Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lectures at RCAV

I encourage everyone to get down to the Hall tonight to catch Gerard Curtis, Jennifer Dyer and Bruce Johnson give talks at 7pm.

Kathy Browning and Susan Jamieson at RCA

I was at the opening of this show back in January and have been conflicted about what, if anything, I should write about the experience since.

I was tempted, and had even decided, that I'd just ignore the whole thing and hope it would go away (which almost worked, as this show comes down on February 25th), but something kept gnawing at me. It was this: if I were willing to just let it go, to ignore the show, how was I, as self-appointed critic and visual arts supporter, any different than the numerous artists in Newfoundland whose perceived slights and grievances cause them to trash-talk one another at the drop of a hat?

So, fuck it, here goes:

The work in Shift is simply not of professional calibre.

Jamieson's paintings are pseudo-Impressionist/pseudo-Expressionist renderings of stormy seas, big waves, and so on, that we've all seen a million times already, with the difference being they aren't very well done. They date from 1979 all the way up to 2007, and there doesn't really appear to be much progression or change in terms of her practice, such as it is. For what it's worth, I liked the oldest one the most of any of them.

Browning, it seems, has taken a crack at the digital image game, presenting a series of photos of icebergs emblazoned with other images of trees, rock faces and other facets of the landscape not usually found on the surface of icebergs. If the best art is read in terms of a poetic fusion of form and content, then this work might be seen as a commentary on how the digital age has resulted in a confusion between what's an iceberg and what's a line of trees. Or something.

The images also don't do well in terms of their size, as they look as though they were printed on a home computer, and don't stray much beyond the 81/2" by 11" paper size.

Anyway, I guess we can always hope that Shift lives up to its name, and marks the beginning of a sea-change in what RCAV has decided to show. Time will tell.