Maker’s artist Michelle Bellemare kills at UWAG

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It’s not a trick photo. It is the amazing work Casket (2006/2007) by Toronto-based artist Michelle Bellemare with my good friend Melissa Doherty’s feet in frame for scale. The opening reception at UWAG for this show When push comes to shove, curated by Ivan Jurakic, went down on Thursday night.

Sarah Kernohan reached out earlier in the week to invite me to the concurrent open house at UWAG of the MFA students. Then on Thursday morning, Agnes Niewiadomski shot me an email to say get down to UWAG. Later Thursday, Brohemus said we had to start Brother Night with a stop at UWAG. Apparently Melissa had shot us an invite. Ok!

The TL;DR: go see this show. It runs through March 7 in Gallery One at UWAG on Phillip Street in Waterloo. It inhabits an intersection of engaging concepts, makerly engineering, and flawless execution. High five!

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My first visit to UWAG. Nice gallery. I’ve played with notions of scale in my photography and I’m a fan of Claes Oldenburg, so I’m predisposed to love this work.

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Oh hey, as I was walking into Gallery One I saw our very recognizable FLASH poster. Photography!

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This is the fresh piece, Nervous System. This heaving otherworldly powerbar chaotically plugs into itself and stands alone powering nothing. Again we see excellent execution of molded plastic and plugs that took me into the uncanny valley of what I should process as an everyday object, but which unsettles me how it diverges from the familiar.

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UWAG Director and show curator, Ivan Jurakic, introduced the show.

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Here’s a funny connection for you: twenty-many years ago, Ivan and I were classmates in the excellent Fine Art program at The University of Guelph. Memory is a bit foggy, but I recall we had an upper year drawing class with Walter Bachinski and a sculpture class with Rob Curley. It’s safe to say I took a more circuitous route to the arts.

Oh hey, Ivan lives just off James North in Hamilton, so we high-fived for my Supercrawl experience last year.

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Ivan takes Best in Shoe.

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Artist Dave Dyment had his installation Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe just around the corner in Gallery Two.

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Just around…

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the corner in Gallery Two…

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Brohemus and I found Dave Dyment’s piece Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe.

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This required some post-show googling and youtubing for me to completely grasp the concept. Fortunately, I’m old enough to have watched the St. Elsewhere series in real-time. Broj and I noted the clustering around the Sesame Street node. Sunny days, indeed.

Good on ya, UWAG and artists. I got so caught up in Gallery One that I completely missed the MFA student open house. And then we had to bolt to Downtown Kitchener to catch the bottom half of 3rdThursday photo review at George Briggs. Art is everywhere in WR; you just need to leave your sofa to find it.


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