D. Clarke Blake

Artist

TESTIMONIALS

Mac graduates go with the flow

WHATSON Apr 20, 2018 by Regina Haggo  Hamilton Spectator
 
BLAKE DETAIL

Dr. Clarke Blake, detail of “Anthropomortephobia (Fear of Death by Humans).” Part of Flux, an exhibition by graduating McMaster art students at McMaster Museum of Art. - Photo courtesy of Douglas Haggo

 
MULHOLLAND

Tiffany Mulholland, “Necessity.” Part of Flux, an exhibition by graduating McMaster art students at McMaster Museum of Art. - Photo courtesy of Douglas Haggo

 
UGGE DETAIL

Christina Ugge, detail of “My Hands are Tied.” Part of Flux, an exhibition by graduating McMaster art students at McMaster Museum of Art. - Photo courtesy of Douglas Haggo

1 / 3

A big hairy spider lies on its back. Hands grip the seat of a chair. Golden shoes sit on a pedestal.

These are some of the highlights in Flux, an exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art. The exhibition showcases the creations of 18 graduating students from McMaster University's Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

The students embrace a variety of subjects, styles and materials. Painting, collage, printmaking, digital work and video are on offer. But, as in previous exhibitions by graduating Mac students, sculpture and installation art dominate.

Installation art, which has been around for about 100 years, is still a challenging discipline for both artist and viewer.

D. Clarke Blake's "Anthropomortephobia (Fear of Death by Humans)" has a lengthy title and a succinct selection of only two over-life-size objects.

Blake is all for accessibility. She dislikes art that hides behind barriers. Her installation is easy to get up close to and to walk around. But while Blake beckons us in, she just as quickly pushes us out, stirring up an unsettling tension.

A furry creature, its eight legs pointing upward, lies on the floor. Seeing it from a distance recalls a toppled version of Louise Bourgeois's giant spider called "Maman."

But big spiders have a reputation for being deadly, so perhaps we should pull away from Blake's creature — just in case. The fur, however, makes us linger. It invites touch. It evokes softness.

Another perception of danger hangs above us: what looks like a giant fly swatter — or is it a spatula? Blake's humour is on show here, and insight, too. Her title seems to be an invented word playing on arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. Some people may be deathly afraid of spiders, but spiders have even more reason to fear humans.

Blake likes to recycle materials. She reworks some of them, transforming them into other objects. She used a fur coat, for instance, for the creature's body. The tips of its feet and the base are made from wood.

Christina Ugge also recycles things to make art. She says she likes to juxtapose the beautiful and the bizarre.

Her installation, "My Hands are Tied," consists of a chair facing a wall hanging. There are strings attached: the two objects are united by long strands of sewing thread and knitting yarn. Some strands are hopelessly tangled.

Ugge has covered the chair with an elaborate, old-fashioned floral pattern made from short strands of coloured yarn pressed close together. The wall hanging includes raised fabric flowers.

Her installation hints at work interrupted, as if someone has been sitting in the chair working on the wall hanging. Look closely at the sides of the seat. Attached to each side is a hand ending in ruffled lace cuffs. Each hand holds maroon yarn that leads to the wall hanging.

For some historical women artists, hands cut at the wrist were symbols of women, or female artists, silenced.

Tiffany Mulholland likes shoes. So it comes as no surprise that in "Necessity" she has immortalized a pair of walking or running shoes. The pair, made of bronze, are placed on a pedestal.

Mulholland's drawings and sculptures are inspired by the ordinary and functional nature of shoes. She also comments on the role of shoes as symbols of conspicuous consumption.

 

Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, teaches at the Dundas Valley School of Art.

dhaggo@thespec.com

 

Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, teaches at the Dundas Valley School of Art.

dhaggo@thespec.com

 

This website is created and hosted by Website.com's Site Builder.