CBC, Manitoba Scene
ReviewWinnipeg artists choose work by their favourite creators Posted by Alison Gillmor, CBC Reviewer | Friday February 8, 2013

Since 2008, Richard Hines has worked on a photo-based project in which he has accompanied and photographed complete strangers on vacation.
—Alison Gillmor, reviewer

My Winnipeg has been a big exhibition and a big success, first in France and then here in town, where it has been divided into three chapters at Plug In ICA. But with this kind of sweeping group exhibition, the question always comes up: Who got left out?

The Artists' Choice--the final component of the My Winnipeg project-- is a response to that question, and also a recognition that the local art scene has kept moving in the two years since My Winnipeg's Paris debut. The premise of the all-new show is this: Each artist in My Winnipeg nominated an artist who had not been included in the original exhibition.

Portrait of a Girl

Detail of Portrait of a Girl, Erica Eyres, Pencil on paper

14 artists were chosen from these nominees to make up this last instalment. That means The Artists' Choice includes more recent work, some of it from younger or less well-known artists, and often with an idiosyncratic edge.

The works also centre on the idea of family, and how family and community have formed Winnipeg's sense of itself and its history and geography.

Erica Eyres looks at a period in the 1970s when her father was a studio portrait photographer. Images from his work ended up at their house, so that complete strangers became an odd part of Eyres' own family past. She has recreated three of these photos in large-scale graphite drawings, which are funny and heartbreaking--there's a bit of an Awkward Family Photos vibe here--but also slightly, darkly off.  

Steven Nunoda is a Japanese-Canadian artist whose parents were interned during World War II, forced to live in small shacks. Ghostown consists of dozens of small-scale tarpaper replicas of these structures. Placed on the floor in a pool of light, these fragile constructions are affecting and disturbingly beautiful.

Since 2008, Richard Hines has worked on a photo-based project in which he has accompanied and photographed complete strangers on vacation. The resulting images go beyond conventional travel pics to investigate the photographer-subject relationship. In one large C-print from 2011, Hines poignantly superimposes a quotation from his anonymous fellow travellers: "Why did we leave where we were to come over here?"

Along with nuclear and extended families, one's own and other people's, there are also the impromptu families that spring up through shared experiences and common spaces. David Wityk looks at Winnipeg's sometimes maligned, often mythologized Main Street.

His spliced-together photographic panorama covers blocks and blocks, from Portage and Main to Main and Inkster, in a long strip that curves around two gallery walls. A project that has spanned from 2006 to 2011, Wityk's work gives a sense of the neighbourhood's physical changes and social shifts. 

jake moore also looks at Main Street. Her 2013 work, Labour Day, sets up two photographs as mirror images. One depicts a thronged Labour Day celebration in 1909; the other shows the same streetscape, deserted in 2009.  

The Artists' Choice runs at Plug In ICA until March 17th. There is a public opening February 8th, 7:00 to 11:45 p.m.