Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Choreographic Displays: In conversation with Dalia Amara
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | Luther Konadu
A photograph will always be a point of view of the photographer hence making it subjective and not objective. American-Jordanian artist Dalia Amara is well-attuned to this logic and it serves as a guide for which she directs the on looking viewer's attention. As subjective as photographic images inherently are, they deceptively present undeniable parallels to reality often convincing us of its objectivity. Amara recognizes this divide between her own impulses for crafting an image and how the camera and audiences receive them. “I’m invested in our attempts to represent so-called truth in photographs when the medium is subjective”, she states in our conversation. Her work accentuates the illusory and manipulative role of the camera in mediating our views of self as it relates to the dominant commercial environs. Looking...
2017 in retrospect
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 | Public Parking Staff
The meat world of the arts seem to increasingly become an endangered species. This is evident as most of us continue to be pinned to our screens and into the whirlpool of news, stories, memes, and whatever cultural artifacts that are flushed into the ether these days.  I mean, wouldn't it be nice to live in a more decentralized IRL world where we can save our sweat trekking to the usual cultural hubs? I suppose that is why centers like Contemporary Art Daily understand this desire and makes us complicit to our streaming wherever you want lifestyles. That said, we continue to hold on to the vitality of museums, galleries, theatre houses, and the like. Because they continue to legitimize and uphold these things we collectively agree as being aspects...
"Mediation is our bread and butter" : in conversation with Máire Witt O'Neill
Monday, December 11, 2017 | Luther Konadu | Mielen Remmert
For Máire Witt O'Neill, generating personas is akin to summoning something unconscious within herself. She compares this to performing an exorcism. This process is in many ways an act of critique and scrutiny but it's in no way combative. She mines her own amalgamated overwrought emotional and social exchanges to build characters that are often conflicting, contradictory, and hard to pin down. Given that our everyday interactions are often through intermediaries, be it implicit or otherwise, O'Neill theorizes this as a destabilizer for ideas of "truth". In turn, it allows for a slippage of the good and the bad and as she describes in our conversation, "a "groundlessness". O'Neill uses this space of instability as a means to trouble authority inherent within reality. She does this independently and collaboratively by...
Off: In conversation with Erica Eyres
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 | Luther Konadu | Mielen Remmert
In a lot of ways, Erica Eyres’ primary medium has always been herself, in the most discursive and far-reaching way possible. For the better part of two decades, Eyres has amassed a wealth of work tapping into the fabric of her life and fantasies to irreverent and at times unnerving effect. Eyres has always flourished in the idea of failure. Or rather, she always seems to eschew consensus of the norm.  She engages this idea of failure as a banal occurrence. And she does this through hyperbole, bizarro conceits, and seriocomedy.  In doing so, Eyres reveals her own disquieting vulnerability. You can’t help but giggle with nervous recognition at her more recent videos like Clay Head or Pool of Blood or even CPR Conference, where one of her characters has...
In conversation with Patrick Cruz
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | Mariana Muñoz Gomez
Earlier this past spring, I made my way to  Plug In ICA for Patrick Cruz’s artist talk. I skipped Patrick's gallery walk-through before the talk as it was being given in Taglish (Tagalog and English). Not knowing a word of Tagalog, I had curiously made my way through the event write up in that language, recognizing the affinity between the sounds of some words in Tagalog and in Spanish. Patrick’s exhibition, Brown Gaze (Titig Kayumanggi), had opened a couple of nights previously. In the gallery, I walked onto the paintings installed on the floor, noticed the stacks of cardboard boxes of food products, and stopped at the videos within the stacks. What looked like cell phone videos of a puppy lying on a tile floor, cut to footage of a...
The Perpetual Protest: a conversation with Jelsen Lee Innocent
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | Luther Konadu
We engaged in a conversation with New York-born Haitian American artist Jelsen Lee Innocent. Coming from a background in the communication arts—advertising and graphic design—Innocent has been hesitant to call himself an artist. He has always been communicating creatively and learning how to use objects to speak for different purposes outside of his own interests or curiosity. Now, he’s been steadily redirecting some of what he knows about object-making into a more nuanced personal and intimate conversation that isn’t necessarily pointed towards a consumer but an audience.   All through our exchange with Innocent, he is every much earnest and fluid with what he shares and how he shares it. When it comes to making artwork, he is very much the same way. Innocent is very much trafficked by, and hypersensitive...
Ad Hoc Structuring : in conversation with Ryan Scails
Thursday, September 7, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Our conversation with Ryan Scails traveled in multiple directions steering us beyond his mere creative output. In the end, we get somewhat of a sustained portrait. So much so we are splitting our conversation with Scails into a two-part post. Above all, we learn how most of  Scails' experiences outside of his creative work implicitly weaves itself into his object making. Throughout our exchange, Scails remains casual and candid as he shares bits of his upbringing in Bethel, Connecticut with a social justice activist mother, a father brought up during Jim Crow and how their individual influences continue to be windows through which he interacts with his surroundings. As you read through our chat Scails is cunningly self-aware as he highlights his views on the inescapable race relations he finds...
Reality Games: in conversation with Zeesy Powers
Thursday, August 24, 2017 | Luther Konadu
For some time now, Zeesy Power’s performance centered inquiries on our tacit social and cultural fabric has progressed further into what she is presently at task with—our engagement with digital technologies. To a great extent, Powers accentuates for us again and again, what may appear inevident or rather latent in our quotidian interrelations. Powers is painstakingly working along the ever-gaping learning curve to understand code and the technical complexities behind the mobile screens and gadgets that continue to entangle significant parts of our everyday experiences. “It’s so critical to how we are experiencing the world and will continue to experience the world but it is so abstract” Powers describes. For digital devices that are ever so ubiquitous and accessible they continue to remain foreign to the average individual user as...
Chandra Melting Tallow | Mourning Coup
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Chandra Melting Tallow is an artist whose output can be described as poly-directional. And this has come to include their sound work under the moniker Mourning Coup. A project which progressed out of their former work in conceptual performance art. Their work has been presented in Istanbul, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal among other places. The Vancouver based, Blackfoot and mixed ancestry from Siksika Nation has been steadily creating work whenever able amid disabilities beyond their control. The visceral reverb-laden incantation wails that bookend Tallow's full-length debut is the result of five years of crafting and chipping away at Mourning Coup's Baby Blue album. An eeriness and propulsive energy are rather discernible over structure through the course of the album where at times the vocals are seemingly wordless and sound like...
:3lON
Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Luther Konadu
We connected with Baltimore native :3lON a few months ago after serendipitously coming across is work on SoundCloud.  :3lON uses his music and sounds to construct atmospheres that feel as though they occur in zero gravity. And his soft languid warm voice orbit and interweave loosely with the pulsing backing production. His work almost serves as a refuge outside tangible reality. It is vulnerable but carried with control. It is effortlessly harmonious yet dissident. In our conversation, :3lON shares with us how music-making came into fruition for him tracing back his earliest memories of creating and finding interest in sounds. He also shares a little on the creative environment in his current Baltimore base, an environment that continually favours the same overrepresented creatives Baltimore gets known for and how this...
Portfolio: Gabriela Jolowicz
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Dutch artist and fellow printmaker MC Escher comes to mind when viewing woodcut printmaker, Gabriela Jolowicz’s at times winding, and playful perspectives that take us in multiple directions all at once. Albrecht Dürer is another early woodcutter and fellow German whose work parallels Jolowicz’s overcrowded and skewed pictorial spaces that are easy to get lost in. Jolowicz, like Albrecht, has a way of playing with a false perspective, and with the size of forms and objects in relation to one another.  Below is a sample of Jolowicz. Check out more on her work Here.           Installation View   Installation View
Parking Lot : Gabi Dao
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Parking Lot is our lax interview series where we get to really know a creative. We get to learn about what they've been up to creatively, some random facts about them, some telling ones, and just about anything else that comes up.  On this episode, we speak to the exquisite Gabi Dao.  Preface: our chat happened a few bits ago so some of the talking points are from our initial point of exchange but nonetheless, it was rather a delight getting to be in conversation with the Vancouverite as she details a little about her life as an up-and-comer in the arts. Dao seems to have her hands in a lot aside from her opulent articulations of nuanced thinking processes through object making and sound work. She's currently embarking on...
Portfolio: Kieta Morimoto
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Japanese Canadian Kieta Morimoto’s meticulous and ambitious paintings appear to be situated within the same space as European Old Masters and in a way, creates an intriguing subversion that keeps you staring in contemplation. His paintings draw on a learned interest in premeditated compositions, modeling, and refined surfaces. We asked Morimoto share with us a few words he might freely associate with his paintings and below is what he came up with: extraordinary, Ordinary, Magic, Light , City , Common People , Fantasy, Ambivalence, Memory Lane , Nostalgia, Melancholy , Peaceful   You can check out a sample of his work below:
Studio Visit: Jillian Groening
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 | Luther Konadu
To the uninitiated eye, the wide-ranging and ever expanding genre (if it can be called that) of western contemporary dance can be a fiddly entity to find a point of access to. Having amalgamated itself with what seems like an infinite possibility of facets including ties to jazz, theatre, ballet, performance art, as well as African and Japanese dance, it’s a shapeshifting thing to even try to pinpoint. When you get choreographers like Anne Teresa Baroness De Keersmaeker making pieces that elevate the simple vocabulary of running, sitting, walking, and hopping into passages of whimsy, /or when you watch a mainstay like Pina Bausch fluently morphing mental and emotional states into physical ones, /or you get Bill T. Jones visualizing sound and poetry through his body, /or the free flowing...
Aggregating Sentience: in conversation with TJ McLachlan
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Whiteness is a default. Whiteness is normal. It’s so normal it is trivial to most who identify as white and even those who don’t. I am still unsure to what extent artist TJ McLachlan sincerely knows this even after our conversation. But unlike most who roll their eyes or get hot and bothered at the hint of a ‘check your privilege’ assertion, McLachlan has set his art practice to have dialogues about this same contentious thing called privilege as it relates to whiteness and patriarchy. And to that, there’s a clear awareness of self in a place like the Canadian landscape—to a certain degree.   It seems as though the hot thing to do in our zeitgeist is flailing around picket signs, and  joining the ever-expanding band of social justice warriors...
Compulsory Figure: in conversation with Jordyn Stewart
Thursday, March 23, 2017 | Luther Konadu
We meet Beamsville Ontario-bred artist, Jordyn Stewart, at a point where her creative output extensively involves action making with the audience of a recording camera. A lot of these performative activities are both parts instinctive and measured inquisitive responsiveness to her early memories—memories of the physical natural environs she was situated in, memories of home, memories of winter activities, the familiar, the domestic etc. What arises from these enquiries are often peripherally absurd gestures like mixing found disparate land rubble in a mechanic blender or walking on gathered pieces of rocks or plotting a personal skating rink the size of her height to perform a skating routine. However, what in effect surfaces from all these enactments are several questions including the slippery nature of ownership, property, land possession and displacement...
A conversation with Aaron Scheer
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | Luther Konadu
With the rise of computer graphics software, the internet, and other digital technological advances that occurred through the nineties, it made it more and more accessible for age old mediums like painting and drawing to drift from tactile surfaces into virtual interfaces. Now, we see people like Cory Archangel, Artie Vierkant, and Petra Cortright incessantly bending, reconfiguring, and creating within that ever-so-expansive digital pictorial space. Reaching from that long set rubric of painting and drawing, Gothenburg via Berlin-based artist Aaron Scheer uses his work to engage that pictorial space within the screen. Making free form digital gestures with keyboard commands and touchscreen swipes, the result of Scheer’s compositions are distortions, static, and blips juxtaposed at times with subtle gradations of luminous color saturations that recalls Jules Olitski’s airy pure color...
Studio Visit : John Patterson
You don't often get a lot of people unabashedly lauding their mothers for being elemental supporters in their creative pursuits. We paid a visit to Winnipeg residing artist, writer, poet John Patterson at his studio back late last summer and among various points of conversation were his mother’s influence at an early age to just freely make and make whatever he wanted. A pivotal part of why Patterson creates to date. Patterson shared with us some of his in-progress projects, why self-referencing seems to be a reoccurring inclination in his work, why he ran into problems as a result while in art school, and his ongoing search for squash playing partner.  You can read the record of our visit below.          "The beauty of having a studio outside of school is...
Eunice Bélidor
In 1975 after giving a commencement address at Harvard University, a student in the audience made a request  to Mohammed Ali. The student asserted without hesitation “give us a poem”.  Ali will then poignantly respond with two simple but weighty words that still reverberates today. He responded with “Me/We”. Decades later in 2007, those two words will become the bases of a Glenn Ligon neon text installation which fittingly hangs from the walls of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Chief director and curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden embraces the sentiment those two syllabi permeates through her work at the museum. In many ways, it is a sentiment about the relationship between the individual and the community. How these two dichotomies are inseparable and how impossible it...
Reassemblage: a conversation with Johanne Teigen
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Luther Konadu
The manipulated photographic image gained recognition as far back as the Surrealist movement with artists like Man Ray. It can refer to that of photos without any perceptible imagery or a prominently obfuscated subject. Or in the case of Gursky or even Wall, with the help of technological advances the photograph’s original state is seamlessly altered-- in some of Wall’s cases even before the image is captured—in doing so, it opens up ideas of objectivity that photography promises and rather offering alternate worlds. Johanne Teigen’s work falls somewhere in the continuum of this image/reality manipulation lineage. Teigen is only interested in the captured imaged as a starting point. She is not satisfied with the image’s ostensible objective representation. Instead, using digital means she stretches, over saturates, crops, blends, twists, skews,...
Geetha Thurairajah
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Luther Konadu
In a text on Dana Schutz's bio, The Saatchi Gallery described Schutz's paintings as "teetering the edge of tradition and innovation." I don't think it will be too much of a stretch to designate the now Toronto-based artist geetha thurairajah’s works in a similar accord.  It’s  really no wonder Canadian Art Magazine included her as part of a group of creatives making “Forward Thinking Practices.” Like Schutz, thurairajah’s forms call to mind other weirdo painters like Philip Guston and even Nicola Tyson. Unlike Schutz’s deceptively whimsy worlds that tend to be filled with beach orgy scenes and self-eating characters thurairajah’s seemingly makeshifty loose airbrush surfaces (each matched with curiously unexpected titles) can range in explorations around her own hybridity –sometimes via good ol' Bugs Bunny and/or pop icons like Drizzy—to...
Learn and unlearn: a conversation with Danièle Dennis
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | Luther Konadu
Danièle Dennis is a keenly cognizant and inquisitive individual. Of self, of self as an African descendant, of self as a Jamaican, of self as Canadian, Of self as an African/Jamaican/Canadian living in North America, Of self as an African/Jamaican/Canadian artist working within a Western art historical context, of self in relation to her environment and community. Dennis is cognizant of her own potential biases and seeks to diverge away from them.   “What is constantly marinating in my mind is the notion of learning and unlearning.” She tells me this in talking about freeing herself from previous predispositions about what she might know so as to open herself up for change and knowledge.  Dennis is currently in the middle of her graduate studies in Philadelphia and she’s quick to point...
Parking Lot: Agnes Wong
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 | Public Parking Staff
Parking Lot is our lax interview series where we get to really know a creative. We get to learn about what they've been up to creatively, some random facts about them, some telling ones, and just about anything else that comes up. In this episode with got in touch with multi-directional creative, Agnes Wong. The Eindhoven via Toronto-based creative share with us her experience living in the Netherlands and how that is informing the way she thinks through her work, where she would like to see her creative pursuits go in the future, some of her earliest impulses, and what she's been curious about lately.    Public Parking: Are you currently in the Netherlands?   Agnes Wong: Yes! I am in Eindhoven currently, a smaller city in the southern part of the...
Conceptual Romance: a conversation with Rachael Thorleifson
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 | Luther Konadu | Robyn Adams
Part way through the second verse in that Jenny Hval track, we hear her declare to a partner in a very matter-of-fact way:  "My heartbreak is too sentimental for you" and as she does her voice soars upward and at once, we are in the middle of her cry. She brings us in the middle of a cascading end of what sounds like a relationship or her actual life or perhaps both. "I'm high, high on madness/These are my combined failures/I understand infatuation, rejection/ They can connect and become everything, everything that's torn up in your life." In different contexts these same exertions Hval makes can sound needlessly grandiose if not hifalutin. And yet, it seems like the only way to utter what is being felt in that moment. Winnipeg...
Parking Lot: Nathan Levasseur
Monday, January 23, 2017 | Public Parking Staff
Photo by Joshua Storie     Parking Lot is our lax interview series where we get to really know a creative. We get to learn about what they've been creating, some random facts about them, some telling ones, and just about anything else that comes up. In this installment, we had the pleasure of speaking  with Edmonton's Nathan Levasseur. We learned quiet a lot from Lavasseur as he shared with us how he thinks through his predominately design based approach to his practice, his thoughts on emotional labour, male vulnerability,  and bit on what he was like as kid among other talking points.     levasseur:       "it’s really interesting that people who produce most of the visual language we engage with are not trained or pushed to dismantle or reject harmful stereotypes— I wonder...
Parking Lot: Shellie Zhang
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | Public Parking Staff
Parking Lot is our lax interview series where we get to really know a creative. We get to learn about what they've been up to creatively, some random facts about them, some telling ones, and just about anything else that comes up. In this installment we speak with Toronto based artist Shellie Zhang We first got in contact with Zhang right around the onset of US presidential elections late October into early November. In our chat we find out how the US's new presidential administration personally affects Zhang, her experiences growing up between China, the US and Canada, where she'd like to see her creative pursuits go, some of her earliest creative memories, and also we talk about her ongoing photo series that tracks the history of a Chinese delicacy...
A Conversation with Brooks Dierdorff
Monday, January 9, 2017 | Luther Konadu
"Currently I live in Orlando, Florida and we are about to get hit by a hurricane and I'm not exactly sure what that is going to entail. Let me get back in touch with you in a few days." That's artist and educator Brooks Dierdorff back in October when we first got in contact with him. Category 5 Atlantic hurricane--Hurricane Mathew--had formed and was just about to pass through Lesser Antilles and Southeastern United States among other adjacent regions.  Hurricane Mathew was set to bring widespread destruction and damage through high-pressure winds which it did in its dissipation. It caused a catastrophic amount of fatalities as it moved through Western Atlantic. For us living in central Canada where hurricanes are rare, all of sudden we were no doubt tuned in...
A Conversation with Zinnia Naqvi
Thursday, December 15, 2016 | Luther Konadu
It's about 8am in Winnipeg and 9am in Montreal. I wait as Zinnia Naqvi gets online to begin our video chat. My internet stream is cooperating, within moments Naqvi appears on my screen. "Hi there, don't mind me. I'm just having my breakfast" she declares.  When I first got in touch with Naqvi mid autumn, she'd just been settling in after relocating from Toronto to Montreal to begin her graduate studies at Concordia. At the root of her work is documentary based photography and video. Naqvi is aware of the social and political drawback that surfaces out of this medium and the complexity of this is what her work investigates. Naqvi's work has developed to include sculptural and installation components that taps into cross-cultural translation and identity-based politics.  Naqvi's work...
Lobster and Leaf: a conversation with Scott Kemp
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Luther Konadu
We asked Scott Kemp how often he raises his voice and he tells us: "not often. I speak softly." We only asked because of how seemingly passive and visually subdued Kemp’s art objects are in first view. It got us wondering how much of one’s personality shows up in their art and, like in Kemp’s work, where the logic of a piece starts and where personal tastes come in. The Vancouver-based artist recently exhibited Master and Apprentice, Lobster and Leaf at the artist run centre Duplex. The show takes an ostensibly nonlinear route to talk about complex ideas of social structures as they relate to his personal experience and upbringing. We talk to Kemp about the show and among other topics, his experience at Emily Carr, Ira Glass, Corn Pops,...
Book of Quotations
Friday, December 9, 2016 | Wale Owulade
As we all do our part to somehow keep the global economy engine running especially this time of the year, here is one piece of literature that will certainly make for a thoughtful present this gift giving season. Publishing house Phaidon recently put out a pocket-sized hardbook cover  of over 300 pages featuring insightful quotes taken from interviews, documentaries, memoirs, letters, and diaries on some of your favourite creatives all over.   It is carefully curated with sections on topics like money, failure, beauty, fame, sex, the creative process, discipline , and originality just to name a few. It’s a perfect resource for any emerging practice. It is opens up some honest and forthright advice, life lessons, and inspiration directly for those who’ve already experienced and established themselves through creating.   Art...