In: Mark Walton
Ana Žanić – One Breath – Femme Folks Fest RepostMarch 15, 2022
The first time you see Ana Žanić’s watercolor and pencil artwork is like taking a sharp blow to the limbic system. Every one of your senses screams “I know this” but cannot figure out what “this” is or why it knows it. They take on the form of something both organic and subliminal, communicating to us of the past (back to pre-history) and our deeply troubled emotional state we find ourselves in through the pandemic.
Her colour palettes are very natural and gently reassuring… mother earth will take us back into her bosom and help us heal. The meticulous marks speak of long journeys past, and reach out to our future selves to remind us that we have struggled before and have overcome those obstacles… we can do it again.
I reached out to Ana and asked her a few questions.Read More
Stéphany Gagnon – Cinéma / Cinema – Femme Folks FestMarch 15, 2022
Stéphany Gagnon | Cinema
I am of an age where I remember receiving a copy of the Canadian Children’s Annual every year for christmas from my parents. I recently purchased a used copy of the 1976 version, the original lost long ago during a past relocation between cities. These books contained what were among the first artworks that I ever inteacted with… in 1975 with a cover by William Kurelek, in 1976 by Lynn Frank (Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse fame), in 1977 by Toller Cranston and in 1978 by Ken Danby. These were not lightweight artists. Each were on their way to becoming, or already were, prominent Canadian artists.
Leafing through, I was pleasantly surprised at the memories that were brought back by the illustrations in the book… I remembered every one of those images very clearly. Not only the images, but memories of the rooms, emotions and peoples that are forever tied to those images sprang my mind. It was an like instant recall machine.
The illustraions and paintings of Montreal’s Stéphany Gagnon seem to me to have a similar magic to them. Gagnon’s work is deeply personal, with great attention to detail. It can be ethereally dreamy, but also lucid dreamy, as shown by Cinéma (above) and Lemonade Stand (below). Both seem to tug at places in your brain, looking for memories to associate with them. They are in some sense, lost art, looking for a home.
You can view (and purchase) more of Stéphany’s work on her Instgram page @stephanylitchi.
~ Mark WaltonRead More
Karolina Kuras – Romance, Flight and Fluidity – Femme Folks FestMarch 14, 2022
Karolina Kuras Romance, Flight & Fluidity by Mark Walton ~ Karolina Kuras The COVERT Collective is pleased to be participating in Femme... Read More
Kary Janousek – Connecting to HistoryMarch 11, 2022
Kary Janousek Connecting to History Wind - Kary Janousek Kary Janousek is a prairie transplant. She found herself living in Fargo,... Read More
I Say Tomato… Femme Folks Fest 2022 RepostMarch 10, 2022
“They took it down and it said, you violated our community standards on nudity and sex… I objected and I clicked the “This is not what it seems” option or “not what you think it is” or whatever it was. They reinstated (the post) and they sent me a notice of reinstatement with a little thumbnail of the damn tomato… which I took a screenshot of and posted to say I’ve been reinstated… and they banned me again.”
Ruth Dick is a prolific photographer from Ottawa. She was one of our very first featured artists here at curated. where I wrote:
“Ruth Dick is a master at capturing the solitary. Almost every image she takes focuses intently on a single object, somehow stimulating a desire to engage in self-reflection… Like O’Keefe, Ruth is able to conjure up form and substance in abstract ways that deftly imbue her images with fresh import. A pepper is not a pepper.”
Things are still not quite what they seem. Her racy photographs have recently caused quite a bit of controversy, and have even been meta-banned. I spoke to Ruth about the implications of this in a recent conversation. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.
More images by Ruth can be enjoyed on her Instagram account @photos_uncurated. ~ Mark WaltonRead More
Put sunflower seeds in your pocket so they grow when you die | Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. 1889February 26, 2022
Put sunflower seeds in your pocket so they grow when you die | Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. 1889
It is an understatement to say that many of us have Ukraine in our thoughts, right now. Historians have commented that coverage of many past conflicts have been defined by technological advancements (such as Vietnam with television, or the first Persian Gulf conflict, with it’s almost video game style graphics); the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has already become one that is being seen – and perhaps shaped – by the internet, with streaming and social media.
A recent exchange between a brave Ukrainian woman and Russian soldiers brought to mind the work we’re featuring here (Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers).
From The Guardian: “A woman is being hailed on social media after she confronted a heavily armed Russian soldier and offered him sunflower seeds – so that flowers would grow if he died there on Ukraine’s soil. ‘You’re occupants, you’re fascists,’ she shouts, standing about a metre from the soldier.”
She goes on to command them to “take these seeds and put them in your pockets so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.”
You can see the video of that interaction here.
If it seems a bit crass to cite Van Gogh here, it’s good to remember his work has become a symbol of hope against adversity, of beauty in the midst of pain and suffering, and – possibly – that there is more good than bad in the world. Or, perhaps, it’s more about defiance in the face of difficult odds, and how history – against our trepidations – can be an appropriate judge of contemporary events.
There’s a number of ways you can support the people of Ukraine here, and it’s worth noting that Canada has the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population, so our neighbours and friends are surely watching this with hope and fear. ~ Bart Gazzola & Mark WaltonRead More
Heather Franklin | FluNovember 22, 2021
Context is everything.
I first saw Flu, by Heather Franklin, in 2010. Heather, the Director of The Button Factory, Waterloo Ontario’s Community Arts Centre, made this drypoint print in 2006, drawn from a photo of three men during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918.
What drew me to the image was its strangeness. Three men, obviously out of doors (as indicated by the skewed horizon line, so likely to be farmers), in masks, facing an invisible, deadly threat. The title gave away the timeline and narrowed the reason for their masked anonymity to a necessity rather than a choice – they were not running from the law. But the masks still made them “others”, unrecognizable, in a situation I could not fathom. The print carried with it a sense of the uncanny, with a deep sense of foreboding.
In 2021, these men have become very knowable. They are us. They are simple people, dealing with a situation beyond their control in the simplest way they can. Now I find myself less concerned with the contagion swirling around them than with the economic straits they find themselves in, how their families are coping, whether or not they have lost loved ones. They have become human where once they were alien.
You can find more of Heather’s fine illustrations on her Instagram account @heathersphotophoto.
~ Mark WaltonRead More