Canadian Art - - Spotlight -

Van­cou­ver artist Krista Belle Ste­wart’s works change and shift over time. “I don’t ever feel set­tled about a work,” she says. “I still have a stu­dio prac­tice, but my stu­dio is wher­ever I’m work­ing. It’s on my lap­top and in­side the in­sti­tu­tions I’m work­ing within.” Ste­wart reg­u­larly draws on ma­te­ri­als pulled from col­lec­tions and ar­chives that she re­frames and re-presents. Her work Seraphine: Her Own Story (2014), shown in dif­fer­ent it­er­a­tions at the Esker Foun­da­tion, Art­s­peak and Mercer Union, con­trasts a 1967 docu-drama about the artist’s mother pro­duced by the CBC with her mother’s 2013 tes­ti­mony for the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion. In dif­fer­ent pre­sen­ta­tions the some­times re-edited source ma­te­ri­als played in sep­a­rate rooms, on op­po­site walls of the same room, and side by side on the same wall—a strat­egy that, for Ste­wart, re­sponds to the space of the gallery while re­flect­ing her evolv­ing re­la­tion­ship with the ma­te­ri­als. Sim­i­larly, her in­stal­la­tion In­dian Artists At Work (2016), which re­pro­duces the ti­tle page of ethno­graphic photographer Ulli Steltzer’s book of the same ti­tle, im­bues the grey­monochrome orig­i­nal with colours in­spired by In­dige­nous Mod­ernists in wall works that re­peat the page in rig­or­ous grids of paint and vinyl. Re­cent show­ings of the work at Pre­sen­ta­tion House and the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery in­cluded col­lages and paint­ings by Leon Polk Smith bor­rowed from the VAG col­lec­tion, re­spond­ing to the colours in his works and, in the case of the VAG show, break­ing the grid to in­cor­po­rate the in­flu­ence of the past on a crit­i­cal present.

Krista Belle Ste­wart (with Ruth Scheuing) Sim – real / very 2015 Jac­quard weav­ing 1.2 x 2.4 m COUR­TESY THE NEW GALLERY PHOTO ASH­LEY BEDET

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