Youth Movement" by Kelly Martine in Uptown Magazine
review of the exhibition Young Winnipeg Artists at Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg
Diverse voices, styles abound in new crop of Winnipeg artists
Winnipeggers have a reputation as self-deprecating folks, but that image went out the window last Friday, when a large, enthusiastic crowd descended upon the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art to celebrate the opening of a new multi media exhibition featuring the work of 15 local young artists, ranging in age from their early 20’s to mid-30’s.
Young Winnipeg Artists includes recent paintings by Roger Crait, Simon Hughes, Jake Kosciuk, Shaun Morin, Melanie Rocan and Lisa Wood; installation art by KC Adams, Risa Horowitz and Erika Lincoln; photo-based work Dominique Rey, Les Newman, Chris MacDonald and Veronica Preweda; and mixed media work by Parminder Obhi and Cyrus Smith.
Timing the exhibit to coincide with a prestigious New York show at The Drawing Centre, where several artists from Winnipeg’s Royal Art Lodge Collective are being recognized, Curators Cliff Eyland and Carol Phillips wanted to draw attention to innovative Winnipeg artists here at home.
“There is an explosion of talent in this generation. We are reacting to what is going on right now in our community,” says Eyland. “This show brings together some lone voices who hunker down for the winter and make art.”
Uptown had the opportunity to speak with several of the artists regarding their work. Diverse in both artistic style and subject matter, this group shares a common passion for their craft.
In Cyborg Living Space, KC Adams takes a critical look at how society idealizes nature and technology. The piece is activated as viewers submerge themselves in a white wonderland by sitting “like a cyborg” on a pristine white chair surrounded by fuzzy white carpet and white drawings on a white wall to watch a short DVD or surveillance tapes of the gallery. Influenced by the decorating world of Martha Stewart, Adams says the piece is about “capturing the impossible dream or lifestyle.
“Cyborgs are the ideal fusion of nature and technology that allows me to play with fantasy,” she explains.
Photographing playful dioramas, artist Veronica Preweda explores religious themes in a light-hearted way, using cherished objects from her childhood. In her take-off on Di Vinci’s famous portrait, Preweda’s photograph entitled The Last Supper has Gumby and his Pez-dispenser apostles, including Spiderman and Barney Rubble, sit down to a final meal of candy and Kool-Aid.
“Childhood is my inspiration for my work,” says Preweda. “When you reach a certain age you tend to think it has to end and that it ends quicker than it should. With this work, where toys have their own little universe, it is make believe but in a more mature elevated way,”
Baring herself literally and figuratively in an oil-on-canvas self-portrait, in which she wears just a bra and nylons, painter Lisa Wood explores themes of gender identity, body image and reconstructed femininity. Created from a reflection that symbolically mirrors issues in our society, this semi nude image exposes certain truths; however, the artist says her body language and gaze also build barriers.