KRISTA BELLE STEWART
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