Briar Craig - Through The Screen

 

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Headbones Gallery catalogue produced for the exhibition: Briar Craig - Through The Screen March 20 - April 21, 2012

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briar craig through the screen headbones gallery

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the drawers headbones gallery contemporary drawing sculpture and works on paper briar craig through the screen march 20 april 21 2012 headbones gallery

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artist catalog briar craig through the screen copyright © 2012 headbones gallery this catalog was created for the exhibition titled briar craig through the screen at headbones gallery vernon bc canada march 20 april 21 2012 artwork copyright © 2003 2011 briar craig commentary by julie oakes copyright © 2012 julie oakes rich fog micro publishing printed in vernon 2012 layout and design richard fogarty printed on the ricoh spc 811dn all rights reserved no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system except as may be expressly permitted by the 1976 copyright act or in writing from headbones gallery requests for permission to use these images should be addressed in writing to briar craig c/o headbones gallery www.headbonesgallery.com front and back covers briar craig isbn 978-1-926605-47-0 rich fog micro publishing toronto canada

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briar craig through the screen commentary by julie oakes

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briar craig through the screen man has long been divining signs that might illuminate him as to the mystery of existence through animal entrails tea leaves weather the stars insight into a question or situation has been sought from the diverse perspectives of culture ethnicity and religion briar craig s divination turns garbage into impetus and leads to rich multi-layered silk screens craig is a querist who delves into quotidian discard just as archaeologists collect sift and process their findings so craig uses messages sourced from discarded items to tell stories of the past and extend into the future the anthropologist jason de leon has studied modern migration through discarded clothing and items left behind by illegal immigrants trying to cross into the united states from mexico remnants of social and economic complexities that happened in moments that went unnoticed resurface and are documented craig sources his material in a similar fashion he takes notice of things left behind considers their significance and then revives the story line so that the object has not only a past but a future he implicates the found object in a new set of meanings through his interpretation of it and in doing so he creates a new system of communication which is often as cryptic as the source material through the screen is a series of silk screen prints vivid in hue and rich in innuendo finding images from old national geographic magazines memos notes street flotsam and media detritus craig layers the coloring so that the end result is as subtly exquisite as a medieval tapestry with a knack for discovering new meanings and associations to words and phrases craig s work provides opportunity for mind games that challenge preconceived concepts and perceptions in le dejeuner sur l herbe an unknown person made the found object and brought it into being whether it s the cover of an old national geographic magazine or a scribbled message on a hasty note the source object like a mother mould informs the end the simplistic scratched image of a naked man and woman was the original object that was found and photographed by craig they

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were scratched into the surface of a backalley brick wall in downtown toronto the circumstance for the etching of the two figures can be imagined but there was sufficient intent for someone to commit the image onto that surface craig digitally transposed those figures onto the back of a found eroded etching plate craig s changes either further or obfuscate the original when as the second party he sets up the mind game craig finds it takes notice and if it warrants enough attention that he decides to collect it in this case through photographing it a e is added it is a child-like script like a blackboard note adam and eve the word ate or simply a e a third party is now involved in the conversation the viewer in an attempt to decipher that which craig had attempted to decipher and changed during his attempt the title le dejeuner sur l herbe furthers the musing as the reference to manet s painting which is replete with sexual innuendo brings us back to the imagined circumstance that led to the scratched figures craig s use of text much like his subtractive and additive approach to image provides new understanding as well as questions divided words scrambling coherence lead to new associations as in the fortune cookie series the words of the popular divination that marks the end of a chinese meal and is taken as lightly as table talk gives cause for thought as the insertion of spaces between letters leads to the formation of new words and meanings going back and forth between extreme focus and a sense that there is something more to be seen that we have access to both the message and the visual support the disconcertion there is an inconvenience imposed that creates a discommode as if the information is intermittent to be able to grasp the entire significance we are in a position that requires a step back in order to see the whole picture and yet we have been given a magnified version of the message instead combining the shape of the letters with a convoluted messaging system briar craig tests our response the viewer is seldom allowed a passive stance for he offers just enough clues to suggest that if the mind stretches the reason why the letters have been set up in such a way will come clear it may be an association with

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temptation creeps in to forget about meaning and rest instead in a simpler visual appreciation the words utopian vacuum with a glow radiating from the relief letters on the intensely evocative background provoke a gollum-like desire to possess this found object now transformed into a precious object the personal rewards from having found significance in the discarded are however suspect as if there is more trickery at play than is realised the objects seem too incredible too wonderful to have been real scraps or perhaps it is our lack and we have not been sufficiently alert to discover the treasures that blow through the windy streets julie oakes 2012 the ground and the placement of the letters upside down for instance where the very phrase has a curious ring and when suspended in the context of an art piece it becomes even curiouser as the white rabbit coined the faded creased rusted shot or frayed material where the message is interred lends an immediate historicity to the object yet as an art piece the object is far more present than it was in reality craig coalesces his mind games in an aesthetic realm that is partially endemic to the medium silk screen the technical layering of the colors contributes to a poignancy of image the challenge of the discussion he is provoking is almost overshadowed by the poignancy of the visuals and the

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le déjeuner sur l herbe 2009 ultra-violet screenprint 28.5w x 40 h edition of 10

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serviceman 1974 lithograph ed 11/18 22 x 17

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utopian vacuum 2006 ultra-violet screenprint 28 x 40 h edition of 10

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small black cookie 2010 ultra-violet screenprint 14.5w x 20.5 h edition of 13

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