Fridays & Friends

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Fridays & Friends #10 – Emily Bowser

After a break last month, I’m very happy to be back with a new Friday & Friends blog post. While writing the intro for this blog post, the old nursery rhyme about girls being made of sugar and spice comes to mind. When I entered Emily Bowser’s studio at Ox-Bow last year, I was amazed by all of the colours and materials and the boxes of different flavoured cotton candy mix she had lined up in a row! She brought her own cotton candy machine to our residency, and she’s responsible for the blue cotton candy in the video I made last year. I would walk into her studio, while she was making cotton candy, and the smell of sugar wafted in the air and sugar crystals floated everywhere. I’m very happy to introduce Emily Bowser and her work to you.

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Emily Bowser – (His) SUN (Hers) SET, Bread dough, flagging tape, lattice, snow fencing, wood, 2012

Roselina Hung: How did we first meet?

Emily Bowser: We first met at this very time last year (2011) in Saugatuck, Michigan at the Ox-Bow Artist in Residency Program.

Emily Bowser – (His) SUN (Hers) SET, Bread dough, flagging tape, lattice, snow fencing, wood, 2012

RH: Tell me a bit about yourself…

EB: I grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Went to Pennsylvania State University for English and Fine Arts (Sculpture), and then moved to the Midwest to pursue my MFA at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After finishing up my graduate program in Iowa, I moved back PA where now I call Reading my home.

Emily Bowser – Circle Gets the Square, Cotton candy, silo, 2012

RH: Tell me about your work…

EB: Most of my work tends to be ephemeral and/or food related when it comes to materials. I have done previous pieces that have included: cake, icing, bird seed, bread dough and cotton candy. More recently, the bread dough and cotton candy have become the two predominant materials in my work. I love how both of those materials change over time. The bread dough rises and falls; while the cotton candy starts out as a soft, fluffy pastel cloud that transforms into hard, intensely bright colored clump. I like how each material acts as the performer of the sculpture or installation and therefore the work changes over a period time.

Emily Bowser – Circle Gets the Square, Cotton candy, silo, 2012

Some recurring themes or imagery that have crept into my work more recently have been horses. More specifically, hobby horses. The ones that come on the metal frames that you used to ride as a kid. I like the idea of placing multiple horses together in a scenario that they would never want to be found in. So, four horses balanced on the point of spinning top or six horses chasing one another in a circle. It’s just like playing with those little animal figurines when you’re a kid, but the toys are bigger than you are. It’s a fun scale shift! Similar ideas that have been swimming around in the studio have been games. I enjoy thinking about how each set of rules in a game is different, yet the same. There are always roles to be played by each player, directions to follow and some sort of outcome whether its winning or losing. I’m interested in the discreet balance of all of those aforementioned ideas.

Emily Bowser – Circle Gets the Square, Cotton candy, silo, 2012

RH: What are you currently working on?

EB: Last week, I just finished a new sculpture titled, GagReel, that indicates a good idea of where my head is at right now. I’m also looking forward to start working on some smaller pieces/installations that happen on a much more intimate kind of scale.

Emily Bowser – GagReel, Hobby horses, fabric, saw horses, foam, paint, wood, 2012

RH: Where can people find your work? Do you have any upcoming shows?

EB: My most recent piece, GagReel, can be found in the show “Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” that is currently going on during the Philly Fringe Festival, and at Crane Arts in the show titled “Landscape” – both in Philadelphia, PA.

I also have a website at www.emilybowser.webs.com, and you can find me on Facebook as well.

Emily Bowser – Glissade, Waterfall at Taliesin, flagging tape, 2012

RH: Tell me one fun fact about yourself.

EBHmm, I once ate room made entirely out of cake and icing. And I love reading the dictionary.

Emily Bowser – Circling the Drain, Hobby Horses, imitation cotton candy, canvas, paint, wood, 2012

Thank you Emily!  If you’re in Philadelphia, please check out Emily’s exhibitions. Read past Fridays & Friends posts here.

Fridays & Friends #9 – Jessica Gabriel

This month’s edition of Friday & Friends features someone very special. She may very well be my first artist friend! I met Jessica Gabriel 14 years ago this September, when we were still both fresh faced, wide eyed teenagers, who were told on our first day of university that most of us would not become artists. We showed them! We’ve had many personal and creative adventures together, in foreign lands and back home, and it’s been a real pleasure watching her creativity evolve over the years, as she is a woman of many talents.  I’m pleased to introduce the enchanting Jessica Gabriel.

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Jessica Gabriel – Birdspiral, Acrylic, oil pastel & scratchy bits on canvas, 24″ x 38″, 2008

Roselina Hung: How did we first meet?

Jessica Gabriel: We met as students on the very first day of our first year at UBC in 1998. We were both keeners fresh out of high school, enrolled in the BFA program. During the four years of that degree, we took the Fine Arts department by storm! Some memorable collaborations on campus include when we staged “Jeff the Wall”, a performance spoof where us and several other creative peers parodied and documented ourselves alongside the “Storm The Wall” participants. Another glorified memory from those days was when we convinced our whole grad class to shirk the pre-packaged corporate Artona grad photos so we could instead all take the photos ourselves. Of course the main highlight of those UBC days was when we both went in third year on exchange to study art at ENSBA in Paris, France.

Jessica Gabriel – Friends Finale, Mixed media on paper, 12″ x 16″, 2007

RH: Tell me a bit about yourself…

JG: I was born in Sechelt, BC and grew up in several of the many communities along the Sunshine Coast. My family members are very creative and observant, so I know that a lot of my artistic sense stems from having simply taken the time to notice things like forest litter and the tideline while growing up. I still have a great affinity with nature and can safely say that I learn more from plants and other creatures than I do from most humans. I did officially study art at the institutions mentioned above, although I’ve veered slightly away from academia after acquiring my BFA in 2002. Since then, my learning has continued into the realms of Permaculture Design, as well as practicing clowning at Fantastic Space Enterprises. I currently live, work, and play based out of Vancouver, BC.

Jessica Gabriel – Garlic, Acrylic & mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 54″, 2004

RH: Tell me about your work…

JG: Painting is my first true love. I adore the potency of oils. But for lack of a properly ventilated painting studio right now, when I do paint it’s in acrylics and watercolors. I revel in combining mediums and have been working mainly in mixed media/collage. I am also currently immersed in the expansive medium that is shadow puppetry; working a lot with cutouts, transparencies, found items, and creating live performances from it all. I consider myself a Compost-Modern artist. I wish to emulate mulch. I let things rot. I admire red wrigglers. I sketch the sprouting seeds. I also work a lot with my dreams. I write in my dream journal every morning when I wake up. I illustrate the words. I word the illustrations. I am sometimes a poet. I am often a crow. I admire nettles. Plants and animals and growth and decay are recurrent themes in my work.

Jessica Gabriel – Hummingdead, Pen & ink sketch with dream journal & corpse, 2009

RH: What are you currently working on?

JG: Currently my art practice is focused on creating multidimensional shadow theatre using the overhead projector as a main experimentation tool. Designing compositions on the overhead projector has been a natural progression in exploring an array of substances and materials, which appeals to my love of collage and also draws upon my background in painting. Since 2003, Chloé Ziner and I have been collaborating and performing under the name Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. Our shows are a fusion of puppetry, clowning, mask and music. We perform shows, facilitate workshops and provide shadow visuals regularly at events throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond.

Mind of a Snail – Heart Turn, performance at Montreal Fringe Festival, 2010

RH: Where can people find your work? Do you have any upcoming shows?

JG: Oh yes, come see a shadow performance! Mind of a Snail will be performing “Plasticity Now” at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival this September. Woot woot!  www.mindofasnail.org

Sometimes I tweet: www.twitter.com/garlicjoy

My personal website needs some tweaking up: www.mindofasnail.org/jessica.htm

Jessica Gabriel – Radish, Mixed media shadow puppet made for the overhead projector, 2009

RH: Tell me one fun fact about yourself.

JGWhen I flare my nostrils repeatedly a dimple pulsates on my chin.

Mind of a Snail – Young Buck in the Forest, Mixed media shadow puppets made for the overhead projector, 2010

Thank you Jessica!  Everyone should try to catch a show by Mind of a Snail, and you can keep track of upcoming performances through their Facebook page. The shows are not only entertaining but also thought provoking, colourful and musical performances of story telling and live music.

Read past Fridays & Friends posts here.

Fridays & Friends #8 – Nathan Lam Vuong

June is here, and it’s almost summer. Key word: almost. While we’re not fully there yet, weather-wise, in Vancouver, for this month’s Fridays and Friends, I’m looking down towards Los Angeles for a little sunshine. I’ve featured his socks and shoes on my blog before, so it was only a matter of time before you got to meet the artist and his work. So here is my dear friend and a fellow Love artist on the What’s Love Got To Do With It? residency I attended last year, Nathan Lam Vuong.

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Nathan Lam Vuong - My Date Blew Me Off, Giclée Print, 17 x 11 in.

Roselina Hung: How did we first meet?

Nathan Lam Vuong: We met at the Banff Centre but I wouldn’t really remember how we started talking. You were my studio neighbour.

Nathan Lam Vuong - Mau Nhuom Ben Thuong Hai (Blood-Dyed Wharfs of Shanghai), Karaoke Video Projection Installation & Performance, Mixed-Media Sculpture

RH: Tell me a bit about yourself…

NLV: I was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi and grew up in Tampa, Florida.  After going to University of Miami, I stayed for a bit, but then moved out to Los Angeles almost 3 years ago to attend CalArts for my Master’s.

Nathan Lam Vuong - Pew-Peww!, comic stand-ups, & laser pointers, 5'4" tall

RH: Tell me about your work…

NLV: My work deals with a few subjects, from cultural identities, gender, longing, non-relationships, to dating and awkward situations. The pieces have existed as photographs, comic strips, watercolors, gouache, knittings (which I learned from Sarah Gotowka), film, videos, installs, and performances. So no set mediums really. I think an issue that comes up a lot is ideas about waiting for someone to come and all the thoughts that come with it. I tend to use lots of pastels so I feel like my art is a mix between Martha Stewart Living and Nickelodeon Jr. I’m really interested in adapting essences of television shows and cartoons I grew up with and grafting that onto notions of longing and relationships.

Nathan Lam Vuong - Post-Ironic, Issue #7 comic strip

RH: What are you currently working on?

NLV: I am currently working on gouache paintings of snapshots I took in Viet Nam of people traveling on motorbikes, which they refer to as Xe Ôm (Hugging Cars). This set of paintings will be in a show in two weeks at Abel Gutierrez’s Studio in Mid-City Los Angeles.

Nathan Lam Vuong - Xe Ôm, gouache on paper, 24 x 18 in.

RH: Where can people find your work?

NLV: I aints gots nos facebooks: http://nailsbyasians.com

I Think I Thought I Saw You Try
c-print 30″ x 40″ portraits, knitting, transferred super 8 films

RH: Tell me one fun fact about yourself.

NLV: Last summer, I lost my voice playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and I wish I had the newer version with Mohawk Storm. We all loved yelling Storm Incantations…like, “Hail! Fill the sky with Rocks of Iceeee! Arctic Winds, aid my hands!!” But I lent my PS3 out to a friend, and he moved away, but he’ll be back sometime and I’ll have my gaming fest!

Thank you Nathan!  If you are in Los Angeles, you can see his paintings from June 8-9 in Cruising Affect: Peripheral Identifications, with Zoe Walsh, at Abel Gutierrez Studio, 1821 3rd Ave, LA, CA 90019.  Dates & times are listed here.

To view more of Nathan’s work, you can also visit his Tumblr blog.

Read past Fridays & Friends posts here.

Fridays & Friends #7 – Emi Kodama

For this month’s Fridays & Friends, I’d like to introduce you to Emi Kodama.  I met Emi almost ten years ago in Vancouver, but since then she has been living and making art in Europe, and we see each other every few years when we happen to be in the same city.  And Emi will be in Vancouver again next month – details of a performance in the Q&A below.  The great thing about this Fridays & Friends series is that I get to share work by talented artists, but it’s also become a great way of staying in touch and up-to-date with what my friends are up to; I always learn something new about their work and I have always been pleasantly surprised by their fun facts!

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Emi Kodama - Drawing from "If I Were You", Collection of short stories and drawings, 2012

Roselina Hung: How did we first meet?

Emi Kodama: We first met at Centre A, back when it was at the old location, on Homer Street. I was there on co-op from Emily Carr and you were volunteering, and we were both trying to get a peek into the art world. We often had the same hours and there wasn’t much to do besides count the number of visitors, so we sat together at the big glass table and got to know each other.

Emi Kodama - "If a person were a forest, I’d loved a tree", two-channel video, color, sound, 09:00, 2007

RH: Tell me a bit about yourself…

EK: I’m from Surrey, BC and studied at Emily Carr. Then I went on exchange to AKI, in Enschede, The Netherlands and loved it so much that I transferred there for my fourth year and graduated in photography. I have a long academic career, actually. I went on to do my Masters at the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen. After that, I moved to Ghent, Belgium and went to the HISK, which was more like a residency than a school. I’ve been living here for about four and a half years now and started a PhD in the Arts between the University of Ghent and the KASK, which is the art school here. I’ve stayed in academia for so long because I like the framework it provides – I belong to a community of really inspiring professors and an international group of artists.

RH: Tell me about your work…

EK: Most important to me in my work is telling stories. I explore their many forms through a multidisciplinary practice that includes video, photography, drawing, writing, and performance. My work focuses on the every day and it’s probably most comparable to the short stories of Raymond Carver. After reading the first paragraph of one of his stories, I felt like, “I could have written that.” He writes about daily struggles with a minimalism that emphasizes brevity and intensity and I also try to be precise about the commonplace in a way that sheds new light on familiar objects and situations. My work is biographical on the surface, but the initial sense of familiarity is often undermined by gaps that leave one with a feeling of alienation. It de-familiarizes the commonplace and subverts expectations: social norms are questioned and ideas of right/wrong and good/bad become constructions based on circumstance. The discrepancy between different parts of my stories evokes the ambiguity of situations in daily life and the discomfort of facing conflicting thoughts. I often think of my work as an optical illusion, where the perception of something objectively existing causes misinterpretation of its true nature.

Emi Kodama - Drawing from "If I Were You", Collection of short stories and drawings, 2012

RH: What are you currently working on?

EK: I finished a residency at Be-Part, an art platform in Waregem, in January and the artist book I was working on there just came out. It’s called “If I Were You”, and it’s a collection of short stories and drawings, which are snapshots taken by Anna, who is constantly looking. It’s all about what she sees, sometimes also wrongly or mistakenly, and dreams, memory, and imagination blur the boundary between the visible and the hidden.

It was presented during a performance where I invited people to sit with me and choose a word out of the index. I read them the story while they closed their eyes, pictured the story, and made a drawing. I will also do the performance at the Motto bookstore at the Or Gallery in June. I will let you know the exact time and date soon!

Emi Kodama - Story from "If I Were You", Collection of short stories and drawings, 2012

RH: Where can people find your work?

EK: You can see a preview of my book “If I Were You” here, my Vimeo page, and I’m also working on a website, www.emikodama.com, that will be up by the end of May.

Emi Kodama - "A collection of rooms", single-channel video, color, sound, 03:30, 2008

RH: Tell me one fun fact about yourself.

EK: I have a secret passion for ballroom dancing and dream of being in a competition one day, wearing a flowing gown that may or may not have sequins.

Thank you Emi!  I will update this post when I get details of Emi’s performance in June at the Or Gallery and if you are in Vancouver, I encourage you all to see her work!

And whenever one is presented with a choice of sequins or no sequins, always, always go with sequins.

Read past Fridays & Friends posts here.

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