236 Pender St East,
Click through to view artist James Nexw'Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry's presentation on Exploring Coast Salish Design.
Until 29 February 2024
T. +1 604.683.7395
13 March–30 March 1990
Curated by: Nancy Shaw
The works in News, while being separately conceived discrete objects, function interactively in the gallery space, both in relation to each other and collectively, to inform the viewer’s position. Elliott investigates notions of time and space in relationship to representation, object making, history, language and gender.
Upon entering the Or Gallery via a vestibule, the sculptural assemblage First Clock presents an object of time rather than an image, which in effect locates time within an historical framework. First Clock is constructed of angle iron and K2 partide board with a mirror facing upwards from right angles mounted on the upper third of the K2 plane. The mirror reveals not the viewer, but rather the underside of an old school handbell within which the dapper has already completed its trajectory through time and space. The bell is tipped, indicating a time already activated. More specifically, the bell refers to a transition from a concept of time that is seasonal and organic to a modern notion of time that is mechanistic and regimented. According to Lewis Mumford, the bell was first used in monasteries during the 14th century as an object which when rung, demarcated the rigid and regimented times for worship and duty to God, and as such, appears to be the first manifestation of a modern conception of institutional time.
The Clock paintings mimic the narrative in a minimalist schematic of analogue time. Constructed as a figure/ground problem, the viewer’s eye and body is given the movement of 12 coloured rectangles to trace across their placement on the gallery wall. This foregrounds the dependence of position and orientation specific to the context of a narrative reading of painting. In a similar fashion, the paintings entitled Quotes are mounted at a theoretical crotch level and function as a droll comment on the ability of painting to narrate and quote itself, and that of the modernist gallery space itself to quote such tendencies.
Study for Subject Matter is a precursor to Newspleces. This is a small still life study after Cezanne, rendered in india ink, oil stick and charcoal on printed newspaper. This piece arises from such problems confronting the artist such as what constitutes subject matter, or for that matter a subject, while the materials are determined by the economic constraints of the artist.
Newspleces question the presumptions of representation-what does it mean to represent, to be represented? How is it possible to make a picture or construct an image? What does it mean as women, in this instance, to experience the reification or assumption of self after representation. By editing, cropping and presenting these images of women as news, and placing them in the terms of an ephemeral print media literacy, the relations between the actual lives of women and what in such lives could be considered newsworthy are thereby gendered and problematized.
Invention borrows a Klimpt pose to show the body and reciprocated gaze of an actively pregnant women in the built environment of the city. In Recovery as News, we find a grouping of women in an abortion clinic again returning our gaze from a socially constructed space of confrontation. Self Portrait as News gives us an image of the artist as a pedestrian in city traffic – the impossible girl flaneur. Two 13 year old girls are under implication of becoming Virgins as they pore over image/role constructs in magazines, compare ideas over junk food, thus existing within a condition that is really only conceptually possible in the past tense.
Purse evolved through drawings from a simple post and lintel constructivist sculpture to a model of feminine space inspired in particular by the autobiographic writing of George Sand. As a single mother at that time, it was impossible for her to move freely in public as a woman, even to buy groceries, let alone as flaneur. Under her male dress, her female purse, carrying and containing all her tools and necessities, becomes the transitional space linking the domestic and public spheres. Standing outside of the gallery proper, the letters ‘M’, ‘R’ and ‘r’ can be seen mounted one on each of the visible walls. It is only by entering the gallery – penetrating this deeply gendered space – that the possibility for the female within the gallery space can be realized. By reversing one’s orientation within this space and sighting the’S’ mounted on the wall of entry one can partially correct the gender imbalance, yet it is only through the ‘S’ possessive to Mr or as additive that this can be done. Elliott’s reading of Jane Austin on the structures of marriage, arranged and chosen, and her concerns with the relations of marriage and modernity, are here broken into parts and reconstructed in the terms of modernist space, The experience of the spatial relations to the viewer’s orientation and movements give some sense of Elliott’s predicament as an artist and art historian who, as female, may only act within the space of modernism in a pact, or compromise, of marriage to modernism.
Brochure by Dorothy Trujillo Lusk
News Opens Mar 13 and runs until Mar 31 1990, Or Gallery
Hours: 12-5 Tues to Sat.
Contact Nancy Shaw, Curator at 683-7395
We are located at 314 W. Hastings, Vancouver.
The artist would like to thank Pauline Conley and Rolf K.