Astrophysics, Taoism, permaculture, food sovereignty, survivalism, genocide: these are some of the austere themes that preoccupied artist Jody Zinner as she worked on a series of paintings she'll be showing at the group exhibit Dog Show, as part of OBEY. A sense of alienation while living in Montreal contributed, too. "I was struggling to survive in a city that didn't want me, and I was living under the shroud of a black depression," Zinner says. "I worked as a bookkeeper at an elite health club and spa in Westmount. These stray thoughts and experiences percolated through my mind as I rode the metro---one hour each way---back and forth from work, and became the genesis of these paintings."
Her series of striking oil paintings, originally shown as a solo exhibition in Montreal, now makes its way to Halifax. Zinner currently lives in Cumberland County, where life looks a lot different from the polished boutiques of Westmount. "I volunteer one day a week on an organic farm and express my creativity through gardening, home building and design projects," she says.
The multimedia offerings of Dog Show, curated by artist Kate Walchuk, reveal a repeated overlap between visual art and music. The Captain Beefheart album Trout Mask Replica was the inspiration for Bree Hyland's new drawings, while Hannah Guinan of Old and Weird will be showing digital collages and photographs, as well as offering a tape of sound art for sale. "It will feel nice to show her work because she is known around town for playing music but not a lot of folks know about this other side of her art practice," Walchuk says. Other artists include Katie Hernandez, Daniel Joyce, Miriam Moren, Allison Higgins, Brenna Phillips and Sheryl Haws, whose paintings explore nature and impossible landscapes, described by Walchuk as "heavily patterned, dense and vibrant." Minimalist Montreal synth band Paradise will provide the soundtrack for the opening. Finally, the show mixes sly jokes with its darker tones and themes. Walchuk, who will be showing work based on dog commands, sees a "sardonic wit" running through many of the pieces. —Jaime Forsythe