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.



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


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

    Ishe BarrettisheIMG_2544  

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?


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.


Regolith, exhibition by 2014 artist in residence Jess Willa Wheaton

Regolith Jess Willa Wheaton
September 5 to October 4, 2014
Opening Friday, September 5

exhibition runs Sept 5-Oct 4 at deluge contemporary art 636 Yates street, Victoria BC

As first defined by American geologist George P. Merrill
in 1897: “This entire mantle of unconsolidated material,
whatever its nature or origin, it is proposed to call the
regolith.” (Merrill, G.P., Rocks, rock-weathering and soils.
New York: MacMillan Company, 1897, 411p)
Named for the Greek words rhegos (blanket) and lithos
(rock), Earth’s regolith can be nearly absent or hundreds
of meters in thickness. It may be initially produced by
processes nearby, or far away, or both, and its age can
range from instantaneous to hundreds of millions of
years old. The presence of this unconsolidated topcoat
is an important factor for most life.

With Regolith, Wheaton continues to plumb the possibilities
of pictorial surface tension, while considering the
mobility of the veneer of the Earth. In her latest collages,
found images are re-inscribed with meaning by the context
of their composition. Implicit to these works’ surfaces
are strenuous compressions, tight fits orchestrated over
eons, quick breaks, slowly drifting layers and sudden
suspensions. Also employing these processes are
paintings, many of them the largest she has exhibited to
date. While continuing to enfold found images, here the
process of painting generates the forces and content of
earthly activity. History, tumult, growth and light spread,
contract and transform each surface into a new spatial
state, depending on location.

Jess Willa Wheaton grew up in California and lives and works in New York City.
She received a Certificate in Visual Arts from Camosun College, a BFA from the
California College of the Arts and an MFA from Hunter College in 2013. In the past
year her work has been exhibited at Zusi Graham, Cologne, Germany and in several
group exhibitions in New York. Wheaton gratefully acknowledges the support
of Camosun College, where she is the current Artist in Residence for 2014.
Hot Tears, Jess Willa Wheaton, 2014,
found images, glue, 19 x 25 cm