Alumni Artist in Residence fall 2018, artist’s talk

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to dream big you have to look in all the cracks

Alysha Farling Artist in Residence

2015 Visual Arts Camosun College

Collecting “bits” is an ongoing process for artist Alysha Farling. “Anything can be material”, she says. Look at her work and see china cups, plastic spoons, ear buds, hair, buttons, fur, fish bones, moss, glue gobs, foam eruptions, popcorn, cigarette butts…

The streets are her collecting grounds and every day Farling is hustling’ up little crumbs, transforming bits of garbage into surfaces and structures shaped with chicken wire, papier mâché cardboard, fabric rubber and hot glue.

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IMG_1546 IMG_1550Her structures resemble lairs, bee hives, and wobbly towers, trees with tails and houses with tentacles.

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The house, according to Bachelard in The Poetics of Space is “the human’s being’s first world, it is body and soul.”  Farling’s combination of architectural and visceral forms compose  a “House-Body” with doors, windows, staircases and balconies but also and more terrifying a house-woman with legs, guts, holes, hair and eyes. The holes reveal a dark cave like interior alluding to tension between hollow and solid, inner and outer. Perhaps further in is a secret house hidden inside the house, where an altercation between body and penetration, like an act of sex and birth takes place.

Farling’s family house of her childhood is a source of inspiration and she also cites The Borrowers, a children’s fantasy novel by English author Mary Norton, published by Dent in 1952 as influential. It features a family of tiny people who live secretly behind the walls of an English house and “borrow” from the big people in order to survive. Farling, like the tiny Borrowers, repurposes objects to create new forms and values. Local artists and visitors to Farling’s studio contributed to her bits collection – little containers of psychic memories haunting the houses.

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Farling’s numerous sketchbooks contain her physical experiences and sustain her ideas. She talks about a magical, tactile, growing desire to be closer, to be inside the structures she builds – what’s next for her may result in larger walk-inside-caves or interactive grown-up playgrounds

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Ishe Barrett, Camosun College 2015 Van Den Brink Summer Resident

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Alpha/Betta male

Barrett’s current photography project examines cis white male gesture and behavior induced by the body slamming environment of the mosh pit.

Barrett is curious about the rules of male on male embrace– the wrestling, pushing, jerking motions—the bodies crashing into one another, and the rush of violent abandonment and self-expression.

Barrett asks what these gestures might look like outside of the pit. So Barrett strips a solitary male from the action man mosh and drops him into a clean white studio. Here, he is told to gesticulate, to recreate his elegant flaring dance in private for this female photographer. Does Barrett’s eye see aggression or grace?  Does self-awareness in the male model bring forth gestures of compassion and play?

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Barrett tells me she once found a Betta fish in a mud puddle, she took it home and fostered it. She taught it to jump from its tank to butt her in the head and lay in her hand while she stroked it.

Barrett compares her model to a Betta fish and the studio photoshoot to an aquatic cave; the male model/Betta fish like a drop of ink in collision with water.

These accentuated tensions and pleasures in Barrett’s photographic approach open up resistant ways of looking at male posturing and female pleasure.

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Ishe Barrett’s exhibition will open September 8th, Young Building Studio 117, 8pm-10pm and continues till Sept 12th.

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