31 August 2009


Inspiration happens before we notice it. Have you ever stood before a finished work of art and found yourself less interested in the polished artifact in front of you than the various steps in the process required to get there? How many iterations are born and discarded before this final completed piece is ready to be displayed? Some would say, the discarded bones of a fish or the stock for a bouillabaisse, what’s the difference?

Typically, at one end of the creative process there is a disconnected pile of widgets while at the other end there is a shimmering artifact basking in the muted glow of halogen lights. But what we are interested in is the steps in between. The Maquettes project suspends the end to end process so that the rough sketches and models become the de facto finished product.

Here’s another way of looking at things: One sketch says hello to another sketch and just like that a rough draft is born. It’s in this place where we’ve decided to pause for a moment. We don’t stop here because we have some innate desire to illustrate the various steps in the art-making process; rather we want to ascribe a value to inspiration and spontaneity. That is to say, freshness and energy rather than polish and luster. Isotopes and polymers rather than mass-produced objects. Spindle and bobbin rather than glass display cases. Windowsills rather than free trade economic zones.

We’ve decided to linger in between these spaces, in the hopes of capturing the moment before the moment that art “happens”. Won’t you step in and join us?

- Craig Foltz

30 August 2009

Tonic Collective - Depot Artspace Show

Introducing the Tonic Collective .

Tonic describe themselves as "emerging contemporary jewellery and object artists whose diverse practices are continually pushing boundaries." All students from MSVA, they are Cath Dearsley, Nadene Carr, Paula Thornburrow, and Sarah Walker-Holt.

Tonic's inaugural exhibition is running at the Small Dog Gallery in the Depot Artspace from August 22nd – September 3rd. This is a lovely show in a great space. Now that the group has this accomplishment under their belts I hope that they go onto push more of those boundaries.

29 August 2009

Imagine yourself in a plane of flaxy grass swimming...

New writing by Craig Foltz here.

by three methods we may learn wisdom.
first, by reflection, which is the noblest;
second, by imitation, which is the easiest;
and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
- Confucius

25 August 2009

Wow, Mr Douglas

"Hallelujah! The might and the power of the people is beginning to show." Emory Douglas
See his work here.

I had the privilege to see the Emory Douglas talk last night. If you haven't seen the exhibition at Gus Fisher it is a must see.
21 August 2009 to 3 October 2009

23 August 2009

you can take the girl out of the rust belt, but....

ball chain series 09

My New Favourite Brooch project

Zoe Brand

I love a good brooch project, especially when it evolves over time via a blog.
Zoe Brand's 365 Broochs does just that one day at a time.
Check it out here.
She has even invited comments on the project. I cannot wait to see where she goes.

22 August 2009

sweet asylum

It doesn't seem to mater which continent I am on. There is an old asylum looming large.
Old State Hospital, Traverse City, MI


10 August 2009

something carried, something found

Home Is Where Your Vinyl Is

Or is it the workbench?
I always get that one mixed up.
Both of mine are currently in different hemispheres explaining the dichotomy that is my head.

Where ever you are, you should treat yourself to a vinyl copy of “Dark was the Night” an Red Hot Benefit Compilation on the 4AD label. Side 2 of 6 is just divine and is keeping me from missing that old workbench too much.
Thanks to the sweet sounds of The National, Yeasayer, My Brightest Diamond, Kronos Quartet, Antony + Bryce Dessner, Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner


The other treat we picked up recently was Michah P. Hinson off of the Folk Off compilation. You can see what I mean about that Yard of Blonde Girls via YouTube.

09 August 2009

If I could be on the other side of the world, this is where I would be today: Blue House

Claire Bishop's Situations is behind this group. I first came across her in response to Nicolas Bourriaud in October 2004. Here is what I have to say about that.

In her essay, "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics"* Claire Bishop critiques and responds to Bourraid’s book Relational Aesthetics. Her main point is that Bourriaud focuses on artists that use "feel good" relationships. There are many artists that she highlights who create tension to highlight relationships and political situations. Bishop acknowledges the use of relations as a form employed in contemporary art, but calls for further criteria for critique. She highlights the fact that you do not need to have happy relationships to have a good work of relational art. She also questions the curator/critic role where the curator then writes about the work of the artist he shows, calling the curator the star.

I like her arguements here. She has a book called "Studio to Situation" where she developes these ideas further.

*Bishop, Claire. "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics." October (Fall 2004, No. 110): 51-79

Once apon a time there was a little book called Relational Aesthetics

Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Paris: la presses du réel, 2002.

In Relational Aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud establishes a way of looking at participatory arts. He commented that “art is a state of encounter” (p18). Bourriaud also argued that the “exhibition will give rise to a specific ‘arena of exchange’”, which “must be judged on the basis of aesthetic criteria… by analyzing the coherence of its form and then the symbolic value of the “world” it suggests to us and of the image of human relations reflected by it.” (p18)

But does Bourriaud go far enough with these questions? Are the above criterion the best way to judge these works?

Bourriaud suggests that the relationship has become the new form. “Producing a form is to invent possible encounters receiving a form is to create the conditions for an exchange...” (p 23)

I like this idea and would like to explore it further. I am not sure that I am convinced that the arguments Bourriaud expressed are exemplified by the artists he discusses.

This is just a reflection on the first chapter. The tip of the iceberg. There are so many ideas in this book. I am intrigued by the cascade of counter arguments it has produced. I need to return to its feisty pages.

06 August 2009

my faux bookclub - the wrong place

Kwon, Miwon. “The Wrong Place”. Contemporary Art: From Studio to Situation. Ed. Claire Doherty. London: Black Dog Publishing. 2004 p. 31 – 41

In her essay, The Wrong Place, Miwon Kwon examines right and wrong place and the ideas of each. Using two projects, “Don DeLillio’s play Valparaiso and Fredrick Jameson’s telling ‘of a deliriously confounding spatial experience at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.”(p34) “One could argue that throughout the twentieth century, the history of avant-garde or ‘advanced’ or ‘critical’ art practices can be described as the persistence of a desire to situate art in ‘improper’ or ‘wrong’ places. That is, the avant-garde struggle has in part been a kind of spatial politics, to pressure the definition and legitimation of art by locating it elsewhere, in places other than where it ‘belongs’.”(p40-41)

I like the idea of wrong place being ‘right’ or opening the avenues for self-realization as was the case in the DeLillio play. Putting jewellery in the ‘right place’ on the body, in public has somehow become wrong in the contemporary jewellery world. But large social overtures are also a current fad, literally taking the jewellery bench into the street. I am looking for a happy medium of wearing and experiencing with other people involved.