Open Studios at the Banff Centre

 

 

On Wednesday the Creative Futures crowd opened their studios to the public, and on Friday the wonderful themed residency, Dizziness of Correspondences, opened theirs. I’ve decided to fuse posts and showcase a little of what was shared.   The first up was my studio – a collection of works posted on the walls and on top of the piano (excerpts from Flesh of the Peach and some concrete poetry on a landscape theme), and some origami poems:

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

These required audience interaction, of course. Some of them opened to reveal lines of poetry, another invented past lives, and one cursed the user with various Greco-Roman spells. I had a realisation a few days ago that I want to make a chapbook on fortune and magic using some of these origami patterns alongside flash fictions (such as Boy Cyclops, also on this theme).

 

I also read two extracts from Flesh of the Peach. though in this picture you can only see some of who came to listen – the whole place, as with every studio, was packed:

 

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

I had been horribly nervous beforehand. An Australian writer who is staying at the Banff Centre, Mary-Rose MacColl, passed on some excellent advice – ‘fall into the reading’. I took it to mean diving into a very temporary meditative state, just focusing on the text itself and not getting tangled up in the presence of the crowd. Afterwards, several people came up to me with kind words and requests to read the novel, and I had a drink and got to enjoy everyone else’s studios.

 

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

Here’s Playwright Stef Smith at her studio, having given a short performance with two others, as well as reading a poem dedicated to the Banff Centre experience. It went down very well with the audience. In fact, her poem is going to be featured on the Centre’s radio station come January. Links to that later.

 

Next up was David Cooper‘s exhibition.

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

 

I really love David’s pictures of mountain landscapes – hopefully he is going to have a show in Glasgow some time in the next few months.

 

Lastly, Karen Vaughan‘s studio, showing her photographs and screen prints. Unfortunately, there are no pictures (unless anyone has any they’d like to forward on?). But the work was excellent (as you’ll see if you click through her name to her website), and the venue perfect for the after-party. This only ended after all the alcohol was going (not that long, with so many people), and we all went out to the on-campus bar, Maclab, to round off the celebration.

 

Now for the Dizziness of Correspondences! I can’t possibly talk about everyone – there are 15 people on the residency – so I’m just going to show a few people here. You may have noticed the photo credits under each picture here are all to an Amy Dryer, and she is our first Dizzy person:

 

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

 

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(photo credit: Amy Dryer)

 

Amy is a visual artist as well as a photographer. Her paintings were begun outdoors – in some pretty cold weather – and then brought in to be finished and abstracted.

 

Elsewhere, unreadable writing marks the abstraction of thought. Her overall project as part of the residency was to explore the breaks in communication which happen with a mind suffering from dementia. Perhaps my favourite part was her sound installation, which consisted of her voice reading out a script which across three recordings grew more and more echoey and distorted.

 

Here’s work from Ryan Mathieson‘s studio:

 

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Bright, bold, distorted, eye-wrecking, dizzying – I can’t really do it justice in these photos. But here, anyway –

 

IMG_2702 (shown in photo: David Cooper)

 

 

Ryan and I did an art swap – I gave him one of my Impossible Project Polaroids, and he gave me two light-streaked photographs of the dark woods, which I intend to have framed as soon as I can.

 

Veronica Slater is next: marvellous colour and shapes (you can see I’m not an art critic, but I was entranced by her work, so maybe that’s enough):

 

IMG_2693 (shown in photo: Ryan Mathieson)

 

 

As we meandered around looking at all the art it was fun to bump into various artists and talk about their impressions and their own pieces.

 

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Beautiful crimpied ceramics with impressions from maps made on the outer sides. Veronica is based in the UK, and I hope I’ll be able to see more of her work quite soon.
 

UPDATE: I have another artist I’d like to feature here, who works in fabric and performance, Maria Flawia Litwin:

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Maria was working outdoors a lot while on this residency, going out into the National Park to film her art, interacting with the landscape on a level both tender and destructive (to her art, I should say, not the landscape)

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This is a video of the destruction of one of Maria’s earlier pieces – an unravelling of wool which, on snow, looks like blood and tissue.

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In this, Maria is covered in a woolen cocoon, and in this guise wanders over and through the landscape, sight marred, having to touch everything to find her way. I hope I’m doing her work justice – again, I insist that the only way to really experience this is in person.

It was a fantastic and overwhelming afternoon – art should be overwhelming I think. Challenging and shaking and wrecking you. I hope I’ve managed to share a tiny bit from the two residencies and days, and inspire you to seek these artists out. Click on their names for a start, leave comments and questions here.

 

Thank you very much to the Banff Centre for providing the setting and means for the whole thing, and to the landscape and the people most of all – audience and artist, artist-audience, who made this something truly special.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Open Studios at the Banff Centre

  1. I’m having trouble seeing half of the photos. They start appearing at the photo with the 110% hat.

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