemically-scented drier sheets (another entirely unnecessary 'item for consumption' conceived by business magnates seeking higher market shares).

I'm sure if Miss Amy Vanderbilt was alive today she would agree, "It certainly has our attention."