Arts Commons Presents
These objects that i have unearthed from the bottom of my drawer, Oracles of Nature, With Her, I Am, and Nashpati
Chelsea Yang-Smith,Francis A Willey, Samantha Charette, Sana Makhdoom
Location: Window Galleries (across from Max Bell Theatre in Arts Commons)
Dates: December 7, 2018 - March 1, 2019
Artist Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019
Chelsea Yang-Smith: This body of work is a continuation of personal research on the interstices of intimacy and technology from the lens of a millennial user. As technology continues to improve to better serve its user, it starts to replace old behaviours and mannerisms. For example, the introduction of facebook “on this day” reminders, an algorithm designed to remind users of events and memories that occurred historically a year (or three) ago. The purpose of this algorithm is to inject personalized nostalgia into the viewer’s newsfeed, triggering an artificial moment of happiness and affection—that can also be shared with friends and family.
Similar to its digital counterpart (on this day reminders) the work draws metaphorical connections to memories and forgotten objects that collect at the bottom of a drawer. We understandably value these objects for their emotional significance and purpose in reminding us of the past. Using fragments of conversation, confessional text, and photographs, the work is an intentional effort to subvert this artificial intimacy and present an honest form of nostalgia.
This dichotomy of virtual and physical, artificial and organic, is emphasized through the bodily creation of the work. The photographic processes involved utilize both analogue and digital as each image is shot on a film camera and developed, digitally scanned and manipulated in Photoshop, and then reproduced as a large-scale physical print.
Francis Willey: As a traditional 35 mm film photographer, I plan on framing and displaying elegantly in antique frames that reflect the grace and inspire those who are compelled to look. To elevate and potentially stir a dialogue and hopefully transport the viewer to another time and place. As a traditional 35 mm film photographer, I plan on framing and displaying elegantly in antique frames that reflect the grace and inspire those who are compelled to look. To elevate and potentially stir a dialogue and hopefully transport the viewer to another time and place.
Samantha Charette: The series ‘With Her, I Am’ explores themes of the female identity, the female body and self-portraiture and the role of the female artist in contemporary figurative painting. This series is in conversation with a select group of female artist currently working with similar themes to engage with my own expressions as well as theirs in a thoughtful visual way. The artists I selected to work in conversation with were Jordan Casteel, Mira Dancy, Tschabalala Self, Grace Weaver and Sanam Khatibi. These artists were selected because of the social and political issues that they address in their work, with my aim being to open up a dialogue about what it means today to be a young female artist working with the female identity and form in contemporary painting.
Sana Makhdoom: Within the last few years, I have reconnected with the foundation of my identity: my familial roots in Pakistan and strict Islamic background. Therefore, my work is centered on the ideas and inspirations behind reclaiming this aspect of my identity. As a member of the arts community, I have noticed that while it fosters a diverse scene, I feel as though there still is a lack of representation of female Southeast-Asian artists within this community. One of my main intentions is to contribute, however I can, to a safe space for Indian and Pakistani women within the Calgary arts scene. My work mainly consists of a series of paintings depicting women who have made an impact on my relationships and personal life. These pieces are meant to evoke feelings of melancholy through the stoic expressions of the subjects. I use deep colours and flat tones in an attempt to make the viewer feel the disparity and isolation women of colour often face. With the intention of engaging in a conversation on diaspora identities, I aim to translate the feelings of distance and reconciliation of my Pakistani upbringing in Canada.
Chelsea Yang - Smith is an emerging artist in Calgary, Alberta. She employs a hybrid of digital and analogue photographic techniques to create haunting photographs that investigate intersectional feminism, emotional intimacy and vulnerability in a digital era, and human connection through technology.Yang-Smith earned a Bachelor of Design in Photography from the Alberta College of Art + Design (2016). She is a former Photography Practicum of the Banff Centre for Creativity + Arts (2017) and lives and works in Calgary as a freelance photographer. Her photographs have been notably featured in issues of Canadian Art and Studio Magazine.
Francis A. Willey is an Albertan born autodidact traditional 35mm film photographer and poet. For over two decades his work has been exhibited, published and awarded internationally.Exhibiting in NYC, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris and Italy, his photographs are in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and have been included in the National Gallery of London archives. One of his photographic books Ghost was awarded the 3rd place prize at the PX3 in Paris for Fine Art Book.His iconic image entitled ‘BLINDNESS’ has had a political and social reverberation, through deliberate appropriation in various cultures and religions.
Samantha Charette is a visual artist from London Ontario and recent Bachelors of Fine Art graduate from the University of Alberta in painting and printmaking. Currently working and residing in Calgary Alberta, her interests include female identity and representation, constructions and deconstructions of identity in the digital world among other topics of interest and study. Recent initiatives include working with the City off Calgary in public art projects, solo and group gallery exhibitions, and studio residencies with the Alberta Collage of Art and Design and Calgary Allied Arts Foundation.
Sana Makhdoom is a painter and illustrator. A first generation Canadian raised in a traditional South Asian home, her works attempt to celebrate and observe elements of both her western culture and Pakistani background. Often monumentally scaled with exaggerated features, flat tones and stoic expressions, the subjects are influenced by the artists’ current and past relationships with women who have made an impact on her life.