Vibrant photos from industrial zones
Pop-up gallery at Jackson Power presents impressive group exhibit
Telepathic Eye and the Aesthetic Voice Where: The Works Gallery at Jackson Power (9754 60th Ave.) When: 12 p.m. -4:30 p.m. through May 2, closed Sundays Admission: free
Justin Wayne Shaw has a freaky notion of how to spend his vacation: photographing distant industrial parks. “Some people go to the beach,” he jokes. “I choose to go places that look exactly like 34th Street.”
For the past few years, the artist has hit the highway to visit refinery rows all the way down to Texas, gathering material for his gorgeous, monochrome photo collages, shiny and gigantic monuments to the continental juice.
“No one is doing anything like it in the city,” fellow artist Tim Rechner stresses. But the work actually, appropriately, shares the idealistic, automobile-loving visual language of the wallpaper at A & Ws. Minus the Root Bear, of course, and packed with symbolism of a darker consumption.
“They aim to sardonically reference some of the things about our province I find ridiculous, amazing or absurd,” explains Shaw.
He crushes together found source material — including from a 1967 Edmonton Journal — with pictures he takes every time he’s on the road.
Also known for his drawings of squished-together skyscrapers — you can see his mural of these from the east window of Tiramisu on 124th Street — Shaw’s work demonstrates a precise visual language, which sings of mankind’s relentless extraction of resources and claustrophobia-inducing expansion into every corner.
Various personal visual languages are the point of a group exhibition he and six other Edmonton artists share, called Telepathic Eye and the Aesthetic Voice, up at the pop-up gallery in the industrial parklands at Jackson Power (9754 60th Ave) through May 2. The electrical sales and fabrication company has now hosted five shows in partnership with The Works.
Curator Rechner, summoned by The Works to pull the artists together, speaks about them, starting with Shaw’s work. “I find them so vibrant, there’s so much to look at.”
Rechner notes of Jason Dublanko: “His work is full of weird creatures and walks the line between abstraction and realism. Lots of cartoons and monsters.” With shades of Toronto artist Tony Baker, Dublanko’s bright drawings are the ones kids would run to first.
Rechner talks about the show’s largest, oldest works. “Will Truchon made these (foam sculptures) in 1995 at Ohio State University. They were altered in 2000, and again for this show. They’re 20 years old in a sense, and it really brought the show together.”
The most magical art here is by Lisa Rezansoff, especially her matronly bird. “I’ve been a fan of hers for many years,” says the curator. “Her stuff is so eye-catching and beautiful, very stylistic, one of a kind.”
There are also gorgeous prints, drawings on photos by Monica Pitre. “I just really like the sensibility, these sort of imaginary force fields that overlap imagery. She’s got a delicate touch.”
Filmed with a high-res, high-speed Phantom camera, aAron Munson’s film at the show is called One Hundred Attempts to Make a Film About Depression. “That’s in reference to the fact I’ve been working on it for three years. I don’t think it likes me,” Munson laughs in the dark at the opening. “And I don’t like it.
“But at least there’s something to show.”
Slowly, the camera pans across nearly frozen strangers shot candidly on Edmonton streets at 1,500 frames a second. It’s an explosion of vulnerability in black and white and the effect is heartbreaking.
“AAron Munson is one of the best filmmakers in Edmonton, definitely underappreciated,” says Rechner.
Finally, the curator explains his own room, covered floor to ceiling with his kinetic drawings, connected by yarn like an old Mad Magazine poster pullout. “I’m experimenting with drawings as an installation. I used yarn as an extension of the lines in the drawings, hoping it reads as one big dynamic energized piece.”
The whole show reads as just that — it’s an impressively cohesive success overall.