Win­nipeg Art Gallery: Boarder X

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS - Jenny West­ern

Boarder X is the first ex­hi­bi­tion of its kind to bring to­gether the work of Inuit, First Na­tions and Métis artists who also surf, skate or snow­board, and it is a prodi­gious block­buster.

The open­ing alone saw 900 peo­ple cross the thresh­old of the Win­nipeg Art Gallery.

The show has also proven to be an im­por­tant ges­ture for an in­sti­tu­tion well known for its pro­mo­tion of Inuit art yet of­ten viewed crit­i­cally for its lack of sup­port for First Na­tions and Métis art—al­though it should be noted that the WAG re­cently launched an im­pres­sive In­dige­nous Ad­vi­sory Cir­cle.

The ex­hi­bi­tion show­cases six artists who share an affin­ity with board cul­ture, cre­at­ing small mo­ments of in­ter­play through their as­sem­bled dis­play. The vi­brant colours and move­ment of Roger Crait’s large-scale oil paint­ing Bab­ble on Baby­lon, Ba­bel on (2003) stand in con­trast to Ma­son Mashon’s mas­sive pho­to­graph cap­tur­ing a snow­boarder dwarfed by the majesty of a snowy moun­tain scene. Mashon’s The Cedar Shaka (2016) is a hand-carved, red cedar pow­der surf­board, cre­ated with as­sis­tance from Meghann O’Brien, whose Sky Blan­ket (2014) and Clouds (2014) make use of moun­tain goat wool. Steven Thomas Davies, Mark Iglo­liorte and Jor­dan Ben­nett each in­cor­po­rate film/ video within their works, medi­ums that have long been as­so­ci­ated with board cul­ture doc­u­men­ta­tion. Iglo­liorte’s film Kayak - Skate­board - Flip - Roll (2016) and ac­com­pa­ny­ing mod­i­fied skate­board My Yellow Aqua­naut 17´ 7˝ (2016) com­pare the sim­i­lar ro­ta­tional move­ments be­tween a skate­board kick­flip and a kayak Eskimo roll.1 Ben­nett’s cir­cu­lar wall pieces re­sem­ble ex­ag­ger­ated medal­lions, fit­ting com­fort­ably be­side Les Ram­sey’s eclec­tic fab­ric col­lages.

One of the most com­pelling as­pects of Boarder X is the way it deftly nav­i­gates its po­si­tion within the in­sti­tu­tion to cre­ate a plat­form much larger and far reach­ing than it­self. Guided tours, a small film fes­ti­val, an artist roundtable, a mul­ti­me­dia blog and, per­haps most thrilling of all, a tem­po­rary but to­tally le­git half-pipe, built in the mid­dle of the WAG’s for­mi­da­ble Eck­hardt Hall. The skate ramp, along with a floor mu­ral col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Mike Val­court, Kenneth Lavallee and Peter Thomas and a grind box in the shape of the WAG, has be­come some­what of a fo­cal point for Boarder X.

The ramp’s pres­ence suc­cess­fully cap­tured the sub­ver­sive en­ergy of the show by dis­rupt­ing the hushed de­meanour of gallery pro­to­col; al­though, one is left won­der­ing why the ramp or mu­ral were not in­cluded as part of the ex­hi­bi­tion it­self.

As the brain­child of the Win­nipeg Art Gallery’s Cu­ra­tor of In­dige­nous and Con­tem­po­rary Art Jaimie Isaac, Boarder X is a strong early ex­hi­bi­tion from a cu­ra­tor with a bright path ahead. It is also a his­toric mo­ment for the in­clu­sion of In­dige­nous art in Win­nipeg and a turn­ing point for the WAG as an in­sti­tu­tion, one that can­not and should not be backpedall­ed on.

The ex­hi­bi­tion show­cases six artists who share an affin­ity with board cul­ture, cre­at­ing small mo­ments of in­ter­play.

Jor­dan Ben­nett Dou­bleWalqu’n 2016 Acrylic paint on carved yellow cedar 71.1 cm (diam.) All Pho­tos Ernest Mayer Op­po­site In­stal­la­tion of Boarder X at the Win­nipeg Art Gallery, 2017

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.