Volume 96, Issue 66
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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Artworks Sprawl across the nation

Exhibit: Sprawl: Beyond the Field of Vision
Various Artists
Location: Museum London (421 Ridout St.)

By Katy James
Gazette Staff

Scott Bielby/Gazette
TAKING FLIGHT IN MUSEUM LONDON. Joyce Majiski's exhibit in Sprawl features 30 silk-screened birds suspended from the ceiling.

Sprawl: Beyond the Field of Vision is a national exhibit featuring six artists, spanning from Saskatchewan to the Yukon Territories. The exhibit is an intriguing compilation of contemporary pieces displayed through a variety of mediums: suspended birds made of handmade paper, audio and visual equipment and photography all work together to convey the artists' individual perceptions of time and space. The what and where of that time and space are left to the audience's imagination, infusing the exhibit with an enchanting flavour.

Several of the pieces are fairly abstract, reflecting the busy nature of modern culture and the stresses of that all-too-familiar lifestyle. At the same time, however, the pieces come together with a soothing simplicity. One of the more tranquil pieces, "Taking Flight," is an arrangement of 30 silk-screened birds, created by Joyce Majiski from Whitehorse.

According to Majiski, this is her third bird-based exhibit and by far the most complicated. After creating the birds from fibres of old clothes, it took Majiski four days to suspend the birds in just the right way to give the notion of taking flight.

At one end of the display is an aerial view of a glacier scene, while at the other end is a picture of a huge tree from a ground-up perspective. The birds hang from the ceiling by an invisible string, and by walking among them, one is able to achieve a sense of taking flight with the birds.

Another display, simple in its design yet effective in its message, is "The Distance Between Us," by Nadia Myre. To create the exhibit, Myre placed a large table with two chairs at either end as the only items in a large room with red walls. In stark contrast to the table is the phrase THE DISTANCE BE-TWEEN US, making an interesting statement on human relationships.

The only male contributor to the exhibit, Ted Hiebert, created another mentionable piece. Hiebert's exhibit consists of several untitled self-portraits, digitally altered to include strange appearances of colour and choppy shapes. Hieberts' figure itself is barely recognizable in the pictures, but his pupils stand out eerily amongst all the confusion.

At first glance, Sprawl is a mixed-up collection of abstract self-portraits, nature displays and sporadic pictures. However, upon closer examination, the pieces really do come together and reflect not only the artists' perception of their individual landscapes, but a societal vision of where we are now.


Sprawl: Beyond the Field of Vision runs at Museum London until Mar. 31.

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2002 THE GAZETTE