Free ReinFri January 17, 2020 to Sat March 21, 2020
Kamloops Art Gallery
Arts & Culture, Galleries & Exhibits
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Feminist Land Art Retreat
Feminist Land Art Retreat (FLAR) is a conceptual project that was initiated in 2010 with a poster advertising an unrealized event. Appropriating the style of a 1960s protest poster, the artists inverted an image of the canonical land artwork Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson to transform it into an image of the female reproductive system. Through this simple gesture FLAR asked the viewer to reconsider the terms “feminist,” “land art” and “retreat” and the resulting associations that emerged. By doing so, an art historical moment was reimagined. Since that time FLAR’s practice has involved advertising forms including posters, site-specific billboards and clothing, as well as videos, sculptures and performances. Their work draws upon the material, conceptual and political work of feminist artists, land artists, activists, theorists, writers and musicians.
Free Rein brings together a major body of work which began in 2017 and includes new work made specifically for the Kamloops Art Gallery. Including video, sculpture, sound and text-based work, this exhibition plays with tropes of the Western cinematic genre, particularly the character of the cowboy or Lone Ranger. By drawing from strategies of feminism, science fiction and social utopianism, FLAR proposes an alternate world in which the historical trajectories of land and gender relations exist without ownership or prescribed hierarchies. Their 3-channel video installation No Man’s Land: The Trilogy unfolds in three divergent locations (Berlin, Germany, Heffley Creek, BC, and Galisteo, New Mexico) and features three protagonists: the solitary rider, the horse and the landscape. Embedded cultural myths of the “West” are replaced by images of mutual reliance, presented through a critical feminist lens to complicate the relationship between human, animal and land.
An additional video made for this iteration of the project centres on the horse’s point of view. A wall drawing acts as an abstracted map that could be for a horse or a human, recalling dressage patterns drawn in the sand and then performed in No Man’s Land. Creating tension between a sense of comfort and control, larger-than-life horse blankets and a bridle are shifted from their everyday use to infer an otherworldly dimension. A ceramic bowl burnished with horse hair featured in No Man’s Land serves as a speaker playing a Western-style theme song. Body Language Poems describe visual cues of a horse’s body in a relaxed and aggravated state on mirrors, implicating the viewer. The project also expands outside the Gallery with a large-scale banner of a horse’s eye that connects to two advertising banners inside featuring the landscape and rider, completing the trilogy.
This body of work proposes alternative images of wildness, freedom and autonomy to the ones that have catalyzed colonial settlement and constructed feminine relationships with nature. Subverting expectations of the Western genre, FLAR’s concept of the “West” is supple, offering a story of land relations beyond ownership and one where land is tied to multiple female perspectives.
FLAR initiated No Man’s Land: The Trilogy with curator Amy Kazymerchyk in 2017 and completed post-production of the video in residence at Western Front, Vancouver, in the spring of 2018. The exhibition Free Rein was first presented at the Audain Gallery (part of Simon Fraser University Galleries) in Vancouver, May 31 to August 4, 2018, curated by Amy Kazymerchyk. The exhibition premiered No Man’s Land: The Trilogy, which was supported by SFU Galleries, the Western Front Media Arts Residency, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council and ACUD Gallery. The first chapter of No Man’s Land was presented at ACUD Gallery in Berlin, April 29 to May 28, 2017, curated by Elodie Evers. Free Rein was most recently shown at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario, January 19 to March 31, 2019, curated by Leila Timmins. This iteration of Free Rein is curated by Charo Neville, Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery.
Feminist Land Art Retreat’s recent solo exhibitions include Heavy Flow: The Re-Release, Ginerva Gambino, Cologne; Duty Free, Studio for Propositional Cinema, Düsseldorf; and Last Resort, Kunsthaus Bregenz Billboards, Bregenz. They have participated in group exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; De La Warr Pavillion, UK; 500 Capp Street, San Francisco; Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover; Kunstverein Düsseldorf, and JTT Gallery, New York City, among others. In 2018 they produced a series of aerial artworks and live radio broadcasts supported by the City of Vancouver and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.
Feminist Land Art Retreat, Gina, 2018, photograph
Curated by Charo Neville, Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
Generously sponsored by Fiona Chan, Pamela & Jason Fawcett and Ross Hill & Jane Irwin
About Kamloops Art Gallery
The Kamloops Art Gallery is a registered charity and not-for-profit society.
Incorporated in 1978, the Kamloops Art Gallery serves residents of and visitors to Kamloops (pop. 82,000) and the surrounding Thompson-Nicola Regional District (pop. 124,000) as well as national and international audiences.
In 1998, the KAG moved to a purpose-built civic building, designed by award-winning architects Peter Cardew and Nigel Baldwin, which also houses the Thompson-Nicola Regional District offices and the Kamloops branch of the TNRD Library System. The 20,853 square foot Gallery includes 4,500 square feet of exhibition space, an admissions/store area, two multipurpose studio/workshop/lecture rooms, a packing and acclimatization area, the collection storage vault with an adjoining workroom and, on a mezzanine above, administration and curatorial offices along with a research library. In 2006, the KAG was designated a Category “A” institution under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.
The Gallery’s annual attendance has ranged between 24,000 and 37,000 over the last five years. It enjoys a national reputation for its touring exhibitions and publications and has developed relationships with national and international artists, curators, critics and scholars. The KAG is also well respected for its exhibitions, events and educational and public programs through activities organized and presented in the community and region involving both contemporary and historical art. Its collection as of December 2012 consists of 2,700 works that primarily reflect the Gallery’s exhibition history. In 2005, the KAG co-commissioned with the University of British Columbia’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Canada’s participation in the 51st Venice Biennale with the work of Rebecca Belmore.
Governed by a Board of Trustees, the KAG maintains an effective organizational structure that includes a Management Team led by the executive director, a Program Team led by the curator and a Development Team led by the manager of operations. Teams meet monthly to report, evaluate, problem solve and plan.
The Kamloops Art Gallery brings art, artists and communities together.
The Kamloops Art Gallery is the principal gallery in the Southern Interior of British Columbia supporting contemporary and historical visual arts and practices on a local, national and international level. The KAG acknowledges art to be an essential part of the human experience in nurturing a healthy society. As a leading cultural institution, the KAG is an integral part of the fabric that draws intellectual, social and economic opportunities to our province and to our region.
The Kamloops Art Gallery fosters enjoyment of and interest in the visual arts by researching, developing and producing exhibitions, publications and programs that engage, challenge and inform its various audiences. The Gallery also oversees the development and preservation of a permanent collection that includes regional, national and international art in all media. It also strives to create rewarding opportunities for visual arts professionals and the public.
- Committed to art, artists and audiences
- Collaborative, respectful and ethical
- Tolerant, inclusive and diverse
- Relevant to local and regional communities
- Striving for excellence
- Fiscally responsible