2012 Reviews by Debora Alanna

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jeroen Witvliet show “Days” reviewed by Debora Alanna

IMG_6209 IMG_6214 IMG_6216 IMG_6217 IMG_6220

Entering Days, Jeroen Witvliet’s epic drawings loom, overpower any thought brought to the Slide Room Gallery threshold, drawing one completely into his disquieting and imposing work. Drenched with charcoal biting stark, thick white paper, attentively drawn distressed entanglements emphasize spectacle, vistas of loaded feelings conspicuous in heaps of tousled matter and defeated branches. There is a line in Aristotle’s poetics Part IV that this work embodies, ‘Objects which in themselves we view with pain, we delight to contemplate when reproduced with minute fidelity’. ([1]) With commitment to detail, Witvliet produces contemplative stanzas of a tragic poem. Days drawings are knotty discussions about ruin providing startling lucid factious narratives. His imagery taunts our perception of how days of time influence disaffecting internal conflicts.

Unlike Webster and Noble's trash pieces that create coy figurative shadows projected from the waste configuration, Witvliet’s debris piles, although seemingly rendered as haphazard, are judicious figuration explorations as well as suspended ground, a composite relation. With the intensely described veneer of ruin the remnants of civilization’s abandon and forestal foray figuratively repose as mounds. Versed in quantification and evaluation of remains, Days untitled drawings exhibit a range of possibilities for correlated dissemination, while considering its impact, and resolve, heroically complex.

From Russell Perkins', Adorno's Dreams and the Aesthetic of Violence. Telos 155 (Summer 2011). :
Adorno is never merely a passive bystander to suffering. [...] we see that insight into violence only becomes possible when neutrality is foregone for standpoints of ambivalent participation, and thus that the suspension of the category of witness becomes the very condition of possibility for testimony.
Theodor W. Adorno, (1903 –1969), German sociologist, philosopher and musicologist, known for his critical theories of cultural industry, with Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), had insight into the passive danger imposed on human needs by mass consumption.([2]) Compositional vocabulary, whether sound or visual composition, relates the audience to cultural dissonance when presented with intense scenarios as seen in Days. An Adorno like metaphor, the passivity of elegant debris ambivalently engages is a witness to violent disregard, a poignantly portrayed testament - Schoenbergian atonality personified. WithDays, we see that Witvliet also is not a bystander to suffering because his work is a demonstration of universal untamed forces that disseminate within us all. Days is evidence, imagery dishevelled with violent overtones.

Witvliet’s Days has uncanny erotic tension within the load of implicit piles of expressive remnants’ and/or broken branches coexisting, memories upon memories tangled. In Ralf Waldo Emerson’s poem, Days, he speaks of his ‘pleached’ garden. Witvliet’s pleached wreckage, woven with civilization’s discard and denuded trees is the Garden, reverential intimacy scorned. The politics of duplicity is inscribed in the torn and stinging lines he makes whipping up from the white paper wasteland, spilling shadow.

Orgone, Reich & Eros, Wilhelm Reich’s Theory of Life Energy by W. Edward Mann, on page 159, quotes from an article by Richard Martin, “Be Kind to Plants – Or You Could Cause a Violet to Shrink,” in The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, February 2, 1972 to substantiate Reich’s claim that ‘orgone energy pulsates through all living systems and that all are interdependent, existing in a kind of energy ocean.’ Wilhelm Reich called his hypothesized universal life force orgone. He claimed orgone is imparted from all organic material, which ostensibly can be captured with a booth-like device to restore psychological health.

Two of Witvliet’s drawings are plants under glass, or see-through boxes and there is another drawing of a seemingly abandoned greenhouse snugly enclosed by a mishmash of forest debris – the residual forest darkness standing distant. Hans Haacke's "Condensation Cube" (1963), displays transformative energy as condensation, collected or at least contained, without vegetation because Haacke has transplanted weather indoors, detached from growth, and presumably orgone. Witvliet’s greenhouse rendering, with this theory, is a very big organic energy collection box with a spiritual aesthetic seen in Gerhard Richter’s Iceberg in Fog (Eisberg im Negel) (2002). Human interaction has forced the forest surround into submission, while the trees still stand behind the greenhouse are expectant reminders of how energy can be cultivated, although, directed by human foible amassed energy can also abuse, destroy. Witvliet measures our collective psychological health and tells us the forest is shrinking, and our energy ocean is as segregated and minimal as a Haacke condensation cube. This is not a theory.

In a video performance, a reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Art is Life (1964/2008), at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) presented by Outpost for Contemporary Art on April 19, 2008, a segment called “Household Revisited”, where (according to MOCA) ‘Peaceniks, Treehuggers and other Believers’, in the midst of household debris (some human size), chant:

We lie where we will
What if every cell in our body is in dialogue with all there is?
Imagine the world you can’t imagine.
Imagine being accepted.
Junk, piles of people.

Household remnants strewn and piled in a field was a rebellion against the accoutrements of banality, while the Believers implore for liberation from the idea that people represent themselves by what they own. Witvliet’s immobilized masses of liberated stuff, many pieces laded in handsome adjacent squares, networks of distribution, and even muddled masses spare the association of ‘Junk, piles of people’. Figurative, yes, but his imagination has been long liberated from literal references, enabling mottled shreds of interactions to blanket the mounds.

On 11 September 2012, The UK daily, the Telegraph reported ([3]),”the massive floating islands of garbage, some almost 70 miles in length, caused by last month’s tsunami in Japan, which are causing chaos in shipping lanes in the Pacific Ocean, as they slowly head for the west coast of the America.” As Witvliet’s piles seem to float, they do incite a kind of chaos, blockage, a revelation of a disturbance and trauma. In his artist statement, he refers to the image within his refuse drawings as, “A raft lost at sea.”

In Jorge Luis Borges’ preface to "The Invention of Morel", a novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, about an island of intrigue, he writes that full freedom leads to full disaster, global warming’s weather demise contributing, as the news item above attests. What Borges calls the fictitious nature of politics as a means to freedom through the ordering of society is punishingly unable to originate mysterious, and reasonable facts the author, Casares can contrive. We have to wonder about the politics of materialism that the floating ocean island of debris in the news above created, and what disorder allows the menace to continue to pollute. Witvliet’s islands of dishevelled matter are the result of unrestrained loads, where chaos has created the enigma of mess and confusion. What Witvliet creates is a delicate wisdom, as Borges would say, to transcribe intangible, mysterious veracity. Magritte said, ‘The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.” ([4]) Witvliet, akin to Borges’ Casares, renders the unknown as archetypal insight and with his mindful power of depiction, articulates the mysterious with demonstrative candour.

In Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, Enigma, hiding the name of a fellow poet in its text, to express how she was unacknowledged in her lifetime, he writes, “through all the flimsy things we see at once”[...]”Trash of all Trash”. [...]”But this is now – you may depend upon it –/Stable, opaque, immortal – all by dint/Of the dear names that he concealed within’t.” The enigma, here being the baffling unknown reason his friend’s poetry was not recognized in spite of her profundity. Witvliet’s drawings, too are veiled gems, enigmatic discourses on life’s inconsistency and the mortal need for rapport. As we, with ambivalence render our vision opaque, we are reticent to see the concealments of powerful, universal truths in perilous collections of thought as his piles of debris describe. Witvliet’s Days is significant, enduring memory that pictures weighted introspection. His denouement of our collective tragedy, the revelation is confrontational pain. Through the mourning of Days, we are wakening.

[1] http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.1.1.html
[2] Adorno, T. W., with Max Horkheimer. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2002. 242.
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8437632/Massive-floating-rubbish-islands-from-Japan-tsunami-spotted-on-Pacific.html
[4] René Magritte (1898-1967), Belgian surrealist painter. Quoted in Suzi Gablik, Magritte, ch. 1 (1970).

Slide Room Gallery
Vancouver Island School of Art
Victoria BC
August 2012

Jeroen's website : www.structure365.com

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brad Pasutti – New paintings – review by Debora Alanna

Marcel Proust: But, when nothing subsists from a distant past, after the death of others, after the destruction of objects, only the senses of smell and taste, weaker but more enduring, more intangible, more persistent, more faithful, continue for a long time, like souls, to remember, to wait, to hope, on the ruins of all the rest, to bring without flinching, on their nearly impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory.[1]

Brad Pasutti allows us to wander in the company of his perennial memories, that are vivid, elusive and aromatic, some that grow on other insisting verities. With rosy blooming in violet climes, he silently renders imposing individuality, radiant vistas burgeoning with portentous recall.

Melding into his oeuvre of 24 works at the Winchester, we discover Pasutti considers recurring allegories. For example, aBruegelian Tower of Babel stilled in the upheaval of language multiplicity and Hieronymus Bosch’s mischievous defecator, expelling evil. 

Punctuated throughout are apocalyptic results of the unsettling revelations and consequence of these stories, with humour punctuating, like the Commedia dell’Arte’s Zanni - sly, cheeky provocateur peering out of crooks, reminding us that here, absurdity is conferred. Pasutti engages with comedic revelry, winking at our solemnity in the presence of elegant suspension.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, in his essay, Laocoön. An Essay upon the Limits of Painting and Poetry -1766 (Translated by Ellen Frothingham 1887), Chapter 3, states that “Since the artist can use but a single moment of ever-changing nature, and the painter must further confine his study of this one moment to a single point of view [...] evidently the most fruitful moment and the most fruitful aspect of that moment must be chosen.” In Chapter 4, Lessing promises that poets, specifically Virgil describe theLaocoön: “Further, nothing obliges the poet to concentrate his picture into a single moment.” Because Pasutti does not oblige his work to live in a single moment, accordingly, Pasutti’s paintings are poetry, painting absence and presence, beauty and its source, humanity’s complexity, complete with agonizing intellect and fearless desire in each work. 


With a pale to pronounced monochrome sepia palate, Pasutti’s whetting watercolour pencil mark works are embodied with dampened wipes painting surface swelling with pensive poise.

Pasutti screens The Garden of Earthly Delights around a Hieronymus Bosch Nasone “Oro”, beak formed by a man, and figures how desire epitomized can devour humanity, defecating subjects of appetite below, in privacy. 


Eccentric Pulcinella perches with an inverted funnel for a hat, a medieval symbol of lunacy (aren’t we all mad?), on a table with vacancy, and unquestioning constancy. We see the severing knife that lives between ears in Bosch’s 3rd triptych separated from listening hears on the right of this painting, still pierced by its shaft. Hunger severs lust with disquiet of violent banality in Pasutti’s rostrum.


The Hunger

Ink and watercolour pencil on paper 17 x 25 inches


Reining in the beams of comedic drama, Pasutti summons memory’s jest. In the lower left of the picture, we see a wistful man, remembering events appearing in arresting plays above and around him. In the centre of Commedia dell’Arte, we face a youthful coif, long hair on a naked back, the leading man facing Bauta or Boogy Man, wearing his three cornered hat, pointing his elongated snout into reminiscent mischief, with blackened lenses. As he is blinded by idealized youth, the creature manifests the youth’s future consternations, which is the past of the musing man in the foreground. Or the act can also be understood as the plague doctor masked, approaching the unknown with trepidation. This historical mask used as a sanitary precaution by 17th century Medico Della Peste, [2] ineffectual against what plagues. Either interpretation allows the comedic consequence invoked by macabre indulgence to be masked.

The scenes or canvases of the charade overlap and mingle. Jousters clamor between windowed panes, fighting off episodes of the memories with quixotic skill. Shutting in the action, windows transect diagonally, pointing to another act, a descending stair where an erect, pseudo balustrade is a rail to another adventurous tease through Pasutti’s explicatory drama.


Commedia dell’Arte 2012

Ink and watercolour pencil on paper 17 x 25 inches

To prevent the prophesy provided by the Delphi Oracle, that his son would murder his father and have sex with his mother ,Oedipus’ father, Laius had is son ‘exposed’. The myth showed that in spite of all efforts, the prediction came true, and Oedipus lived to kill his father, marry his mother, and solves the riddle posed by the Sphinx, a kind of recompense, an understanding that although desire was indiscriminate, deductive intelligence manifested through Oedipus’s solution is divine, and exempt from human foible.

Deleuze and Guattari wrote two books collectively entitledCapitalism and Schizophreniathe first of the volume Anti-Oedipus.[3] Michel Foucault’s preface claims the book identifies "all varieties of fascism, from the enormous ones that surround and crush us to the petty ones that constitute the tyrannical bitterness of our everyday lives. [...] but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploit us." The collaborators borrow from Antonin Artaud to form their theory, ‘body without organs’:

When you will have made him a body without organs,
then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom. [4]

The writers theorized that an individuals are a diverse summative of parts functioning with social libido and natural machines that require the Nietzsche framework of desire-production, at least. Oedipal desire is not desirable because it is neurotic, or permissible, if.... (the books postulate in great length).

Pasutti eyes with focused measurement, where Joan of Arc arches into an organic commodity. Freed from her body, statuesque, she is delivered from the imposition of her desire through sculptural rendition. A Sphinx-like bust is demure, setting man’s desire for answers adrift. Left of the female provocateur, a male espies a similar, male image, mirroring the unceasing machination of self-desire or desire of his own sex, connecting invasion and persecution, a sinister protraction of longing.

This painting’s foreground holds the fragments of slavish reactive desire that becomes productive. Pure multiplicities nomadically traverse the picture plane in a connective synthesis freeing new patterns of creativity: anti-Oedipal. 


Anti-Oedipus 2012

Ink and watercolour pencil on paper 16 x 20.5 inches

Pasutti’s colours are valiant and insistent, structuring incisive situations. With confounding dexterity he scrutinizes and integrates s ideas that possess humanity within elaborate environs. Dense figuration and symbols are held by multiple window and casement manipulations, stairways acceding and dissenting, bringing us into the nether regions of enquiry. Exploring the passage of time and allowing the past and presence of experience to intermingle, Pasutti’s symbology advances stratagem and calculation from painting to painting.

The artist’s operatic phrasing is becomingly visible. Articulating intimacy with purposeful pinks and magenta, Pasutti’s o range glow, caressing and arouse. Intricacy is charged with blues rascally painted shadows, mystery is expounded with yellow assertion. Purple discovers erotically mystic realms while red relegates and delivers the crux of thoughts. Black’s vigor defines and punctuates reference. Graying greens disquiet, acknowledging the cleaving poser. Pasutti’s paintings are largely gaily optimistic yet invite the introspection required for appreciating the depths of his consideration within each work.

Echoing the painting, Babel 2011‘s inquisitive rendering that drape shadows, unsettling revelations and consequential humour punctuates to provoke and engross, his reverential questioning dense. Intimation is earnest, confronting perception. Pasutti’s The Tower of Babel 2012, less ephemeral and influencing hope wears a warming colour, and his innovative, painterly contemplation, rooted in Giovanni Battista Tiepolo schematic perspective employs Ingre’s depth of field. 


Persistent allegory in both works, Babel, stilled in the upheaval of language multiplicity, the unfinished architecture aspiring to meeting creation’s source means a jumbling humanity, unsystematic, diverse and polemic interactions, in spite of the sited calamitous outcome. In the former work, quirky Bosch-like beings translate to disassociated iconography. In the later, the unobtrusive Bosch references are repeated, and titillate. Luminality, the humility of a significant transition is presented in the oil, where abundance is burgeoning and private life is demonstrative and deferential.


The Tower of Babel 2012
Oil on canvas diptych 48 X 72 inches 


Babel 2011
Acrylic on paper 21 x 28.5 inches


The Family 2010
Acrylic on paper 22 x 17 inches

Creating The Family with damaged, empty-eyed Mexican ‘Santos’, sculptures that represented saints, angels or other religious figures meant to convert indigenous cultures to Catholicism discusses hollow ideology and ineffectual interaction between societies translates to domestic relations in the midst of cultural corruption. When an ideal family is saintly, an angelic figuration that implies religiosity, this is a portrait of a realistic family that has been emptied of its fundamental humanity.

The Family members are united with identical enigmatically blue garb, all robes of contrition. The doll-like offspring held by the unflinchingly stoic father for the mother to interact with results in her introspective dismay. The mother that cannot hold her miniaturized child because of broken fingers peers down at her stumped appendages.

Pairs of Garden of Earthly Delights ears are compelled to listen to what exists between them – the force of the spear’s submission. Home, a memory, is in their empty skull in the background. A fish out of water is poised on top of an ear, near the open window that fits no home. Pasutti’s ethical offering is a view out to simulated domesticity, a view into defeat. Pasutti paints grief kindly; his view is cannily penetrating.



The Age of Chivalry 2012
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 30 inches


The Age of Chivalry is alive, the game is afoot. Chess pieces become dynamic soldiers playing in the confusion and charge of a warring army. Only one side is engaged. The fight is weighted. In the spirit of Paolo Uccello, whose feisty Battle of San Romanoallows the eight hour combat to endure in three paintings, Pasutti paints fortitude and brusque with zealous vigour. Pasutti has imagined a fragmented skirmish, with the disarray that can be found in the Bayeux Tapestry, Horses in Battle of Hastings, 1070. In Tennyson’s 1857 poem, The Lady of Shallot, the chivalrous Lancelot is described: 


Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,

The helmet and the helmet-feather

Burn'd like one burning flame together,

As he rode down to Camelot.

As often thro' the purple night


The Age of Chivalry, adopts purple night, and the admiration of thick-jewell’d dazzle. Arthur, in Book 4, Chapter 3 of Le Morte d’Arthur, written in 1485 by Sir Thomas Malory, himself a knight:Unto arms, fellows, then he cried. And this quote can be seen as the cry within Pasutti’s painting. With elegant light intensifying action, he epitomizes his veneration of Vermeer with points of light, lovingly highlighting opponent pawns that could be construed as phallic. Historically, according to the medieval scholar Richard Zeikowitz [5], there is dispute about the homoeroticising versus homosocial expressions of chivalry. Knights were mythologized to be chivalrous, that is bold, fearless and loyal. With this attentive lighting, there is an indication that battling side of the chessboard has an intensely intrepid, steadfast regard for the other players’ men. 


Practicing the art of chivalry’s defense, Pasutti’s knights fight wildly in armor with horses, lances, wielding swords and shields, as defined in Chivalrous battles. [6] Front and centre is a heraldic lion, symbolizing all chivalric attributes, the king of beasts, protecting and guarding against the other side of the inactive chess board.

Battling here is within, a personal battle or confrontation, a fight fought in an interior space. Guido Cavalcanti medieval poet (circa 1259-1300), Dante’s best friend describes love as a tortuous battle in the surrendering of self to heart’s desire:


You whose look pierced through my heart,

Waking up my sleeping mind,

behold an anguished life

which love is killing with sighs.

So deeply love cuts my soul

that weak spirits are vanquished,

and what remains the only master

is this voice that speaks of woe.

This virtue of love, that has undone me

Came from your heavenly eyes:

It threw an arrow into my side.

So straight was the first blow

That the soul, quivering, reverberated,

seeing the heart on the left was dead.[7]


The Art of Chivalry embodies of this heartfelt conflict. Horse stables abandoned in the background, there is no castle to retreat to and the once lush growth of succulent grapes seen in other paintings is scant on the right of the resolute opponent’s area expressing the opponent’s withering inducement to participate because courtly love is misleading, disfavours the courting of internal conflict, preferring carnal advancement. 


Pasutti’s Art of Chivalry describes conviction in mastering potency, while the object of this play patiently waits for his turn. Pasutti strikes his devise deeply.



The Texture of Time 2012 

Oil on canvas 48 x 72 inches



With future dreams of a Venice in the distance, and a basement full of Boschian antics evoking the ground Pasutti’s playful exploration emulates, a familial Alice, just emerging from Wonderland is the buttress to Pasutti’s overlapping sensations within his timeless texturing of experience. She also peeks out an upper window, bemused at the orchestration of melodious conundrums to her left. Pasutti is committed to revisiting all his haunts, refashioning, repositioning, exploring new commitments that these returns can produce. And he paints this phenomenal reflection in harmonious tensions derived from desires, drives and impulses, but mostly, imaginative, tangled memories are exacting, rendered strenuously active by this a highly intuitive and consummate artist.


In the The Social History of Art: Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Volume 2, 1951 by Arnold Hauser on page 10, writes: 


The thesis that all this (solemn hieratic style of the Middle Ages), merely evidence of an anti-naturalistic rigid symmetry, its principles of sequence and accumulation. The thesis that all this is merely evidence of an anti-naturalistic reaction has, however, rightly been disputed, and attention has been drawn to the fact that naturalism in painting is by no means limited to the illusion of spatial depth and the dissolution of geometrically bound forms, but those ‘tactile values’ [...] with their deepening and extension of the space occupied by the representation.


Like previous masters before him, grappling with ways to react to and portray their involvement with their world, Pasutti is as diligent in his exploration of his version of faithfully presenting subjective and objective truths, equating and accumulating time, its reaction, forging intricate timing, and especially, providing ‘tactile values’, that deepens and extends his time – space relationships. Executing an altered texture from his medieval counterparts, Pasutti embraces abandon, paints diligence equally fantastical and existent.


Pasutti’s 24 paintings at the Winchester gallery, each an exceptional opus, the librettos implicit, deliberates contorted and complex human conditions. His humbling intimate histories with universal impact echo nuances staged to awe and delight. Projecting the psychology of compassion with vast acumen and historical panache, cleverly convoluting humour, Pasutti’s compositions, realms of beauty and its beast, are enlightening epic poems: immense.

April 3 to 28, 2012

Winchester Gallery

2260 Oak Bay Ave.



[1] Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 47, Pléiade (1954).

[2] Christine M. Boeckl, Images of plague and pestilence: iconography and iconology (Truman State University Press, 2000), p. 27.

[3] 1972. Anti-Œdipus. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of L'Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.

[4] Antonin Artaud. "To Have Done with the Judgment of God" in Antonin Artaud Selected Writings.Susan Sontag (ed). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1976, p. 571.

[5] Zeikowitz, Richard E. "Befriending the Medieval Queer: A Pedagogy for Literature Classes."College English: Special Issue: Lesbian and Gay Studies/Queer Pedagogies. Vol. 65 No. 1 (Sep 2002) pp. 67–80

[6] James Ross Sweeny (1983). "Chivalry", in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Volume III.

[7] Guido Cavalcanti, The Complete Poems, edited and translated by Marc Cirigliano. New York, Italica Press, 1992;

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Room upgrade for Pacific Northwest afternoon - Robert Youds - Deluge Contemporary Art - Review by Debora Alanna

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Room upgrade for Pacific Northwest afternoon by ROBERT YOUDS review by Debora Alanna

Deluge Contemporary Art
636 Yates Street
Victoria, BC, Canada
9 March - 15 April 2012


Room upgrade for Pacific Northwest afternoon is an allegorical poem, a collection of works that stand individually yet interact as illuminated poems hearkening, aware of mortality, or, stanzas of an epic that encompasses abstract ideas - resonant timelessness. Interacting with composed light, colour and shape, texture and form, Youd’s ideology dispels a disposition of power and liberation, a vigilant temperament made palpable through urban vernacular. His material relationships respond spatially and texturally within each work and amongst the works exhibited, echoing the considerable evidence of affecting time with light as the means to expand his discourse, poetically.

Ericson’s cabin

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Housed in an opaque light box, Erickson’s cabin beams with Youds timed sunshiny light apparatus among mysteriously illuminated hidden shapes. Involving a patch of thin, layered cedar slats mounted on the top right corner, Youds tells a cabin story, a story of isolation where thought processing is demonstrated. Confined in a box, ambiguity of imperfect form is toughened by the unyielding sheath containing the instrumentation. Contrasting the rough and emotional reality of wood symbol with expressive shadow interplay within the three-dimensional window, a portal to intimacy possible in the confines of an ordinary cabin-life and distilled living is achieved.

In Arthur Erickson’s address to McGill School of Architecture students, 21st of October 2000, Erickson talked about how “Out of the most ordinary circumstances a transcendental experience is distilled. Though lacking in cerebral challenge, since it is beyond the limits of the brain it gives its viewers a sense of highest fulfillment. “Robert Youds said, at a recent Q & A for Megan Dickies’s University of Victoria class held at the Deluge visiting Youds exhibition, “Room upgrade for a Pacific Northwest afternoon, “I distill down what’s on my mind.” Youds allows us to glean the mottled, consistently changing unevenness within a mystery, attached to the stiff, refined wooden sheaths, the surround of cabin dwelling, combined, is the means to exist beyond the material world, which is at the heart of this tone poem.

turn on your electric

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Identified with cabin life in the Pacific North West, turn on your electric holds a surfboard in the clarity of triangulated colour patches, mapping what cannot be obtained or used. A dream beholden to prospective scenarios. Echoing the patch of wood on Erickson’s cabin,the placeholder for contemplation, these lucid patches blush and influence electrifying possibilities embodied by the loafing board. This work has inspiration placed sideways, Carpe diem, seizing contrition, barred from a dream, the allusion to hope is nearly a glossy, tinted Incandescence, crossed by bands of florescence and Youds insists a command will enable change.

Youds provided a bench for viewers to look through the tented work on its window side, so the whole gallery of pieces become coloured by pinks, red and turquoise squaring commanding fantastic, recreational simultaneousness, and turn electric with engaging multiplicity.

usonian Cave

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This work requires some preface.
In 1903, in his book, “Here and There in Two Hemispheres” [1], James Law coined the word Usonian, a means of describing something exclusively American, as in of the United States of America. The term was later employed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed Usonian dwellings, homes that were post-war practical and economical for the baby boomer families. Wright, in his Selected Writings 1894–1940 considered the writings of Samuel Butler, an author that also employed the Usonia concept, to explain his architecture for straightforward, utilitarian, yet homey homes. Arthur Erikson, a familiar Pacific Northwest (Canadian) architect escaped to travel, but did not escape Wright’s “absolutely beautiful blending of building and landscape." [2] influence which he developed in his own commanding, spiritually receptive with sensitivity to light and the surrounds he built within.

The Greek philosopher, Plato as part of his work, The Republic, included The Allegory of the Cave to demonstrate “our nature in its education and want of education” (514a), is a fictional dialogue between Plato’s teacher Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of Book VII. The Allegory of the Cave is preceded by the metaphor of the sun (507b-509c) and the analogy of the divided line (509d-513e).

In the cave, a group of people chained to a central partition inside the cavern, immobile all of their lives, face a blank wall where shadows project on the wall by things passing along a walkway in front of a fire behind them. In the story, Socrates elucidates that the shadows are the prisoner’s view of reality. He explains how the philosopher is like a liberated prisoner, who comes to understand that the shadows he looked at when forced to face forward only are not essential to the particular nature of the objects or entities that made shadows. The Allegory relates to Plato’s Theory of Forms, where “Forms” or “Ideas” and not the changeable material world known to us through sensation, and possess the epitome of reality. Accordingly, only knowledge of the “Forms” establishes true knowledge.

An aria, a solo song of intricacy, with usonian cave, Youds suspends the Usonian ideology and combines Plato’s allegorical cave where chains of connotation dangles. Youds hangs reality. With printed chains on acetate, blackening shadows flicker in square neon variation, chinks freed on the fixture. The Usonian, or everyman’s cave, a home for the free, is a place where ideal truth can be found, if released from the fetters that diminish spiritual veracity. The flash of square forms reiterates ideas that are timelessly tested. Is the Usonian concept caving into the shadows of perfection? Is a philosophy that enlightens ruined by structure? Youds materializes sensation with ideals.

wood is resilient in earthquakes



A peek into the naked framing of the work, wood is resilient in earthquakes, Youds exposes the yellow light of fear, the heart of how the absence of concrete applications affects this tragic poem - believing in security does not make it so. A landscape of grey tones with horizontally awry tubing disturbs the embedded parallel fixture. The oblong wood feels protective as it houses the blocks of glassy gradation. Resilient, the wooden hold has trusting structure, but here, faith is an imperfect scheme. Resilience has value; however, the quaking earth can test horizontal toughness, and be found wanting. Youds reveals the view into understood vulnerability. If Tturn on your electric is a plea for living,wood is resilient in earthquakes, although an optimistic thought, is a description of the failure to be resilient. Youds grounds this opposing elegy for those who may pass, a presage of fatality in our Pacific Northwest if we do not act to protect ourselves from earth quaking certainty. Or in Prosperos’s words, “release me from your bands..now I want Spirits to enforce, art to enchant...Let your indulgence set me free” (Epilogue 1-20,The Tempest, William Shakespeare)

Room upgrade for Pacific Northwest afternoon

clip_image022 clip_image024

The namesake of Youds exhibition, Room upgrade for Pacific Northwest afternoon is a lyrical ode to life in situ, an upgrade to familiar existence within the Pacific Northwest, while evolving the room, otherwise known as our psyche or internal space, fortitude or spirit, which may relate to our physical place for consideration, and Gaston Bachelard, author of Poetics of Space, would say, and as the roofing implies an attic space, upgrading our clarity of mind.

In a person’s life, the afternoon can relate to our 50’s, where one is still active and thriving, where one can change and benefit from new shafts of light or ideas or formulations, and one is equally capable of expanding the disseminating knowledge, contributing to the world we participate in, improving it with upgraded presentment. Youds work articulates and advances Platonic metaphysics, dividing the line, multiplying it, making it vertical, active and interactive. Visibility and intelligibility are synonymous in his work. Youds makes his florescent, luminescent lines dance on a cedar rooftop, indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, framed by the square of a window that we have seen in more incisive detail in Erickson’s cabin, another kind of cave. In this work, the hold, the repose is beneath the tilting slats, protecting the mindful interiors where the form of synchronistic ideas, connected with electric possibility are simultaneously exposed and supported by the framework of straightforward, humble roofing architecture. Circular holes, discreet round apertures in the roof allow the breadth of something more, where the void is a possibility, and sublimates the sunny shines within Erickson’s cabin. Robert Youds reveals fortitude in the material of illumination through inherent, enduring inspiration, distilling the light of his poetry on us.

[1] James D. Law, Here and There in Two Hemispheres (Lancaster: Home Publishing Co., 1903), pp. 111–12n.
[2] Martin, Sandra. "The greatest architect we have ever produced," The Globe and Mail, Friday, May 22, 2009.

s:Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tyler Hodgins “Sleeping Bag “ review by Debora Alanna

The Victoria public may have or will encounter Hodgins’ series of sculptures, “Sleeping Bag”, a blue frozen figure lying on a bench Centennial Square (February 4), Stadacona Park , Begbie St (February 11), and will be (February 18) on Government St., in from of the Bay, (February 18) in Harris Green at Cook St (at Pandora), (February 25) Songhees near Johnson St. Bridge, (March 3), (March 10) Cridge Park, (Blanshard near St Anne’s Academy), (March 17) Galloping Goose near Selkirk Trestle Corner where Blanshard meets Douglas, (March 24) Beacon Hill Park, north border near Southgate and Douglas St., (March 31) Chinatown Fisgard St (homeless handmade bench), (April 7) Beacon Hill Park, north border near Southgate and Douglas St., (April 14) Beacon Hill Park, public washrooms, Government St., (April 21) in front of Empress, and (May 5) Centennial Square, in front of CRD building. The calendar can be viewed here:http://aggv.ca/sites/default/files/Sleeping-Bag-handout.pdf

Within the spirit of Throw Down, Tyler Hodgins benches us. As judges, influencing a bitter social plight, he gives us the power of deliberation. Meeting with Hodgins’ works, the reverberation of homelessness encapsulated, our incredulity is sustained, and drips, puddles unavoidably at our feet. His pigmented works, icy, melting renditions of homeless people asleep disappear as warmer temperatures interact with the frozen substance. Significantly transient, Hodgins’ effectively presents a pensively haunting, difficult existence within our neighbourhoods. Each unique figure in repose, faceless and dissolving our segregation from the seemingly remote suggestion of itinerant vagrants occupying our public space, is painfully rough. The blue indecency of implication discomforts, and entails how our perception of a “Sleeping Bag” is humanly offensive. Hodgins blue melt is the blue of exasperation, the blue of a contusion on our proud landscape. A sky blue, a pretty blue, but sadly cold.

In 2010, BDDP & Fils the logo for the Abbée Pierre Foundation, who draw attention and collect aid for the Paris homeless created a melting ice man with a sign: “L’été les SDF** meurent autant que l’hiver. AGISSONS.” (The homeless die as much in summer as in winter. ACT.)Since 2005, Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo has installed melting figures to alert the public and reflect on global warming. Last September , she created a 1000 miniature people, Melting Men in Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt square to publicize melting ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica, instructive work posing the possibility that we will all, one day befall homelessness, or at least be unsettled, dispossessed.

Hodgins brings the frozen sculpture, “Sleeping Bag” molded to realize a person, sleeping and housed within a bundle on a bench into our immediate environment, and consideration. If we were camping, and in a forest or by a stream or lake, we would bring our portable sleeping arrangement with us for our comfort, and bundle up nicely in our sleeping bag, to return to our homes, when refreshed. However, when a person sleeps in a sleeping bag on a park bench, the assumption is we are not likely encountering a vacationing individual, or traveler. However advantaged a dissolving individual might be, having a sleeping bag to sleep in, Hodgins instructs us in the prevalence of homelessness in Victoria, how we can disappear progressively, inconspicuously. The collective ‘we’ here is important. The 2010-11 “Report on Housing and Supports” by the Coalition to End Homelessness with UVic researchers found $5,049.33 was the living wage for family of four for one month, $1,313.67 was the minimum wage for one month at $8/hr (BC), $661.67, the monthly basic income assistance for a single person for one month (BC), $665 was the average rent for a bachelor unit; 2,235 households receive the BC Housing rent supplements, 1,143 individuals were seeking temporary accommodation; 1,958 unique individuals used 5 out of 6 emergency shelters in 12 months, 95% shelter occupancy was the rate over the year; 91 people, including 25 children, were turned away from temporary accommodations, and in 2011, 79 families identified in that count, including 112 children.

“Sleeping Bag” thaws the resistance to accepting myths of the visibly homeless that judges compromised people with mental or addictions. People with disabilities, seniors on fixed incomes, single parents, and people transitioning from abuse, the working poor are included in the homeless population. Anybody who lives from paycheck to paycheck is one paycheck away from homelessness.[1] What is striking, inflexible and frightening is Hodgins’ ability to mark his interpretation of a homeless sleeper with the freezing blue tint of despair, and he melts us.

Tyler Hodgins
“Sleeping Bag”
Off site work from the exhibition: THROW DOWN
Curator: Nicole Stanbridge The LAB & Centennial Galleries
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
January 27, 2012 - May 6, 2012

[1] http://www.solvehomelessness.ca/news.html?n=44

Monday, January 30, 2012

Off Label by Debora Alanna (Digital Art Weeks 2011 - DAW11)

Here is the 'Report' I wrote (with pictures) on the Digital Art Weeks 2011 International event (DAW11) 

'The Off Label Festival' that took place in Victoria last autumn. 



OFF Label Festival Review by Debora Alanna


The OFF Label Festival is attributed to Digital Arts International Network group headed by the American/Swiss Artist and Curator Arthur Clay, collaborating with host institutes worldwide. Digital Art Weeks (DAW) focused on analogue arts, with divergent eclecticism and spirituality for this year’s festival, augmenting DAW’s art and technology in culture methodology.