Why I am difficult, so often: a response to hatred and hate mail

This article is appearing at my blog, not at The Sound, for a reason that will become clear when you’ve read the piece. This is on me, no one else. Your intepid #artcriticfromhell owns who he is and what he does, with good intentions often gone awry, but no one else need be concerned with it unless they so desire, and sometimes that has complications that are difficult. After all, I was “let go” from an ARC that falls over itself to jabber about “reconciliation” but oh my, you surely can’t call out one board member’s employer for a pattern of serious, serial institutional racism, oh no.

And that isn’t okay nor just nor right (where’s my unicorn?), but I am here now because of that, and that is a good thing. The world is what it is, I have voice and freedom that many would envy and perhaps do better things with, so let us move on.

But let us focus on what matters here, and now.

I greatly enjoy Patrick Crummey’s articles in The Sound. I often find he cuts to the point with a clarity often missing from most political commentary in Canada, and sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t, but I’m proud to be published in the same paper (the same way I was often embaressed by my “peers” in FUSE, or Canadian Art Magazine, but was very proud to be associated with The Planet for their series on the First Nations University in Regina, or the courage of my editor there to run my pieces about institutional racism at the University of Saskatchewan).

In Patrick’s piece, he refers to a piece of “hate mail.” It came to me, and Chris Illich, as both our emails are out there for the readers, and I enjoy being a public face of The Sound. So, in light of that, I want to add a few things to Patrick’s reference to the hate mail, including how I engaged this person further, and how, in the end, I shut him down like the ignorant piece of filth that he clearly is, and surely continues to be, but, thankfully, elsewhere. Or perhaps I scared him enough to help him mind his manners. We do, they say, live in the best of all possible worlds.

But before we begin, let me offer hate mailer’s email and name, which is Andy ‘Hector’ McDonald and andyautoservice@hotmail.com ; the one was clear in his various messages with their fetid obscene rage that was almost impressive in its excess, and the latter came with a bit of research. You might think I’m being inappropriate here, “doxxing” if you will. But my experience with hate mailers is more extensive and varied than either Chris or Patrick (or I could be wrong, and I welcome them correcting me).

During my time in Saskatchewan one right wing Klan focused group tried to recruit me, then tried to scuttle me, and I’ve also received hate from artists I’ve panned in word and person that has been interesting (and often anonymous), and has made me draft and enact responses that are – as here – very effective.

A digression, offering examples of my experience: Having an “artist” complain to you for ten minutes about a review, then asking them what part they took issue with, and having them respond that “I haven’t read it” was met, by me – only once – with a “well, why don’t you go and f**k yourself, as I spent more time on your work than you did on the review, and you’re obviously wasting my time.” Word got around of my inability / unwillingness to suffer self aggrandizing egoistes.

Alternately, I once had an hour long argument – in the best sense – with a painter in Saskatoon, over the legacy (or not) of Emma Lake, and Greg Hardy knew his history and aesthetic, and we both came away wiser and with respect for each other.

So, when I found The Sound’s hatefan on Linked In, with the same email and other stats, I happily emailed him and my words were “Hey, can I connect with you on LinkedIn so everyone can know how proud you are? I’ll share your stuff ALL OVER.”

I didn’t hear back from Andy McDonald after that. He shut up, stopping up his verbal bile. Completely.

andyautoservice@hotmail.com is his email, again, just to be clear.

His LinkedIn page is here: and here’s a screen shot. The Web page is nothing but a placeholder so don’t mind it.

Now, surely some of you are “oh, but Bart, why didn’t you just ignore him? Oh, aren’t you stooping to his level?”

And yes, that was an option. But here’s the thing: people like this are cowards, and when bleached by the light of day, often run away and hide. And well, your intrepid #artcriticfromhell must be honest: I am often the “designated asshole” as I told a friend, an amazing writer I’m also chuffed to know, when she thanked me for slapping down with vigour some fool who felt the need to troll her online.

When we tolerate idiots, we are tainted by them. When we tolerate threatening hate speech from assholes, and don’t call them out – literally, as I did with Andy McDonald here – they get bolder.

That cannot be allowed to happen. If you’re so sure of your views, own them. I’ve NEVER written under a psuedonym, and grant no one else the same privilege if the sole reason is to hide behind a controversial opinion. You’re entitled to an informed opinion: no one is entitled to ignorance.

I have nothing but contempt for cowards. And if I may, if there’s still doubts, would you like to read his emails? Well, here’s his sweetness in the Andy.first and then the Andy.one installmants. You go. Enjoy.

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Conor Mac Neill’s Tall Tales (and Tails)

I will offer a disclosure, before I begin to talk about Conor Mac Neill‘s Canadian Myths and Legends. As a child, and still now as an adult, I am always reading ghost stories and accounts of monsters, so when I walked into the gallery space (one of two, at Niagara Pumphouse), and saw an image of Ogopogo or – more exciting to me – Sarah Ann Tracey, I was not only intrigued as an arts writer, making my first visit to the Pumphouse, but had that moment of keen joy you often experience, as a child, when confronted with something exciting. Its not accidental – and I wasn’t at all surprised – to find out Mac Neill also has produced a childrens’ book and is an animator. The night of the reception, he had copies of his latest book on sale, as well.

I’ve joked before about synchronicity: since my return to Niagara, I’ve also spent a great deal of time on Youtube, watching old CBC / CTV shows about the ghosts of Niagara, or the ghost ships of Niagara, and one of the papers I contribute to, The Sound out of St. Catharines, has tapped into a local urban legend / mythology with a column on The Screaming Tunnels. All of this, in certain ways, makes me an ideal audience for Canadian Myths and Legends, despite my age (some have argued I have never grown up, ahem).

Another portrait, James Andrews, also has a “ghosts of Niagara” resonance, as he is another “casualty” of the Great Lakes, like Edmund Fitzgerald, or the Great Lakes / Michigan Triangle or the Black Dog of Lake Erie or South Bay Bessie. Mac Neill described the show as two different bodies of work, and its installed in such a manner in the space, with Sarah, with Commodore Andrews and several others as portraits along one wall, and The Tail of Ogopogo, Old Yellowtop, The Gaasyendietha and The modern day Wendigo grouped together, like to like.

The modern day Wendigo

Before I offer Conor’s own words and some further impressions of my own, I want to add one more intersecting element.

The evening of the reception, Mac Neill spoke about how, as a child, his family moved from Ireland to Newfoundland. This caught my attention for two reasons, though really one that unites both places, with ideas of folklore and stories (and Mummering in Newfoundland) told to you as a child that you still cherish as an adult (a side tangent: as a child I watched some CBC thing, narrated by Gordon Pinsent – a Newfoundlander, if I’m not mistaken – about a ghost ship in NOTL, and how one of the sailors, one night, saw the headless ghost of a past captain, murdered by a jealous husband or jilted lover, I disremember, but the image of the headless uniformed body walking nonchalantly – or floating, to be exact – above the deck, to the horror of the crew, is still vivid. I must find that show, to watch again…).

The Gaasyendietha

One of my favourite books is American Gods by Neil Gaiman: one of his characters, Essie Tregowan came to mind, during Mac Neill’s brief talk about his works. As a child, at the start of her sad – or perhaps simply human, which is funny, in light of monsters and legends – story, Essie could never get enough “tales of the piskies and the spriggans, of the black dogs of the moors and the seal-women of the Channel. And, though the squire laughed at such things, the kitchen-folk always put out a china saucer of the creamiest milk at night, put it outside the kitchen door, for the piskies.” Later, in the “new world” when she’s old the hot Virginia sun can barely warm her, she thinks of how her daughter “Phyllida’s children would come to Essie for tales, and she would tell them of the Black Dog of the Moors, and of Raw-Head and Bloody-Bones, or the Apple Tree Man, but they were not interested; they only wanted tales of Jack—Jack up the Beanstalk, or Jack Giant-killer, or Jack and his Cat and the King. She loved those children as if they were her own flesh and blood, although sometimes she would call them by the names of those long dead.”

The Tail of the Ogopogo

Its worth noting that the person in American Gods who tells Essie’s tale, Mr. Ibis, comments at some point that one must trust the story, if not the story teller.

In his statement for the show, Mac Neill also cites the following, from D. Abraham: “There is no better way to understand a culture deeply than to know and appreciate its mythos, its stories, its dreams. Indeed, many of the symbols in our dreams are universal, or at least culture-wide, symbols whose meaning is invested in the mythic stories that they inhabit. And there are those who believe that these symbols and these stories are encoded in the very cells of our species’ DNA.”

Sarah Ann Tracey

Sarah Ann Tracy stands in front of a somewhat dark background, and even if you didn’t already know that she supposedly extends her short life by haunting Fort George, you’d surely get an eerie sense from her portrait. But she’s not frightening: I’m reminded of the poltergeist that inhabits the Marr Residence, which I used to live next door to, in Saskatoon, and they only became fussy when the Historical or Heritage group meeting became overlong, and I can’t fault that. Her large eyes are striking, and the whorls of her hair and her toy cat make her, on the one hand, just a small girl like any other, but the ethereal light, and her story, tell us otherwise.

Other scenes are more active, more vibrant in colour. There is a contrast of play and seriousness, a mix of myth and legend and a tongue in cheek contemporary re imagining – retelling – of some of the older stories.

I am loathe to offer too much about the specific works, as they have a joy, a vitality, that you have to experience in person. His process, a painterly approach to digital printed on canvas serves the works well (one might imagine several of the “portraits” sitting above a mantlepiece in a home). As well, there is an aspect of this show, this work that is collaborative with Mac Neill’s son, Declan, and he has smaller, expressive works also in the gallery space (in considering the work by both Mac Neills’,  I was reminded of how many books for children are important to adults, whether the obvious, like Edward Gorey, or one that I read as a boy, Norval Morrisseau‘s Legends of My People: The Great Ojibway, where his images enchanged me as much as the tales, like why the birch tree is ‘scarred’).

This comes back to an idea that informs much of Mac Neill’s work: there is a child like wonder to it, a child like sensibility to it, but that’s not saying its “childish.” In fact, there is a sense here of the importance of stories we learn as children, and repeat to our children, and how, as he illustrates, literally and metaphorically, that is important to many of us, whatever our age.

The exhibition Canadian Myths and Legends is on display at the Niagara Pumphouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake until November 28th (247 Ricardo Street). Gallery hours are Tuesday – Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM and his book is on sale at the gallery. All images are copyright the artist. You can see much more of Conor Mac Neill’s practice in various media here

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I’ll be your mirror: Alejandro Cartagena’s Presidential Selfies

Nothing seems more improbable than what people believed when this belief has gone with the wind. (Doris Lessing, foreword, The Golden Notebook)

I always thought people were essentially bright. Distracted, sure, and weak, and beaten, but never stupid. (Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan)

Oh my god. I have become television. (Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan)

Within a capitalist consumer society, the cult of personality has the power to subsume ideas, to make the person, the personality into the product and not the work itself. (bell hooks)

I’m compelled to mildly disagree with hooks. Its not solely to be found in a “capitalist consumer society.” I have faith that the evil we do is not confined to one political system, one format, one space (the inappropriate, black gales of laughter I enjoyed, then stifled, then burst loose again, watching The Death of Stalin testify to this).

As you enter the VISA Gallery space at the Marilyn I. Walker the monochromatic starkness will strike you first. All four gallery walls, and the alcove by the entrance, have large black and white photographs, that could be the same image, and any observer will begin to see similarities among them. There’s the smiling, yet interchangeable, nameless, people – or acolytes, crowding about the phone / camera and the man, either of which could be said to the be main subject of this exhibition. There’s the upraised arms of either Enrique Peña Nieto or those “saluting” him as they take their “own” pictures. The specific photographs are uniform in size, but are installed in a cinematic manner, so that each of the walls has a “filmstrip” of multiple images (sometimes seven, sometimes five). The same smiling man appears in them all (I am reminded – as I am, too often, lately, with various political situations, of Gary Callahan, whose true name was The Smiler, from Transmetropolitan. If Peña Nieto is Callahan, then Trump, if we continue to reference Ellis’ series, is surely his predecessor in the Presidential office, whose appellate was The Beast).

But before I engage with the exhibition more, as, despite the apparent simplicity of images and installation, each time I’ve visited I’ve found another layer, another issue, is unwrapped, like the skin of an onion (and perhaps equally tear inducing), here are the words from the press release: Hosted in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, Presidential Guide to Selfies asks people to question the motives behind Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s vast collection of publicly shared selfies.

Cartagena has curated a selection of these selfies (currently posted to President’s Official website) as a means to examine whether these images are being shared to show the Mexican President’s engagement with the people of his country, or whether it is merely an exercise in vanity as he ‘poses with his fans.’
Cartagena has also created an accompanying photo book for this exhibition in which he details the events surrounding each selfie.

[Amy] Friend [one of the finest instructors and photo based artists at Brock University, I would add] noted that in an age of cell phones and social media, and with Canada’s own Justin Trudeau often affectionately and critically called ‘Prime Minister Selfie,’ the exhibition’s exploration of politics, social media connectivity and celebrity culture is exceptionally timely.

More “official” words: The deliberate use of merchandising strategies in presidential campaigns and governmental communications have in the past decade sought out ways to close the gap between the people and their candidates or government officials. The epitome of such strategies can be found in one section of the official website of the Mexican president, entitled: “My picture with the President.” Now, 6 years into his presidency, it seems clear that the only thing president Enrique Peña Nieto has been interested in all along was looking his best with his fans.

In the history of religious painting, there’s the theme of the donor – the person(s) who paid for the altarpiece or diptych, of the crucifixion or the angel announcing to Mary her ‘delicate condition’ or the image of god on his throne, attendant by various saints, supplicants or his son – being presented on the edge of the composition, kneeling in devotion, in the divine presence, but not intruding, just luxuriating in the scene. There’s an element of that, here, a basking in a presence that graces the unwashed, unworthy masses, and look how grateful they are…wallowing and revelling in the Presidential presence.

A Presidential Guide To Selfies is part of a much larger project, specifically a book and some online components, so what’s in the VISA Gallery at the MIWSFPA is a fraction of a larger endeavour by Cartagena: a satellite, if you will. In that respect, the work exists differently here in St. Catharines than in Mèxico, and is influenced, perhaps even redefined by ‘here’– as this place permeates it – and I know my sense of ‘here’ is shifted by Cartagena’s work, as well.

I’ve commented before that in #mySTC synchronicity has defined many interactions and has led to an awareness of certain veins – like a spiderweb – connecting seemingly incidental and benign facts. In engaging with Alejandro Cartagena’s exhibition A Presidential Guide To Selfies, several streams of thought have been informing my interpretation, my reaction, to this show, on what I must admit is a somewhat visceral level. When I first visited I was almost belligerent in my distaste for the work: but when I experience such a response to an exhibition or other cultural phenomena, I consider it my responsibility to further explore (perhaps like picking a scab) why such a gut reaction was evoked.

I must, since we’ll be wading into the effluvia of politicians – the Petrowski that you try to avoid stepping in, on the sidewalk even – mention Nietzsche’s admonition about gazing into the abyss and how that does not leave you unsullied. When this show opened, the civic election was underway, and there’s been a heightened level of pundit jabber and posturing about next year’s federal election. Adding insult to injury, we also now, in Ontario, are funding Doug Ford’s government propaganda pretending to be news. I can hear Bruce Cockburn so reasonably requesting that “the world retain in memory that might tongues tell mighty lies.”

A recent spot on Global News – or CTV, forgive me, I lack the will to split hairs among the mainstream media mimic morons – that I failed to avoid refers to Trudeau as our “celebrity” PM, and also mentions that bigoted nonentity Scheer who so often guffaws, à la Howdy Doody, about “PM Selfie.”

Returning to Niagara, this recent civic election has offered some interesting optics too. I’ve walked by a billboard of deposed Regional Czar – oh, sorry, I mean, Chair – Alan Caslin that declares Niagara has too many politicians, and I wonder about the self regard and arrogance that didn’t anticipate that many voters would respond by turfing his malfesant ass out of office.

Oh, politicians; I’d say they’re like that witch bullying the magic mirror into averring that yes, you are the fairest of them all, but I hate to insult the witch by association. Perhaps more Spider Jerusalem is required: “They say they like politicians but couldn’t eat a whole one.” Perhaps because they make you a bit sick to your stomach, I’d aver…

Some of Cartagena’s appropriated scenes are reminiscent of the frenzy around Pope John Paul II’s visit to Canada over two decades ago, or some of the same populist posturing we’ve seen from the current Pope, Francis: and now, as the Catholic cabal hurtles headlong towards canonizing JP II, more and more and even more evidence is emerging that no one, in the history of the world, has done more to aid and abet the rape of children than the former Karol Józef Wojtyla and that Francis’s hands, like all in that space, are filthy, oh so filthy. I assure you, ahem, that your intrepid #artcriticfromhell is surely not gloating at all as he quotes Jesus (Matthew 23:27, KJV) “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Before my hyperbole gets further out of hand – if not already too late – lets examine further what Cartegana offers us, in the VISA space and his wider practice that is as grounded in politics and community as it is in a university gallery space.

Alejandro Cartagena was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic but lives and “works in Monterrey, Mexico. His projects employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally in more than 50 group and individual exhibitions in spaces including the the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris and the CCCB in Barcelona, and his work is in the collections of several museums including the San Francisco MOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Portland Museum of Art, The West Collection, the Coppel collection, the FEMSA collection, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the George Eastman House and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and among others.” You can read more, about the many things he’s done, here.

An impressive list of accomplishments, and one that lends weight to Selfies. Conversely, the record of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has included not just appropriate concern over the manufactured media persona (spending 2 billion over five years, on publicity, the most EVER spent by a Mexican President) that Cartagena samples for us, but much more horrifying actions. A smattering of shame: allegations of espionage against journalists (a report in the NY Times was even titled, “In Mexico it’s easy to kill a journalist”) to foster silence regarding reportage on the many allegations of corruption, and this has extended to civil rights activist whom have also been deemed “problems” for the Peña Nieto regime. There is also – unbelievably, it would seem, as we get distracted by images and forget facts, perhaps – how in “September 2014, 43 male college students were forcibly taken then disappeared in Guerrero. The forced mass disappearance of the students arguably became the biggest political and public security scandal Peña Nieto had faced during his administration. It led to nationwide protests, particularly in the state of Guerrero and Mexico City, and international condemnation.”

I am again reminded of The Smiler. When you visit A Presidential Guide to Selfies (or purchase the book) hold these – and go and search out more information about jovial and jocular and jaunty President Peña Nieto – and other abuses of power made by this seemingly happy, harmless facade of a man in mind.

Returning to Cartagena’s informative and lovely site: when I visited I also spent significant time with his other works, specifically Carpoolers, and this offers a tonic to Selfies.

The statement regarding that work indicates that Cartagena uses his lens – or as with Selfies, the lens of others – in examining his, and the wider, socio economic world. The statement for that work: Offering a different take on ‘carpooling’ Alejandro Cartagena continues his pointed investigation of the multiple and complex issues relating to unhampered suburban expansion. These images show how carpooling is practised by workers in México.

They are an acute observation to overgrowth issues in Mexico, where suburbs are being built in far away lands with no proper public transportation to the urban centers causing greater commutes and consumption of gas. Even though these workers are not conscious of the ecological impact they have by travelling this way as they are doing it to save time and money, they are a silent contributor to the preservation of our city and planet.

These are works that are disturbing immediately, with the obvious poverty and suffering of the ‘carpoolers’, and offer an interesting contrast to the euphoric – if somewhat vacuous – public in Selfies.

When Trump blundered into the American presidency, via the machinations (successful and failed) indicative of the corpulent yet cancerous American political system, I remember being fascinated by a political “leader” who could communicate directly with people, through Twitter. Put aside the execrable content for a moment, that the format is limited intellectually and can foster spiteful spittles of foolishness, and consider that there was no mediation, no barrier, between what “leader” and “followers.”

Yet, we’ve seen this not only fail but become an embarrassment: in this same manner, the “presidential selfie” has potential, yet by its very nature resists any real content, or real application or utility. I was present at one of the events in St. Catharines where PM Trudeau visited, and though there was time for these brief interactions, they were more mob-like than anything, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Perhaps that’s not just the Sontagian dilemma of how photography invites projection, but also that in the essence these politicians – whether Nieto or even Trump – were empty and inviting us to fill them with whatever we liked, only to find that was a ploy, a con. To return to the idea put out by hooks, of the “product”, one must always – especially in politics, these mad days – practice caveat emptor / buyer beware. After all, there’s no warranty and though it might look good, as in the case of Peña Nieto’s record, it has been somewhat of a lemon. Or perhaps, as with the manufactured sales pitch (2 billion over five years), Peña Nieto can be said to be an impulse purchase that played upon disinformation and unethical salespeople, and now there is no returns policy in place, and still a large price to be paid.

If I return to the initial distaste and touch of anger I experienced when first visiting Cartagena’s work, the explanation may be found in the words of Neil Gaiman’s hustler, Wednesday: On the whole, I make my money from people who never know they’ve been taken, and who never complain, and who will frequently line up to be taken when I come back that way again.

A Presidential Guide to Selfies is on display in the VISA Gallery at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts until November 6th, 2018. The gallery hours are 1 – 5 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. The situation Alejandro Cartagena‘s work addresses, however, is ongoing, on our televisions and online, and in our regional, national and international discourse, as you read this. All images are courtesy the artist’s web site or media releases, or shot by the writer.


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NOW HERE at AIH Studios in Welland

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Tammy Jane Lepp: transformation & metamorphosis

At the last In The Soil (2018), Silver Spire United Church was the main site for Rhizomes, a variety of installations / performances / interventions by a diversity of artists. This not only was a very mindful and effective adaptation of the spaces within the church / centre by respective artists, but even while being guided to one installation or another, the lovely interior of the church was, in itself, an enchanting environment. One of the artists whose work was installed in the Silver Spire was Tammy Jane Lepp: her piece fe·cund was arguably the most seductive work in Rhizomes. This was something that insinuated you on several sensual levels (while talking to Tammy, in front of the work, I often “unzipped” the “casing” it was in, to put my face forward and breathe it in, for example).

This wasn’t the first time I’d encountered Lepps‘ work: at the previous In The Soil (2017), she, Joanne Ring, Kelsey Cheslock and Lisa Renee McKenzie had collaborated on an immersive installation in the side event space at Mahtay. Alternately seductive and playful while also somewhat corporeal and unsettling, Sojourn of Spectaculous Wunderkle Things had fluorescent components, found and hand made elements, and yet allowed for performers during ITS to take the stage and respond and modify the space with their own music / audio contributions. Personally, despite your intrepid #artcriticfromhell’s being “full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; at times, indeed, almost ridiculous— almost, at times, the Fool” (whoops, sorry, a bit of Prufrock there), I must also confess to being a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos (more so what others have done with it than Lovecraft himself). Thus, this installation appealed to me both in a positive recreation / reinterpretation of an immersive ecological space (I may or may not have been napping in one of the “alcoves” as ITS 2017 was intense) but also had an edge. This manifested at night, where the unearthly glow of the works fully “came to life” (reanimated, ahem, you might say).

Now, this was four artists (McKenzie’s work in ITS 2018 was something I hope you had the chance to encounter, as well), and collaboration is a compromise and a conversation (I have been known to say I only collaborate well when I’m in charge, ahem). However, when sitting cross legged inside the “greenhouse” of clear plastic and vinyl, filled with a variety of earthy elements that seemed to more so fill the confined space with scent than a physical occupation, this sense of evocation of emotion and concept returned to me.

Lepp’s sculpture, installations and wearable artworks have an organic quality that’s an essential aspect of her creative process. She employs an intuitive approach to her imaginative and eerie works,  preferring to allow pieces to evolve, collaboratively with the materials themselves, rather than having a defined plan as to the final outcome. Her works are emotionally evocative, and this originates in her process, which is often raw and unchallenged by any “finished” agenda.  This experiential, responsive methodology manifests in pieces (like fe·cund), that are more sensual than didactic, more about the physicality of the piece, and the corporeal nature of its creation. A poet as well as an artist, Lepp’s own words encapsulate the experience of her visual work: transformation, birth and rebirth, growth, metamorphosis and an abundance – perhaps an excess – of sensual cues.

A multidisciplinary artist and teacher based in St. Catharines, ON, Tammy Jane Lepp has exhibited extensively in the Niagara region since her graduation from the Art Centre of Central Technical School (Toronto).

One of the reasons I enjoy very much doing these ongoing artist features is that it facilitates my interest in what many artists are doing (this echoes in my hosting the Rodman Hall 5 x 2 Image Makers Conversation. Your intrepid #artcriticfromhell is nosy, always wanting to know what artists are making / creating). I’ve spoken with Lepp on numerous occasions (in fact, at ITS 2018, we may, ahem, have held up the line at Rhizome and I was so excited and enamoured of  fe·cund that we had an animated conversation about it, with (the aforementioned) many delays of me unzipping the “greenhouse” and breathing deeply and with great satisfaction.



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