Dis://connections, according to coordinator Kate Bradford, reflects on how technology impacts our lives, in how we communicate with one another, and how that can affect humanity as a whole. The show features six Emerge artists: Darby Arens, Carly Butler Verheyen, Mallory Donen, Julie Epp, Kendra Schellenberg, and Rachel Selinger. Opening night on Thursday, November 24 saw a full house, with viewers crowding around paintings, sculptures, and photographs, discussing the works on display with the artists. The works will be on display at the Reach Gallery until January 8.
Varied approaches to the theme punctuate the room with walls decorated in letters, or tall banners of overlaid images. A flesh-covered television haunts one corner, alongside a series of paintings and a collection of kaleidoscopic images followed by a series of photographs.
The show opened in conjunction with Emerge’s Art on Demand series, coordinated by Chantal New, featuring painters Chelsea Brown and Rachael Gingell. Themed on landscape, the works portray harsh minimalist horizons paired with rich photography.
Carly Butler Verheyen’s “Love Letters + Text Messages” is a wall filled with mail correspondence between her English, war-bride grandmother and her Canadian grandfather who wrote to each other daily for several years following the war. The letters stand in juxtaposition against text message correspondence between Carly and her husband, showcasing the differences in how we communicate now that information can be shared instantaneously. Carly is composing a book about the letters, which she hopes to publish soon.
Julie Epp has a history of creating clay sculptures of abstract body parts. “Extensive Measures” is a visceral combination of body and technology. She wanted to combine the two in such a way that both would be rendered totally useless. Entirely constructed while watching television, Julie felt inspired by the idea that humanity is so involved with technology that it makes us incapable of living our lives.
Rachel Selinger’s “Cyborg I + Cyborg II” is a multimedia work blending digital and analogue art in a way that makes it impossible to tell the difference between the two. She based the piece on a TED Talk discussing how humanity has become cyborgs for how they engage with technology.
Darby Arens’ “Icarus is Not Here” began with a collection of feathers, which hang between the tall printed images. It is inspired by the ideas that Icarus’ fall was just the start of a new journey, that his wings were a form of technology, and that our interactions with technology don’t always go as we plan.
Mallory Donen’s Digital Pattern series discusses the artist’s relationship with technology as she creates artwork in the digital medium.
Kendra Schellenberg’s “The Landscape of Our Times (#venividivici)” was inspired by her trip to Europe, where she found herself viewing the world through her phone’s camera lens. She felt she missed so much of the world around her. After joining Instagram, she found that the photos on there were all the same: people sharing unique experiences of travelling through identical photos.