The Coast's Fall Preview 2013: Visual arts

Blow your ever-lovin' mind with some majorly amazing works of artistic genius

Get Schooled

It doesn't matter if you're enrolled or not, this fall you should be going back to school, even if just for the art.

Anna Leonowens Gallery (1891 Granville Street): With so much turnover it could be filled with jelly (new shows open Mondays at 5:30pm), there's no shortage of inspiration at the NSCAD-affiliated gallery---with a range this fall from serious Carrie Allison Goodfellow's Transition (October 8-12) which deals with issues of identity, colonization and reclamation as the artist learns traditional artistic techniques that weren't passed down to her due to her Grandmother's residential school experience, to the whimsical Cine-abstraction (October 15-26), a collection of video installation---Isabella Rose Weetaluktuk's archive of metaphysical VHS dust sounds particularly playful, there's bound to be something that tickles your tapestry.

Port Loggia Gallery (1107 Marginal Road): Get back to basics with #KEJI (October 3-12)---a series of work inspired by a "contemporary" camping trip in Kejimkujik Park. I guess that means no one slept on the ground.

Dalhousie University Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue): Home is where the heart is, and your heart is going to be feeling all the things at Sylvia D. Hamilton and Wilma Needham's tandem exhibits Home/Land (October 18-December 1). Political, personal and psychological, Hamilton's Excavation: A Site of Memory uses stories, images and found objects to explore the boundary between reality and imagination when it comes to memory, all through the lens of African Nova Scotians. While Needham's link to Niagara Falls and its history shapes Souvenir---a tribute to the visual spectacle that's influenced her creatively for years.

Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery (166 Bedford Highway): Work in a cubicle? The Canada Council Art Bank buys art and rents it to government offices (must be nice)---in The Art Bank in the 21st Century (To November 8), curator Jan Allen collects works acquired since 2001 by under-represented groups---queer, female, immigrant and First Nations artists for a broad look at Canadian identity.

Fashion-forward (and backward or sideways) folk can't miss Arianne Pollet-Brannen's Flesh (November 2-December 15) which takes haute couture there and back again with deformed, mutilated, truly grotesque creations which challenge elements of costuming as an "anti-fashion statement." I bet it's still pretty fierce, though.

Saint Mary's University Art Gallery (923 Robie Street): Where do language and technology meet? If you answered "my iPhone" then get yourself to the gallery where artist/researchers Robert Bean and Ilan Sandler's Obsolescence/Invention (October 19-December 1) goes deeper with interactive projections, sculptures, digital prints and more. --Lindsay Raining Bird

Set: Process as Product

Opening Friday, September 27, 8pm,
Khyber Centre for the Arts, 1588 Barrington

Local artist Sam Kinsley assembled a group drawing exhibit of a different colour for Set: Process as Product. Made up of unconventional drawings from artists Susan Wolf, Guang Zhu, Will Robinson and Wes Johnston, Kinsley sought pieces made by unconventional means, using a variety of items as mark makers. "Instead of primarily graphite on paper we have guitar on wood, pixels on screen, found marks on camera," says Kinsley. "In some cases, the artist role is that of facilitator, as in Susan Wolf's piece. She uses traditional materials, charcoal on wall, to facilitate a drawing experience." Kinsley chose these particular artists because of an admiration of their individual processes, and as a group they've come up with something unique. "I knew I wanted to highlight work [in which] the aesthetic choices seem subservient to the artistic process or concept." --SJ

Nocturne: Art at Night

October 19, 6pm-midnight

The sixth annual art bonanza rolls merrily on with the usual amazing assortment of art tucked inside or on top of every gallery, abandoned storefront, random piece of sidewalk, performance venue, cafe, shop window and moving vehicle it can. A new addition to the festivities this round---giving you an extra day of art and an excuse to hang---is a kickoff party at the Olympic Centre (2304 Hunter Street, 7pm) on Thursday, October 17 that will feature a Pecha Kucha about time and space---also Nocturne curator Eleanor King's chosen festival theme---and will feature contributions from "a science fiction prof, an artist, a scientist, our director," says coordinator Kat Shubaly, who adds that Propeller's Nocturne beer will be available as well.

Shubaly's list of favourites is varied in discipline and weirdness. Of The Nocturne Survey and Critical Race by Julian Higuerey Núñez and Henry Adam Svec," she says, "The did the same project at Nuit Blanche in Toronto and the goal was to see which of the two guys can see all the exhibits first and they live-tweet it. I'm calling it the Kenny vs. Spenny of Nocturne." Lucy Pullen's Interval for Halifax reaches out to the city's inner child via eight swings set up around town, "and the part that connects the swing to the tree will be reflective and people are ecnouraged to take picutres. It's insired by locations from her childhood." A terrifying-sounding entry comes from Lohifi Productions: The Nightwatch takes place on Citadel Hill, and "when you look into the darkness you'll see two giant glowing eyes open and look at you," says Shubaly. Like a giant monster roaming the hill! What!

There'll be a map and an app and a free Metro Transit bus and lots of ways to participate, since, Shubaly notes, the best Nocturne exhibits are "ones with audience participation, where people can get involved." Which is what it's all about. --Tara Thorne

Red Umbrella artist collective

Currently Red Umbrella is promoting shows at the Hydrostone Gallery (5530 Kaye Street) featuring Ingrid Singing Grass, an upcoming show with the Oakheart Art Collective at the Barrington Street Just Us! in mid October and the current group show at Just Us! Spring Garden.

"Being in the mental health world for over 12 years now, we've got a lot of hook-ups," says Gavin Quinn, laughing.

"We try to promote anything that will help capacity building," says Justine Dollard. "If you feel like you're in a bad place, we want to help you get to a better place."

Quinn and Dollard do that through their work with the Red Umbrella Art Collective, a community arts organization aimed seeking out new spaces for exhibits, building community and harnessing the therapeutic benefits of art. Most recently Red Umbrella facilitated a group show at Just Us! Spring Garden, featuring local and emerging artists. And September was a big month for more reasons than that---Red Umbrella was awarded a grant from the Department of Health and Wellness to create Outsider Insight, an art education program running this January for people living with mental health issues. (Outsider Insight t-shirts are now available at Fresh Goods and Sin on Skin, too!) They will offer workshops---practical stuff like how to frame your work and how to write an artist statement---as well as portfolios for attendees. "We want to work with artists, we want to help them be better artists," says Dollard. "That's the goal."

"There's nothing I'd rather do than this job," says Quinn. "We're big on healthy minds."

Dollard is also gallery administrator at Veith Street Gallery and echoes this statement. "We totally believe in the therapeutic value of art. I hope to impart that to anyone who takes part."

"The backbone of this whole thing is mental health peer support," says Quinn. "At the end [of the Outsider Insight program] I want it to be like we've created a unit." —Stephanie Johns

Nightmare Inductions

Eyelevel Gallery, 2159 Gottingen Street, To October 19

The art collective Noxious Sector---"dedicated to the exploration of questions of the imaginative, the paranormal and the absurd"---comes to town with a multimedia, multi-part exhibition that explores falling, including a large-scale photo show. And you know how when you're falling asleep and you suddenly jerk awake? There's an AV installation that explores that. It's "an immersive audio piece wherein the participant listens to an 'induction' script to have a nightmare in which they experience 'falling,'" writes artist Jackson 2Bears, who collaborated with Ted Hiebert and Doug Jarvis on the project. "This piece is part of an ongoing series of 'inductions.'" The Nightmare will culminate with a Nocturne haunting by Noxious. —Tara Thorne

The Dart Gallery

Opening October 4, at exactly 4:04pm at 127A Portland Street is Dartmouth's newest gallery---The Dart Gallery. Focusing on local, mainly Dartmouth-based, contemporary artists, it will also function as a studio space for owner and printmaker Jane MacDougald. The October 4 opening exhibit is a group show, look forward to an upcoming exhibit collaborating with Halifax Pop Explosion titled HPX: A Darkside Retrospective. It opens the night of Nocturne and "will feature HPX's past promo posters, many screenprints and other memorabilia, and will be set up on a 'stage' installation in the gallery that will feature all the usual rock band instruments," says MacDougald. "The local response has been amazing, overwhelming and inspiring. I think there's a real sense of cultural pride in Dartmouth and it feels like this even augments it." --SJ

Parentheses hits print

Parentheses Gallery's fall line up plasters you with posters and prints. This Saturday, September 28 marks the opening of the YoRodeo show titled Forever Yo, featuring a mix of new and old works from the art team of Seth Smith and Paul Hammond (of Hey You Guys). New pieces include 22x30 10 colour prints of archival material like original sketches, doodles and test prints. The Scott Tappen Retrospective (October 19-26) features the poster work of the talented late musician and poster designer. Coinciding with Halifax Pop Explosion, the show pairs music with art, matching up and coming Halifax bands (Chief Thundercloud, Dark for Dark, Mark Grundy) with groups that Tappen designed for in the '90s (Moonsocket, Andy McDaniel & Charles Austin, Al Tuck). --SJ

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