Kailey Bryan

Member of the Month

1. First of all, can you give us some background on why and how you came to NL to establish your professional art practice?

Coming to Newfoundland happened really spontaneously! We vacationed here a lot when I was young and have family friends here, and years later my parents retired to Ferryland. When I came to visit them, Eastern Edge was first on my list. I met really energetic people there and they were exhibiting really compelling work, so when I moved here my first impulse was to volunteer with them. From my first time as a volunteer at the (then) Art Marathon Festival, I was hooked. What struck me immediately about this artistic community is how collaborative it is. Some of my first connections were with established artists here who supported me wholeheartedly, from my first grant application to my first show and beyond. It was through long nights of discussing and debating in studios or in the gallery or by fireplaces that instilled in me not only a deep commitment to supporting our community, but also a critical lens that remained present in all our dialogues and organizing. 

 

2. Your work Nervous Whether was produced during the Elbow Room residency in 2015/2016. When and why did you begin working with weaving within your art practice?

I have wanted to learn to weave since I first saw a loom. I was seduced by the exquisiteness of the loom as an object; I had no idea what it did but it was stunning unto itself. I later got a job at the Anna Templeton Centre where Katie Parnham, Sarah Minty, and a variety of others very generously taught me the basics. I’ve been hooked ever since. 

I have come to realize that repetitive action is my jam; looking back through my practice you can see it’s a fundamental feature of my object production and performance. Repetition is a means of conditioning or training, and in all aspects, it forms us as physical and psychological beings. What is repeated in our lives sort of sets our parameters for action and reaction. Weaving allows me to take the repetitive habits that I have formed as reactions to my experiences of anxiety and reroute them into something meditative and generative. Weaving is a physically and mentally consuming task. You get swept away in it, paying close attention to the order in which your pedals need to be pressed to create the pattern, ebbing and flowing with the threads back and forth like a tide. It allows me to translate that action into a pliable material that has such a rich and varied history. It extends through craft and fashion, organizes social and production spaces, and – many don’t know this – set us up for technology as we know it today. The Jacquard loom’s punch-card system was the basis for what eventually became binary code. Conceptually there’s a lot going on there!

 

3. This month that show is touring to the Grenfell Art Gallery in Corner Brook and you recently had collaborative work installed in an old house in Port Union, Grass in the Sky. Is it important to you that your work be shown in different parts of the province?

Showing work in different regions is very exciting. And you can tell that people are excited to engage with it; in just one day Grass in the sky received over 150 visitors – some local, some travelers – but it proves that people are hungry for more cultural content. And it’s really important to take the work we make and re-situate it. Sometimes things take on new meaning when you move them around, and it’s important to look at why. Or you call in a whole bunch of people you didn’t expect and they enrich and lend new lenses to your practice. It gives an opportunity to ask who we’re addressing, and how? Who is being left out of the conversation? Who is being called in? I’m really looking forward to bringing Nervous whether to Corner Brook for that reason.

 

4. Can you talk a little about some of your upcoming projects?  

As we mentioned my exhibition Nervous whether will be touring to Grenfell opening on September 28th. I’m really excited about this show. Not only are we installing the work from the original exhibition, but I’m making new works for it as well. I’m doing lots of research into the history of weaving in terms of production, social spaces, and as a precursor to modern tech; I’m also doing a lot of research on bees, if you can believe it. One of the main inspirations, formally and conceptually, for the installation was a hive or bees nest. There are a lot of poetic parallels to be made there that I’m excited to explore. I’m also working on a long-term project with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and ArtsNL that is a series of hand-drawn, painted, stitched, and paper-cut animations. These videos re-present imagery made digitally through things like Instagram, Skype, and Snapchat, and are looking at the mix of vulnerability, earnestness, and defensive irony present in our online image-making and communications.

 

5. What do you think are the unique benefits of working as an artist in Newfoundland and Labrador? What are the disadvantages?

As I mentioned earlier, the collaborative spirit of artists in this province is remarkable. It’s one of the most valuable things about working here. I think there is always more we can be doing to support and call in new members, but the amount of encouragement we are already working with – emotional and tangible, through workshops, professional development, and multidisciplinarity – is great. There is an inspiring and necessary amount of cross-over between our artists and other agents for social change: musicians, film-makers, students, political organizers, and so many more. 

The challenges of working here are often physical and financial: it costs a lot to ship work on and off the island, and to get out of province yourself for exhibitions or residencies. Another challenge is the number of exhibition spaces that exist. I can mostly speak to St. John’s, but it feels like we’re really lacking avenues, especially for emerging artists to showcase their work and get the necessary feedback and exposure to develop their practice. 

 

6. How do you spend your time when you aren’t working on your art practice? 

I work a lot! Something that we talk about a lot in terms of advocacy in our communities – popularized by VANL and our revolutionary friend the late Mary MacDonald – is that art = work. We are so grateful for the support we receive as artists here municipally and provincially, but there needs to be a hard look taken at the research presented by our cultural workers and the value that we contribute to our cultural and tourism sector. That financial support needs to be negotiated in a way that doesn’t impact the integrity of the works being produced and exhibited here, especially those with political content and objectives. When I’m not at work I’m reading, drawing, playing board games with my family, watching movies, weaving, or making silly noises with my friends! I also play a lot of Tetris (I mean a lot).

 

7. Lastly, a fun question: describe your perfect studio space.

Oh gosh! Bright! Clean! Extraordinarily tidy! My dream studio would have hardwood floors and white walls, big windows and lots of shelving. Supplies would be meticulously organized by type, size, and colour.  It would contain my loom and weaving supplies, a woodworking area, a drafting table, lots of plants, and a charming quiet cat.

 


Lucas Morneau

BIO:

Lucas Morneau is an interdisciplinary artist from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Morneau received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts at Memorial University – Grenfell Campus in 2016, where he spent a semester abroad in Old Harlow, England, and will be a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts (Studio Art) program at University of Saskatchewan in late 2016. Lucas Morneau has exhibited  in exhibitions in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, including juried exhibitions at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery andGrenfell Campus – Memorial University, and in exhibitions in England. Using photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and performance, Morneau’s work oscillates between  the known and the unknown, while playing with perception and healing the viewer.

 

www.lucasmorneau.com

 

 

1. When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?

What I find funny is that I never really wanted to become a professional artist until I was in my second year of my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) degree. I entered the program with the intentions of going on to do medicine, but became hooked.

 

2. What mediums do you work in and why?

I am an interdisciplinary artist and am currently working with light and space. Originally a photographer, I realized that much of my work was influenced by light and wanted to work with light itself. From there, I started to do research into light and its effect on the body.

 

3. How do you get ideas for your artwork?

Light really has an influence on me. For example, the colour temperature difference between a tungsten lamp and midday light has had a big effect on my work. From there, I use minimalist structures as a matrix to hold the lights I use, whether they be LEDs or full-spectrum CFL lights.

 

4. What other artists influence your artwork?

I find that many people today use the word ‘inspiration’ inappropriately, as inspiration is something that is monumental and life changing. One artist that not only has influenced my work, but also has inspired me is James Turrell. During the summer of 2014, I and twenty other classmates travelled to the United Kingdom to spend three months studying. We went to galleries daily to view important works spanning from different time periods of art history. The pace was hectic. One day, our professor took us to see the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. While there, I saw my first James Turrell installation, Sensing Thought, 2014. Sensing Thought had, at the time, made me slow down for the first time that semester and pause. Every thought, every emotion, and every stress had left my body as I sat in from of the vertical rectangle of light. After 15 minutes of looking at Sensing Thought. I realized how much time had passed. I forced myself to continue looking at other works. After a year of back in Canada, Sensing Thought’s lights are still glowing in my mind. The piece remains vividly glowing, slowly shifting colour. It became the turning point in my art practice, making me realize what I would want to discuss in my works and how I would want to show them.

 

5. What are the “big” themes in your artwork?

My work oscillates between the known and the unknown, while fooling perception to create a feeling of both comfort and ease. With my work, I hope to create a meditative experience while making the viewer question what they see before them and whether or not it is an illusion.

 

6. What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist working in Nfld & Lab?

Due to the fact that I work with computer parts and addressable LEDs, I have to order in the vast majority of my supplies, which increases the cost of my materials.

 

7. What is the best thing about working as an artist in this province?

The arts community is so accepting here, especially on the west coast of the province. All artists come together here, regardless of interest and their areas of specialty.

 

8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to see myself working as either a full-time professional artist or working at the university level as a professor while working part-time as a professional artist.

 

9. If you werenʼt an artist, what would you be doing?

I would probably be working in the field of medicine or psychology.

 

10. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

Frost breath. Joking. I would love to be able to have a solo exhibition at the Tate Modern.


April White

BIO:

April White is an artist and arts worker who lives in St. John’s and makes watercolours and animations in her downtown studio. White received her BFA majoring in Visual Arts with special interest in printmaking, performance, and sculpture from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. After graduating, she was awarded with the Don Wright Scholarship through St. Michael’s Printshop as well as an NLAC grant to continue her art practice in St. John’s. White has worked at Eastern Edge Gallery as Assistant Director and as Art Marathon Festival Manager and is now Vice Chair of the Eastern Edge Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the St. Michael’s Printshop Board of Directors. White’s work examines uneventful moments in every day life that would normally be passed by and considers ways those moments can be metaphors for other aspects of life. Her work is currently showing at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery until December 2016.

www.aprilmarylynn.com // @aprilmarylynn

 

 

 

1. When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?

I knew I wanted to study art and have an artistic job from a fairly young age, but it wasn’t until later—in art school—that I realized that I wanted to pursue art itself as a career. I didn’t know it was possible to actually be an artist until my views were expanded when I was studying art in university.

 

2. What mediums do you work in and why?

Watercolour is my main medium of choice these days, as well as animation. I was originally drawn to watercolour when I was living away in a small town in Ontario and needed a medium that was portable and suitable for a very small studio set up. When I got to painting, I realized quickly that watercolour not only suited the subject matter I was working with, but also that I was tantalized by the quality of the colours and the nature of the process. Watercolour is a great medium for painting an image to look like a memory, with the delicate washes and subdued colours.

 

3. How do you get ideas for your artwork?

Inspiration for my work comes from every day life. I find moments in every day living—particularly mundane moments like cooking breakfast or watching TV—oddly beautiful and worth being elevated through art. There is so much about everyday life that goes unnoticed. I think it is important to take the time to examine moments that would normally be passed by because it might turn out that those moments are incredibly important.

 

4. What other artists influence your artwork?

I am in love with British artist Tracey Emin’s artwork. Through her work, she has turned her life into an open book and the projects she has done over the past twenty years are powerful and constantly teach me new ways to re-approach my own practice. Local St. John’s artists like Will Gill, Pam Hall, and Philippa Jones also influence me. They all have such diverse art practices and fresh takes on important ideas.

 

5. What are the “big” themes in your artwork?

The “big” themes in my artwork are also the titles of three Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art books of mine: Time, The Everyday, and Memory.

 

6. What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist working in Nfld & Lab?

There are two main challenges of being an artist based in NL: one is money and the other is travel. It is difficult to be a full time artist and pay rent, especially when you are still trying to establish your practice. And travel is a challenge because—again to do with money—it is expensive to get off this Island. Seeing art in other cities is a great way to expand one’s knowledge of what is happening in contemporary art nationally and internationally. I need to see where I fit in to contemporary art outside of NL and it’s hard to do that with just the Internet.

 

7. What is the best thing about working as an artist in this province?

The St. John’s art community is incredibly supportive. It is number one, top notch, phenomenal. I came to St. John’s through the Don Wright Scholarship at St. Michael’s Printshop, and a yearlong placement as a gallery assistant at Eastern Edge Gallery. The support continued through my absolutely wonderful artist & arts worker friends, through ArtsNL and City of St. John’s grants, through a fantastic studio and studio mates, through The Rooms, and through work at the Anna Templeton Centre, and HOLD FAST contemporary arts festival.

 

8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

That is a tough question. I’ll say that in the next ten years I see myself making more art, travelling, and pursuing further artistic education. Also, I really want a black lab and to become a really good banjoist and bass player.

 

9. If you werenʼt an artist, what would you be doing?

I cannot imagine not being an artist. However, when I’m not making art I am an arts worker. I want to do what I can to make other artists’ lives easier and more successful.

 

10. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

My first wish would be for 100 more wishes and then I would wish for more funding for artists, art organizations, and arts workers, and also equal pay for all genders and ethnicities. Then I would wish for more art education in the school system, and more funding for the teachers. Then I would wish for communal studio spaces in St. John’s, and cheaper flights, and the list could go on and on. Oh, and I’d wish for Shia LaBouef’s art collective to come to St. John’s and do a project here.


Lorraine Matthews

BIO:

Lorraine Matthews was born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. She is currently in the process of finishing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Memorial University-Grenfell Campus. While completing her undergrad, Lorraine found a love for relation aesthetics and other unconventional art practices. Lorraine’s strong connection with Newfoundland and Labrador is a frequent subject in her work. She hopes that one day she will settle on the island and continue her art practice with a cup of tea in hand. 

 

 

1. When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?

I was always certain I would be an artist ever since I can remember. My dad would always paint and draw with me. The fire department coloring contests would be the highlight of my time in elementary school.

 

2. What mediums do you work in and why?

I work in a variety of mediums. I am trained to work with metal, ceramics, oil paint, film photography and most forms of print making. I like coming up with an idea and then finding the right medium that would suit my idea.

 

3. How do you get ideas for your artwork?

I find it very hard to get an idea when I sit and think about ideas. My ideas come from experiences. I make a point to travel, talk to people and share stories and these are where my ideas are generated. My sketch book is filled with stories, dreams and drawings of my everyday experiences.

 

4. What other artists influence your artwork?

An artist that have been influencing my work lately is John Hartman. I am really inspired by the way he paints a landscape.

 

5. What are the “big” themes in your artwork.

Lately, my artwork has focused a lot on the idea oh home. For me, home is when I’m with people that I love or in a place that I love.

 

6. & 7. What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist working in Nfld & Lab? What is the best thing about working as an artist in this province?

For me, being an artist in Newfoundland and Labrador is a blessing. Being in a smaller area allows me to focus on things in a smaller scale. Where there are too many people, or places to see I feel overwhelmed and find it hard to take the time to focus and study one thing. I am also constantly being inspired by the landscape and small town lifestyle that surrounds me.

 

8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I see myself travelling around the world creating and always finding my way back here, to Newfoundland.

 

9. If you werenʼt an artist, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t an artist, I would be a teacher. It would be lovely to find a way to add creativity to a lesson plan everyday. Also, watching other people think creatively is inspiring.

 

10. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

If I could have one wish granted, it would be to have Newfoundland stay the safe, mystical, and heartwarming place that it is forever.

 

 

Photograph by Amber-Lynn Thorne