• I admit, reading the intro to this article, I was worried. My mind was racing "I thought it had been positive, I thought we really engaged Derek, he did stay for an hour after all..." and "Damn, we should have offered him some tea! How discourteous!" But then we read on...

    In fact, regarding both the gallery space and mandate, as well as this current exhibition hurts so good, he had the most balanced and truly constructive words that we've heard from writers/critics so far. This is what makes the gallery/critic/artist dynamic exciting - when a gallery can engage a critic, when a critic can provide insight for an artist, and when an artist can enable a gallery (and vice versa for all).

    - Jennifer

    Here is the closing excerpt of Derek Flack's article on BlogTO:

    Despite my own enthusiasm with the 47 and its mandate, being in its infancy there are some challenges that will need to be addressed. The current exhibition provides a good example of what I'm talking about. It stages both the promise and the potential problems posed by the (huge) space. On the one hand, it's an excellent use of the layout. The knife-strewn 8'x28' wall beckons the viewer to walk around it, to take in both the front and the back of the piece, and to engage it as an installation proper. But, on the other, it alone just can't fill the entire space. The viewer can't help but search the remaining area for more stimulation. While the piece is complete, the exhibition is not.
    This, however, is hardly the stuff of failure. Over time, I'm quite confident that the collaborative efforts between those at 47 and the artists who show there will find new and intriguing ways to incorporate the entire exhibition area. For now, they're off to an auspicious start.

    Photo Cred: Derek Flack

  • Leah Sandals writing for the National Post published this on Saturday, May 23.
    Photo cred: Viktor Cahoj.

  • We've received a comment from Andrea Carson via her blog. It reads:

        "I was disappointed by their current show, ‘Hurts so Good’. I was expecting a room filled with knives, something that perhaps took days, weeks to make, something that really engaged me as a viewer and forced me into an emotionally powerful experience. Instead, the board of knives, was….you know, kind of neat. But not really."  

        Source: viewoncanadianart.com, May 8, 2009

    We have responded to her comment on her blog, and our response is awaiting moderation. In the event the moderator does not include our response, we have posted the response here.

    We at 47 would love to have Andrea Carson and VoCA readers back to the gallery to look at and engage with the work to learn about the motivation, conception and process of hurts so good. Our experiences with critics as a gallery and separately as artists have been one of engagement, investigation, and interaction. Could not the precarious leaning of an 8 by 20 foot wall, suspended by chains, filled with over 2000 knives driven into the wood been the impetus for minimal inquiry?

    What if the automatic response to “the board of knives” became a process of questioning, instead of a dismissive definition? How often has the viewer been asked to confront the back side of an installation, complete with the very real, and very sharp points of knives upon entering a gallery? Knowing that this is a collaborative effort by an artist couple, could we not question the approach of such a violent creation?

    The aim of 47 is to engage the artist(s) to push themselves out of their artistic “comfort zone”; the zone that is so often a trap due to market demands and risk free critical plateaus. Each exhibition here is a step beyond the artists’ practices, allowing for these risks and new conceptions. Negative responses are more than welcome, we just ask that they be grounded and informed.

    Thank you Ms. Carson for expressing interest in our space. Please do not delete this comment from your blog, as this is an invitation for an ongoing dialogue.

        - Jennifer McGregor, Dennis Lin, Jaclyn Quaresma

  • Andrea Carson responded to our comments from yesterday. While we may not agree with the assessment of the exhibition, we were pleased that the dialogue is open and fair. It reads:

    Dear 47,
    Of course I wouldn’t delete your comment. It’s my opinion - everyone is entitled to their opinion. There are many ways of looking at this piece, and of appreciating it. Do not think that my opinion is not grounded or informed. It is based on over a decade of looking at, studying and critiquing art and expecting certain things from an artwork, which in this case, I feel were lacking.
    I’m happy to continue the dialogue - especially if you can change my mind about the piece.
    All best,

    *Update: As mentioned, we invited Andrea back to the gallery for a chat, as of yet we have had no such visit. We miss you Andrea.