Behind Closed Doors

Authored by: WAG Staff on December 4, 2018

Jaimie Isaac loves to visit artists in their studios. The WAG Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art finds it fascinating to peek at how artists begin with a loosely formed idea, conduct research and experiment as they develop the concept, and finally, through a process that is seldom linear or predictable, emerge with a finished creation. Isaac’s curatorial concept for the exhibition Behind Closed Doors is to share some of that behind-the-scenes discovery with you.

She has asked ten artists to exhibit several interdisciplinary works each, in ways that reveal some of their creative process. “I want to expose the enchantment of a studio visit,” Isaac says. “A lot of these artists first sketch, then watercolour, then transform the work’s materiality and form through sculpture and installation. In this exhibition, the audience can actually see that transformation and see the process unfolding.”

All the featured artists live in the city or have roots here, many making their WAG debuts. “I really wanted to focus on the amount of amazing work happening in Winnipeg,” Isaac says. You will find artwork by Ian August, Irene Bindi, Mia Feuer, Takashi Iwasaki, Shaun Morin and Melanie Rocan, Kristin Nelson, Matea Radic, Dominique Rey, and Robert Taite.

The curator has collaborated with the artists in deciding how to best show their “laboratory of process.” The exhibition includes sculpture, collage, painting, drawing, photography, animation, and sound-based work.

The title Behind Closed Doors carries further meaning, Isaac says. She invited Ian August and Irene Bindi to venture inside the WAG’s basement vault of more than 27,000 artworks and “excavate” an object from the collection to influence the creation of a new piece.

“It’s exciting for artists to see what’s in the WAG’s holdings, and to look at some of those objects through a re-interpretive and contemporary lens,” says the curator. “I’m interested in finding ways for the public, as well as artists, to interact and engage with the WAG collection.”

Story by Alison Mayes

You can catch a weekend drop-in tour guided by WAG volunteers Dec 8, 30; Jan 12, 27; Feb 16. Art for Lunch tour with Isaac, Feb 6, 12pm. All tours included with Gallery admission.

Above artwork: Robert Taite. ‘vista de instalação’ (detail), 2018. Clear gesso/acrylic latex on canvas, acrylic latex on MDF. Collection of the artist. Photo: David Lipnowski.

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