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Installation view of Combine. Harbourfront Centre. Photography: Tom Bilenkey.

Combine (main gallery)

January 17 - January 17, 2019

Joi T. Arcand, Amalie Atkins, Tyler Brett, Bruce Montcombroux, Clint Neufeld, Alison Norlen

Curated by Patrick Macaulay

COMBINE situates the works of 17 artists throughout York Quay Centre. The title conjoins two iconic references – the image of the mighty prairie farming machine and the assemblages first created by Robert Rauschenberg – a hint to where the artists are from and what they are up to. Participating artists were selected for their mutual understanding of how the amalgamation of disparate objects and images can create new stories and meanings.


Joi T. Arcand

Here on Future Earth

Here on Future Earth is a photographic series that addresses the loss of First Nations languages in Canada. The project depicts locations that share an everyday Saskatchewan aesthetic – a town hall, a gas station, an ice cream stand, a bus mall, restaurants and hotels – with a twist – all of the English words have been replaced with Plains Cree syllabics. Though most viewers will be unable to read the text in the photographs, it is this inability that demonstrates the current critical state of First Nations languages in Canada and the importance of language revitalization. The dreamlike quality of the images evokes a feeling of nostalgia – however, it is clear that these images are from an imaginary or alternate history or future: a parallel universe where First Nations languages are thriving and visible in everyday life.

Joi T. Arcand is a photo-based artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan (2005). She has served as chair of the board of directors for Paved Arts in Saskatoon and was the co-founder of the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary aboriginal art gallery in Saskatoon. Her work merges the personal with the political through the use of her own family history in addressing the Canadian aboriginal experience. Drawing from her family narratives, Arcand’s photo work connects memory and landscape with humour and nostalgia, while asking questions about what it means to be a mixed-race aboriginal woman. Her work has been exhibited at the Mendel Art Gallery and Paved Arts (Saskatoon) and grunt gallery (Vancouver), as well as being published in BlackFlash Magazine.

Amalie Atkins

Three Minute Miracle

Three Minute Miracle is a 13 minute 16mm film about the mystery of a fictional world. Journeying through a barren winter landscape, the central character struggles to carry a giant cake, pausing occasionally to scan the landscape with her stitched telescope. Her long journey leads to a world where wolves ride a red felt bike and gold teeth hold magical powers. “Eight minutes long and shot on 16 mm color film, Scenes From a Secret World has been described as Sound of Music meets Jaws. Influenced by the violent acts witnessed in my neighborhood, often disrupting my sleep and infiltrating my dreams, the film re-works these nightmares into an improbable, but desirable utopian narrative. Akin to silent film, the absence of dialogue paired with an original musical score reinforces the emotive, and at times, melodramatic qualities of the film. Compositions on accordion, piano, cello, violin, and glockenspiel add texture and dimension to the sound while summoning distant memories of old musicals and the silent movie era. “This work delves into the life/death/life cycle of fairy tales while proposing re-imagined archetypal characters: a wolf that is not evil and a damsel who is not in distress.”

— Amalie Atkins

Amalie Atkins is a multidisciplinary artist whose work hop-scotches from filmmaking to fabric-based sculpture to performance. Her work is inspired by the repetitive tasks related to her textiles work, such as cutting and stitching, during which subconscious ideas emerge into stories and eventually story lines. Having studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Atkins currently lives and works in Saskatoon. Her work has been exhibited across Canada, the US, and debuted in Berlin, Germany (2009).

Tyler Brett

Odyssey Panorama

“Although imbued with a good measure of humour and implied optimism the digital drawings I have been producing since 2001 in collaboration with Tony Romano as T&T and independently (between 2007-09) while working towards my MFA degree at the University of Saskatchewan, resemble a familiar Hollywood science fiction; a Mad Max kind of world, where survivors of an apocalyptic event recycle the cast-off remnants of industrialization and prepare for an uncertain future. Technology is apparent, but simplified and reduced to a personal scale in the form of renewable energy systems. By suggesting that the products of unsustainable systems be used to construct inhabitable sculptures, that is architectural art, drawings of this nature propose a shift in thinking from the standpoint of the preservation and maintenance of the ecological, economic and technological status quo to the survivalist approach of preparing for an unstoppable change. The versatility and sense of freedom that digitally produced drawings offer promotes a sense of risk free experimentation that often leads to an inquisitiveness that motivates me to push the limits of architectural representation.”

— Tyler Brett

Tyler Brett graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2001. He completed his MFA at the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. He has produced art and music independently and in collaboration with Tony Romano as T&T since 2001. He currently lives and works in Bruno, Saskatchewan where he operates All Citizens (art shop, music venue and coffee house).

Bruce Montcombroux

Camper Boat and Modal Ski

“My work explores themes about invention and supplanted narratives. I am interested in how invention can be interpreted as something tangible, or conversely something ephemeral such as a meta-story or narrative overlay. “My artistic exploration is influenced by personal experiences of emigrating from England to Canada, residing in isolated communities in Northern Canada, the Arctic, frequent moves, and many summers spent living in a tent trailer in various national parks. As such, questions about place and belonging form a subtext in my work. I work in a mixed-media approach that includes sculpture, both kinetic and static, diorama, and drawing.”

— Bruce Montcombroux

Bruce Montcombroux is a practicing artist currently living and working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he graduated with an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan (2007), and now teaches sculpture and extended media as a sessional instructor with the Department of Art and Art History. Montcombroux exhibits nationally, has been the recipient of grants and awards, has participated in artist talks, panel discussions, conducted workshops for children at the Mendel Art Gallery, and volunteers for AKA Gallery. He has also attended the Banff Centre residency program, the Vermont Studio Center residency program and the NES Artist Residency in Skagastönd, Iceland.

Clint Neufeld

Cherry Blossom Dynaflow
Three Deuce’s

“The pieces that will be exhibited belong to a larger body of work that developed out of an exploration into masculinity and beauty. The resultant work combines two seemingly opposite worlds, the mechanic’s garage and the formal tea setting. I am particularly interested in both the transformation of the object through a material shift and altering its location from the greasy caverns of the automobile to the quaint pristine antique furniture on which they currently reside. Through subtle shifts in materials and placement, these mundane objects that are so connected to masculinity are drastically changed.”

— Clint Neufeld

Clint Neufeld was born and raised in small town Saskatchewan. Prior to pursuing a career in art, Neufeld spent three years with the Canadian military, which included a deployment to the former Yugoslavia in 1994. After a failed attempt pursuing a career as a firefighter Neufeld began his BFA at the university of Manitoba in Winnipeg and finished at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. In 2006 he completed his MFA at Concordia University. He now lives and works on an acreage near the town of Osler, Saskatchewan.

Alison Norlen

glimmer series

“My new work continues my fascination with spectacle, utopia and fantasy and acts as a kind of montage incorporating ghost-like representations of places and events that no longer exist, have lost their significance and purpose but our nonetheless familiar, or may strangely have new purpose and function and acquire new meaning. The overall impression is reminiscent of 20th century fantasy parks such as the Crystal Palace, and Luna Park, the Brighton piers, Las Vegas, historic replicas, archives and aviation museums…these images have culminated into the building of large-scale drawings and small sculptures. While loosely based on places such as Coney Island and Luna Park these drawings represent places seen and unseen, structures recontextualized lost and that exist as dreamlike ghosts of what they originally represented. A large zeppelin infers ideas that these massive structures may again return to our visual landscape and return to becoming a new and futuristic mode of travel. These new works attempt to metaphorically represent utopia and fantasy, familiar and unfamiliar experience, but also redundancy, a kind of reflection, and disintegration of memory, and the vaporous zone between present and future.”

— Alison Norlen

Alison Norlen grew up in Kenora, Ontario and moved to Winnipeg at seventeen to become a barber. While working in a traditional barbershop she slowly took art classes at the University of Manitoba to eventually obtain a BFA Honors degree, and went on to complete MFA from Yale University. Norlen returned to Canada and taught at the University of Manitoba for 10 years before moving to Saskatoon, where she continues her artistic practice and teaches at the University of Saskatchewan.

Her work is in private collections in the United States and Canada, and included in public collections such as the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Confederation Centre for the Arts, and the National Gallery. Norlen has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, as well as the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and has been the recipient of an International Artist Residency in Trinidad by the Canada Council for the Arts.

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