Friday, July 28, 2017

Ceramics technician Doug Bamford says so long to NSCAD after 23 years

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 2:29 PM


Doug Bamford, the WORKS
Opens Monday, July 31 at 5:30pm
Runs to August 5
Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1891 Granville Street
Retirement party to follow at 7pm at Art Bar + Projects, 1873 Granville Street

Beloved NSCAD ceramics technician Doug Bamford is closing the chapter on 23 years at the college with a goodbye exhibition at the Anna Leonowens Gallery and a retirement party at Art Bar + Projects at 7pm on Monday, July 31. the WORKS, opening July 31 at 5:30pm and running to August 5, served as a great excuse for Bamford to finish up some projects he'd been puttering on. "[Anna Leonowens Gallery director] Melanie Colosimo asked me if I wanted to have a retirement exhibition and I jokingly said 'you mean an exit-bition? You're darn tootin' I do.' I had a bunch of half finished work and a bunch of new ideas and I wanted to put the jumper cables on them and make it happen fast," says Bamford. "They're all pieces you could say I’ve been working on for 20 odd years but they're all coming to completion at the same time. And there’s some brand new work too."

In 23 years, Bamford became an essential part of the NSCAD experience. With his retirement, he hopes to allow a changing of the guard. "Of course the students were all crying, mourning, weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth," he says, jokingly. "But I think it’s time for a change in the department. I’m still full of beans but I’ve been doing it for 23 years, it's time to move along and time for some goddess energy, it’s a bit of a male stronghold and we're all hoping to see a woman take the part."

Now located in Lunenburg, Bamford says fell into his role at NSCAD accidentally. "I came to NSCAD from Toronto 1991 to get an arts education and teach high school, I was self employed so I wanted a cheque on Fridays, summers off and some kind of dental plan," he says. "One of the NSCAD faculty members—Walter Ostrom—said 'you don’t want to teach high school, why don’t you stay here with us?' And I did and it turned into 23 years. It was great, more than I ever could have wished for."
Five years ago, Bamford moved to Lunenburg, in a move he says was "preparing for the return to the studio full time."

"It’s been absolutely wonderful helping bright young artists make their dreams come true, but I’d been an artist all my life, and it’s time for me to get back to doing that," he says. "In terms of the work in this show, something I’m most excited about now comes from observing the built material world in Lunenburg—fish hooks become a motif, and propellers... decoy ducks become expressive characters—I’m looking forward to this direction of assimilating my neighbourhood in my work. It’s made a big impression."

Bamford and a group of like-minded individuals started the Lunenburg School of the Arts in 2013, a school offering short intensive courses taught by professional artists. "I did that to make the place where I live more exciting and it certainly has done that," he says. Bamford's home—known as the Fairbanks—has become a de facto artist residence, and he runs Skullduggery Gallery from the first floor of his home. It's safe to say Bamford' post-NSCAD life will be busy.

"I'm very excited for the next chapter and the chapter I’m living. It’s such a cliche—I’m retired and I’m busier than ever. But there's so much going on here that I need to learn how to pace myself a bit. I call it a return to being self-employed."

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Eyelevel artistic director Katie Belcher moves on to Vancouver's Access Gallery

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 9:08 AM

Katie Belcher - HEATHER YOUNG
  • Katie Belcher
  • Heather Young

Eyelevel's artistic director Katie Belcher is leaving the artist-run centre and relocating to Vancouver to become Access Gallery's newest director/curator in October. "It is difficult to leave after building my life here for fourteen years, but shifting to another coast feels reassuring somehow, and I have already been so welcomed by the community as the news spreads," Belcher says. "I'm keen to add to what I've learned out here, and stretch a bit more."

Belcher has run the Eyelevel since 2013, initiating the shift from brick and mortar gallery to spaceless artist-run centre, exploring experimental forms of art presentation. Along with the Eyelevel board, Belcher wanted to initiate "a return to our experimental origins, this approach has the potential to consider Eyelevel's relationship to site, emerging and local work, queer and feminist theory, and decolonizing practices. I'm inspired by our intention to articulate and embody an intersectional feminist politic with our program and structure." Belcher is also a founding director of HERMES, a non-profit commercial artist's cooperative, President of Atlantis (the Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic), a member of the steering team of the upcoming Flotilla and treasurer of the board of the national Artist-Run Centres Collectives Conference (ARCA).

"I'm excited to see what the individual vision of the new artistic director will add to Eyelevel's work. I've felt empowered to contribute my own character to Eyelevel and support others in doing the same—the idea for Food for Thoughts came from my own artistic practice, and its approach was really driven by project staff. It is because of new contributors that Eyelevel remains nimble and relevant after 43 years," Belcher says. "Although I'm sad to leave at such an exciting time, I also know that I'm leaving it in a great position. The board is supportive, critically engaged, and active, resources are improving, programming conversations are expansive, and we're moving forward with intention in this model. I feel so fortunate to have found this loving, challenging, and artistically thrilling place to stretch these last four years. It is the best time for someone to step in and help guide the next few years. I think they'll have fun!"

Eyelevel is currently seeking applications for the position of Artistic Director. Those who want to throw their hat into the ring are encouraged to apply before the deadline of Friday, August 11. Full job details here.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Local horror film The Crescent needs your help

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Vandersteen and Graves in a still from The Crescent - SUBMITTED
  • Vandersteen and Graves in a still from The Crescent
  • submitted

Director Seth Smith, producer Nancy Urich (full disclosure, Urich and I play in a band together) and screenwriter Darcy Spidle, the team behind CUT/OFF/TAIL Pictures, are back on their grind again, so rejoice. With a supremely spooky trailer for The Crescent, Smith continues to deal in the watery horror framework set down by 2012's Lowlife, this time directing Smith and Urich's son Woodrow Graves and artist and musician (Fake Buildings, Building Confidence Through Play, Old & Weird) Danika Vandersteen.

Watch the trailer below for the film described as "an elevated horror that blends formalist, fictional drama with documentary-like moments of realism–think cult classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Phenomena, Don’t Look Now, and contemporary arthouse-thrillers like Under the Skin, The Witch, and Personal Shopper."

In the wake of funding cuts to provincial film programs, CUT/OFF/TAIL Pictures is asking for public backers to complete the final stages of the process. Learn more about the project and donate here.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Congrats to 2017's finalists for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 9:27 AM

Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf - SUBMITTED
  • Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf
  • submitted

Yesterday, the three finalists for the largest annual award to any work of art in Nova Scotia—the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award—were announced. The award was established by the Honourable Myra Freeman in 2005, and is meant to recognize "the excellence of a particular work of art or design from any media." A jury of  five multidisciplinary Nova Scotian artists worked at arm’s-length from the Nova Scotia Masterworks Awards Foundation to select the short-listed works. The juror identities will be revealed once the winner is announced.

The finalists, Donna Morrissey's novel The Deception of Livvy Higgs, Dinuk Wijeratne's composition Polyphonic Lively and Ashley McKenzie's film Werewolf, will receive a $3000 prize for being shortlisted, and one winner announced at this fall's Creative Nova Scotia Gala will win the grand prize of $22,000. There is a panel discussion open to the public about the works at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on September 18.

Descriptions of the finalists (provided by NS Masterworks) are below:

  • submitted

The Deception of Livvy Higgs
Creator: Donna Morrissey (writer).
Nominator: Diane Turbide.
The Deception of Livvy Higgs is “well-written, poetic, lyrical,” exclaims the jury. Raised in Newfoundland and now living in Nova Scotia, Donna Morrissey has written five well-received novels. This one is narrated in the first person by an elderly woman who struggles to keep her troubled past from intruding into the present. The story, set partly in World War II-era Halifax, slips seamlessly between the past and the present, with the “disturbing intimacy of a séance.” The story has been described as “ its portrait of two unforgettable women—Livvy and Gen—whose fates are entwined by a violent act.”

Dinuk Wijeratne's Polyphonic Lively - SUBMITTED
  • Dinuk Wijeratne's Polyphonic Lively
  • submitted

Polyphonic Lively
Creator: Dinuk Wijeratne (composer).
Nominator: Christos Hatzis.
The jury knew the power and complexity of Polyphonic Lively when they heard it. Polyphonic Lively “is terrific in a visceral way.” This 13-minute large ensemble composition was commissioned by Symphony Nova Scotia to open the orchestra’s 2016-17 season. Wijeratne is “masterful in his art,” integrating an array of multicultural influences, and his incorporation of North-Indian tabla chakradhar rhythms is particularly ingenious. The piece was rapturously received by Nova Scotian audiences upon its world premiere, and praised again at the Newfound Music Festival at Memorial University. The Sri-Lankan-born Dinuk Wijeratne lives in Nova Scotia, and is the Creator of three previous Masterworks Finalists.

Creators: Ashley McKenzie (director) and Nelson MacDonald (producer).
Nominator: Cory Bowles.
The jury praised the “dark, sparse, and harsh,” aesthetic of Werewolf, and the talent of its director. The fiction feature film Werewolf is about two young methadone addicts in Cape Breton. They push a lawnmower door to door, begging to cut grass for a living. One struggles to escape while the other falls further into ruin. The film is notable for its non-professional cast and stylized visual presentation. Directed by McKenzie and produced by MacDonald as their first-time feature, the film has already won several awards at Canadian film festivals. The Nova Scotian director and producer have previously made several short films together.
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Friday, July 7, 2017

Teto Elsiddique named local shortlister for RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 9:07 AM

Teto Elsiddique, neckrings, a breezy thing - SUBMITTED
  • Teto Elsiddique, neckrings, a breezy thing
  • submitted

Fifteen finalists were announced for this year's Canadian Painting Competition, and local artist Teto Elsiddique is among them (and sometime-local Ambera Wellmann. This still counts, right?). Now in its 19th year, the juried competition chose the finalists from 682 submissions.

The winners will be announced on October 17, 2017, and all 15 artists will have their work exhibited at The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario from September 1 to October 22, 2017. A total of $85,000 in prize money will be awarded: $25,000 to the winner, $15,000 to two honourable mentions and $2,500 to the remaining 12 finalists.

The three winning paintings will be added to RBC's Art Collection along with the winners of the previous 18 competitions. RBC’s collection features more than 4,500 works collected since 1929, including original works of art by historical and contemporary Canadian artists.

The full list of finalists is below.

Amanda Boulos, Duckie Wants Water
Angela Teng, Line Dance (Pink and Black for Mary Heilmann)
Ambera Wellmann, Temper Ripened
Cindy Ji Hye Kim, Conspiracy Theory
David Kaarsemaker, Portage 1
Joani Tremblay, The Lure of the Local Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society
Kizi Spielmann Rose, Sun and a Tide Pool
Laura Payne, Enneadec II
Laura Rokas-Bérubé, Paint by Number 7
M.E. Sparks, Hollow Dog
Michael Freeman Badour, Patrick’s Boots
Teto Elsiddique, neckrings, a breezy thing
Tristan Unrau, Nun, After Pasolini
Veronika Pausova, Typography
Wei Li, Obsessiveness and excitement, never growing out of them

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