December 3 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 53  

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Exhibition: Ports of Call — A Show About Exploration
Dates: Now through Dec. 4, 2003
Location: Art Lab, John Labatt Visual Arts Centre

By Laura Kobetz
Gazette Writer

In the second exhibition from the curatorial practices class (VAS 293), everything from notions of place and space to self-experience are examined. Ports of Call is curated by 12 students in the class, who divided up the gallery space in order to create a smooth collaboration of the submitted videos, paintings and simulated environments which relate back to the show’s theme of exploration.

In one of the enclosed spaces, artist Alisa Mamak simulates the rejuvenating atmosphere of a forest at night, complete with the smell of fresh pine and protruding, pointy branches, which catch on your clothes as you walk through it.

The other installed room contains the work of Rosie Cook, entitled “Passion/Aggression.” Every part of the room is covered in floral prints, from the bed, pillows and wallpaper, to the paintings on the wall, which are partly flowered and partly naked portrait paintings. A sight like this certainly brings to mind a feeling of intimacy, which becomes intensified upon closer inspection of the thoughts scribbled on the wallpaper. Sentences like, “I want you to give it to me” and “What’s your fuckin’ problem? Can’t you get off your high horse for two seconds and come over here and touch me for once?” shatter the misinterpreted flowery comfort felt upon entering the room.

Particularly pleasing are the paintings hung around the gallery, which each embody the subject of the show in their own unique way. Among these is the untitled work of Pearl Seferian, which inspects locations where genocide and exile have occurred, by labelling images of different bone structures with cities and areas around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Conrad Chen’s “Alley” delves into the notion of the unseen, portraying a dark alleyway that leaves the eye searching for clues. Body image is the subject of Emma Hassin’s textured multimedia series, appropriately titled “Bra and Undies.”

This visual arts class is proving to be an excellent team when pulling off art shows, as they succeed, once again, in tying several disjointed works together under one practical theme. This thought-provoking exhibit should definitely be, well, explored.



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