Contact / drink
Notions of the body and site bring together the works of Barbara Meneley (Regina) and Kristin Nelson (Winnipeg). Meneley’s Contact series consists of performances for video that explore and express embodied engagement with contested and colonized sites, based on “contact improvisation,” a form of contemporary dance. Nelson will present an audio and textile installation comprised of woven paper cups and recordings of protected bodies of water at Riding Mountain National Park. Nelson’s project addresses the excesses of consumer culture as they impact water resources. Meneley’s ongoing project investigates Canadian national imaginaries and her own position as a self-defined contemporary settler / settler descendant / treaty person on this land, as well as a unique approach to viewing the land as a collaborator. Meneley’s investigations complement Nelson’s exploration of different forms of labour in relation to the body, making multiples, and the land.
A series of performance video works that explore and express embodied engagement with site, Contact explores potential(s) for human physical engagement and dialogues with land. Based on "contact improvisation," a form of contemporary dance in which movement dialogues are developed through weight-sharing and physical touch, each of the three videos in Contact chronicles the artist’s extension of these principles into embodied engagement with site.
The performances documented in Contact were enacted over a two year period in two locations; unceded K'ómoks First Nation Territory on Vancouver Island, BC, and outside Saskatoon on Treaty 6 territory as part of the In the Hole residency with artist Linda Duvall.
BARBARA MENELEY: is a prairie-based visual artist whose interdisciplinary site responsive work engages with the landscapes and foundations of contemporary society and culture; colonial structures and contemporary settler relationships to site. Her work evolves through contemporary intermedia art---writing, site-responsive installation, media, performance, community engagement, curation, and social practice. Barbara has presented, exhibited, performed and screened her work widely in Canada and the U.S., including Modern Fuel Gallery, Dunlop Art Gallery, Glenbow Museum Theatre, and Art Gallery of Regina. Barbara's artwork and writing has been featured in Public, Fuse Magazine, Canadian Art Review, and Lalit Kala Contemporary in New Delhi. Barbara holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen's University, and an MFA in Intermedia from the University of Regina.
From 2017 onward, disposable cups were woven on a floor loom in cotton by some of Riding Mountain National Park's most stunning lakes and in the artists studio. Kristin Nelson invited people to have a drink using these cups in a series of performative servings of water at water coolers, by lakes, and by the river. The continuous making, serving and destruction of cups is presented here in its final installation of drink.
drink is an overt commentary on our precious natural resources and the effects of our consumer culture on them.
"I investigate and ennoble different forms of labour through the re-presentation of mass manufactured objects. Repetition, reproduction and the re-appropriation of technologies are strategies used to make my work's various relationships to my body evident. Often, my attempt is to reposition how we value labour beyond a Capitalist or Marxist value approach. This repositioning of labour - as seen through a disability studies lens - places value on the body itself, instead of on what the labouring body produces.
"The language of manufacture is played out through the creation of multiples. I apply this language of manufacture using multiples to raise questions about social, political and aesthetic boundaries in the interest of artistic, intellectual and manual labour. With this work, my aim is to append a particular value to all objects, despite the objects' place within or outside of a capitalist construct. Regarding art, the questions, 'Is art valuable' or, 'Does art matter' become irrelevant to me in the production of art and the labour involved in its creation. For me, the value of all objects lies inevitably in each object's relation to labouring time."
KRISTIN NELSON was born in Ajax Ontario, received her BFA in Visual Arts at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (2003) and an MFA at Concordia University (2014). Through a process of examination and re-contextualization, she transforms mundane subjects into larger social concerns. Kristin completed a Riding Mountain Artist Residency (2017), a Canada Council International Residency at Artspace in Sydney Australia (2015) and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (2008). She has exhibited work across Canada at Musée Regional de Rimouski, Parisian Laundry and Skol (Québec); Art Toronto, Art + Design IDEA/EXCHANGE and Edition Toronto 2 (Ontario); and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, La maison des artistes visuels francophone, Plug In ICA, Actual and RAW Gallery (Manitoba). Her work has shown internationally at Museo Textil de Oaxaca in Oaxaca, México and in Austin, Texas. Kristin has been a mentor for women identified artists at MAWA and is on the board of Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba and Plug In ICA. She previously served on the board of directors for the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Manitoba Craft Council and the Manitoba Printmakers Association Inc. Her work is available through Lisa Kehler Art + Projects and is in private and public collections including those of Boralex, BMO, the Province of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
(left) Kristin Nelson, drink, cotton and wax, hand woven cups. 2017-18
(right) Barbara Meneley, Contact, still from performance video. 2018.