Conspicuous Collapse is an exhibition of artwork from Biliana Velkova, Erika Mashig and Sunshine Frère. Works in this exhibition explore the thematic of breakdown across a range of media: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and video.
“This exhibition was proposed in February of 2020, portending our knowledge that 2020 would be one of the most conspicuous years of our lifetime. COVID 19 has accelerated the themes behind the exhibition and has given us an urgency to explore and investigate further. All works included address destruction as a necessary part of creation and growth. As artists, we are drawn to the notion of resilience, which there cannot be without loss and change. Living in an era where instability feels like the new normal, we seek to find strategies for working with and within change, which is truly the only constant. As artists, we are interlocuters between systems and signifiers, and cycles of renewal as well as paths of destruction. This exhibition presents the notion that there is no such thing as finality, but there are most definitely, beautiful breakdowns.”
Sunshine Frère, conspicuous collapse, 2021, Digital Collage Archival Print, Edition of , 7″ x 49″
Biliana Velkova’s drawings delve into deconstruction and construction from the perspective of development within the city. Public spaces are constantly shifting because of the frenzied rate of change within the greater Vancouver District. Velkova’s work captures this change, provoking us to consider how the shifting city is continually replacing and rewriting our memories of public space. The drawings are paired with a series of oil paintings – this traditional ‘slow and smooth’ medium provides contrast to the instantaneous, abrupt and all-encompassing, high-volume painted public spaces represented in each drawing.
My work is both representational and abstract, typically drawing on inspirations from landscape. Ranging from highly complex, rich in colour and energy, to bolder and simpler shapes, my prints start planned with intention and then become more free flowing as the image evolves.
I love the process of printmaking, for me it is almost like a ritual or mediation. Although each print is unique, the challenge in finding balance between control and serendipity is repeated. From start to finish, reduction printmaking is the build-up of marks to paper that gradually translate to an image. Each time I nervously pull a print off the press, I am reminded to accept the results and embrace the unexpected.
Painting, found objects, video, sound, photography and printmaking; what the project calls for, is what I work with. With significant aesthetic range in my work, each series dovetails into the next, interconnected via the continuous use of devices that expose, obscure and transform. Repetition and Difference are close friends of mine, we work and play together often.
The various intensities and complexities of how we receive and perceive information and the hyper-speed at which this information flows; this is where my current research focus lies. I find that this rapid rate of change amplifies our anxieties, further fracturing the fragile state of humanity today. Uncertainty overtook stability ages ago, crashing waves of noise constantly overwhelm us. We desperately cling to the business of busyness, acquiring more and more stuff, more apps and more selfies as life-preservers. All the while, not realizing that they form the riptide that drowns us.
I am worried about the impending, gigantic, networked and all-encompassing mushroom cloud cloaking the 21st century, it goes by the name of isolation. This time tomorrow…. where will WE be?
LEFT: Biliana Velkova, Pink Desert I, 2021, Oil pastel and watercolour on Arches paper. RIGHT: Erika Mashig, Dome Bog, 2020, Linocut on paper
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