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Portage gallery gets crafty 0

Jamie Fischer
Photo by... Jamie FischerWinnipeg artist, Kristin Nelson, installs her contribution to the Portage and District Art Centre's latest exhibit, Hovercraft, directly on to the gallery's wall.

Photo by... Jamie FischerWinnipeg artist, Kristin Nelson, installs her contribution to the Portage and District Art Centre's latest exhibit, Hovercraft, directly on to the gallery's wall.

The Portage and District Art gallery is opening an unconventional exhibit next week. Hovercraft: Navigating the Shorelines of Art and Craft will have its gallery night on March 10, where the public is invited to stop by and meet a few of the artists the artists. The exhibit is still currently being put up, but it will be available to the public during the gallery's general hours.

Co-curator of the event, Jenny Western, said the exhibit is very playful. "The title is even playful," she said, "It brings up an image of a hovercraft zooming across the waters of art and craft."

Western said one of the interesting things about the Hovercraft exhibit is that it consists of young Manitoba artists. "We're (Western and Co-curator Kerri-Lynn Reeves) really interested in looking at what younger artists are doing with art and craft now and thinking about what a postdisciplinary practice means," she said. The practice Western referred to involves mixing disciples and not necessarily seeing art and craft as separate.

Western described the exhibit as "art and craft engaging together and engaging theory as well."

The exhibit includes work by seven artists and features many different media including duct tape, a wool, wood, and even pig intestines. Several creative dolls and cross work pieces are also on display.

"We're just excited for all the different artists in the show who have sort of a new take on some of the older traditions," Western said.

Kristin Nelson is a young artist based out of Winnipeg included in the exhibit. Originally from Ontario, Nelson made the move to Manitoba for its art community.

Her contribution is a portrait made of string installed directly onto a gallery wall. Her subject? Whoever happens to be the SUNshineGIRL the day she does her installations. "This is Olivia," she said of her current model. "She loves gospel music, reggae, and rap."

Nelson is on the Manitoba Craft Council, and said it was great when her work was chosen to be part of the exhibit.

"It's nice to have it in Portage," Nelson said of the exhibit. "Instead of always in Winnipeg."

As far as the exhibit's title goes, Nelson doesn't see herself as just a craftsman. "I don't really pin hole my work as being craft art," she said. "I don't think there's a necessity to label something as craft of not. It's a pretty retired subject. This is an art exhibit."

"I don't always do craft based pieces," she said. "If a craft element suits the work, then that's what I'll use, but if it doesn't, I won't."

Nelson sees her fellow artists in the exhibit as more than craftsman as well. "I think everyone here uses alternative processes instead of what people might call mainstream craft work."

Nelson will be demonstrating how to fuse art and craft at a workshop at the gallery on April 9. She'll be bringing along MacStitch, a computer program that makes patterns, to demonstrate that a pattern doesn't always have to go on canvas to make a cross stitch. "I'm interested in people using patterns to experiment and explore," she said.

Hovercraft features work from Takashi Iwasaki, Jeanette Johns, Heather Komus, Chantel Mierau, Kristin Nelson, Jennie O'Keefe and Suzie Smith. The opening event is March 10.

For more information on the exhibit or how to register for Nelson's workshop, call the gallery at 239-6029.

jfischer@cpheraldleader.com


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