Pain Shall Be No More
gallerywest, July 4-27 2012
In the future, there will be a mood brightening drug so effective that it will be administered to everyone at birth. The short-sighted medical industry, eager to cash in, will put it on the market before they realise its long term effects. The pill will completely eliminate ambition and remorse. Over the course of the following years, the human race will expire. There will be orgies of recreational drugs and murder, attended by the most unlikely citizens. The filthy will mix with the clean. Children, abandoned by their heedless parents, will laugh themselves to death. Then there will be peace on earth.
Later, you and I will be reincarnated as a pair of deer, a stag and a doe. We will make our way back to our home. We will nose through the ruins of this old house, which will be cracked and overgrown, and eat the tender lettuces that still grow, miraculously, in what used to be our garden.
Cooper Battersby (b. 1971, Penticton, British Columbia) and Emily Vey Duke (b. 1972, Halifax, Nova Scotia) have been working collaboratively since 1994. They work in printed matter, critical writing, and curation, but their focus is sculptural video installation. They were shortlisted for the 2010 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s most prestigious award for artists under forty. Their work has been exhibited in galleries and at festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe, including the Brooklyn Art Museum, the Power Plant, the Walker Arts Center, the Banff Centre, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, yyz, the New York Video Festival, the European Media Arts Festival, Impakt, and the Images Festival. They have enjoyed fifteen solo gallery exhibitions and five international retrospectives. In 2011 they were the spotlight artists at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
The Globe and Mail’s RM Vaughan described their oeuvre as follows: “[Duke and Battersby’s] works employ a type of educated rawness that celebrates the perverse, and the roughly crafted, but is nevertheless highly articulate and archly considered.” Their video work has won the top prize at festivals in Ann Arbor and Chicago, as well as receiving awards in New York, Zurich and Hamburg. They have been broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Bravo. It has been collected by more than a dozen university libraries, including Harvard and Princeton. They are represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects. Duke and Battersby each received master’s degrees in Fine Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago and are currently teaching at Syracuse University. They divide their time between Lafayette, New York, and Beach Meadows, Nova Scotia.
A Branch Is Too Big To Come Out Of A Twig
gallerywest, June 7-29 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, June 7 from 7-10pm
In March, 2012, the Saskatchewan-based artist collective Turner Prize* visited artist Steve Reinkein his Chicago studio in order to extract texts from his subconscious. Reinke participated in three mechanically-assisted dream simulation sessions, wherein he described scenarios, thoughts, and images with Turner Prize*. Images and scenes evoking Reinke’s visions were enacted for video and photography, which in turn were edited and/or modified by Reinke.
The resulting body of work, A Branch is Too Big to Come Out of a Twig, is a collaborative exploration of the transformative act of interpretation, a reenactment of the creative process, a self-indulgent daydream, and an exercise in automatic writing diluted through long-distance exchange. In short, it is a fairly inaccurate portrait of Reinke’s subconscious.
As the entity Turner Prize*, artists Jason Cawood, Blair Fornwald and John G. Hampton explore the mysterious, social and translative properties of the “creative act.” Using performative photography, sound manipulation, and live interactions, their recent work explores the intangibility of dreams and ideas through their origin (dreamers and artists) and their destination (images and writings). It is the interstices, the shifts and intangible spaces between ideas and representations, which motivate their practice. Their investigations into this liminal space utilize the language of Jungian dream analysis and interpretation, ritual and magick, and appropriate the aesthetics of mid-century pop psychology and psychedelia. Recent performances and exhibitions include: Invocation of the Hidden Secret (Open Space, Victoria, LIVE Biennial, Vancouver and Latitude 53, Edmonton 2011 and Queer City Cinema, Regina 2010), Mind the Gap! (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2011 and Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina 2009), Summer of Dreams (Videopool, Winnipeg 2009), in//stall (Lane Level Projects, Regina 2008), and Infinite Exchange Gallery (ZERO1 Biennial, San Jose, 2008).
Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his single channel videos, which have been screened, exhibited and collected worldwide. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Guelph and York University, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from NSCAD University. The Hundred Videos — Mr. Reinke’s work as a young artist — was completed in 1996, several years ahead of schedule. Since then he has completed many short single channel works and has had several solo exhibitions/screenings, in various venues such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), The Power Plant (Toronto), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Argos Festival (Brussels), Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Tate (London).
His tapes typically have diaristic or collage formats, and his autobiographical voice-overs share his desires and pop culture appraisals with endearing wit. His fertile brain and restless energy have led to a prolific output: Reinke’s ambitious project The Hundred Videos (1989-1996), which runs about five hours, appeared first in a VHS video-cassette compilation, then was released as a triple DVD set by Art Metropole in Toronto in 2007. His double DVD set My Rectum is not a Grave (Notes to a Film Industry in Crisis), also from Art Metropole, 2007, includes fourteen titles dating from 1997 to 2006.
Mr. Reinke’s video work is an extension of literature, focusing on the voice and performance. His video essays often feature first-person monologues in an ironic/satiric mode. Where earlier work was often concerned with an interrogation of desire and subjectivity, more recent work, collected under the umbrella of Final Thoughts, concerns the limits of things: discourse, experience, events, thought. His single channel work is distributed in Canada by Vtape and he is represented by Birch Libralato Gallery in Toronto.
He is currently associate professor of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. In the 1990’s he produced a book of his scripts, Everybody Loves Nothing: Scripts 1997 – 2005, which was published by Coach House (Toronto). He has also co-edited several books, including By the Skin of Their Tongues: Artist Video Scripts (co-edited with Nelson Henricks, 1997), Lux: A Decade of Artists’ Film and Video (with Tom Taylor, 2000), and The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema (with Chris Gehman, 2005).
In awarding the Bell Canada prize for Video Art to Steve Reinke, the assessment committee said: “Steve Reinke is one of the most influential artists currently working in video. With the first installments of The Hundred Videos in the early 1990’s he led a generation away from the studio into a new conceptual fiction. But Mr. Reinke’s contribution goes beyond his important tapes, he is a committed teacher and he has edited and co-edited several important media arts anthologies.”