Art students at work, so Knock Loudly

By David Kenney

The art of fishing usually involves knowing when to fish, where to fish and what equipment to use. Artist Calvin D. Burns’ equipment includes using his arm as a fishing rod.

A U of C graduate student, Burns will be showcasing this experience in Knock Loudly, the annual Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition. Featured in the exhibit are Sasa Boric, Burns, Allyson Glenn, Steven Mack, Tina Martel, Lionel Peyachow, Wendy Tokaryk, and Yvonne Wiegers. The eight artist show runs from Aug. 11-Sept. 16 at the Nickle Art Gallery. Included in the show are paintings, prints, mixed media pieces and sculptures. Here’s a preview from three artists’ exhibits.

Calvin D. Burns

Gone Fishing might be the best title for Calvin D. Burns’ exhibit. Yet Chasing Bones is smarter and more interesting than simple paintings of walleye. Within Burns’ journey through fish, there’s a video of the aforementioned arm-fishing event as well as fish on hooks hanging from the ceiling. An obvious fishing aficionado, Burns gets excited when talking about his exhibit.

"It’s my hobby, it’s a nice way to relax," he says of fishing. "The metaphors are huge (within the exhibit)."

Some people talk about putting sweat and blood into their art. Burns has done more than yap, he’s donated 480 mL of his own red juice for ink in poetry books.

"I was a little tired the next day," he says with a slight grin.

Twenty sculptures, seven prints, one video, a wall of poems, random writings and drawings complete Chasing Bones. Burns is prepared for interesting reactions to his exhibit.

"Some people will start to get queasy once they see me pierce and hopefully that’ll change [throughout the show]," he says. "It’s all about what’s underneath the surface and that’s why I chose to do it."

Sasa Boric

With nails in teeth and hammer in hand, Sasa Boric pounds away on her door. With the exhibit barely days away, the Serbian-born artist is busy touching up her interactive exhibit. Dislike churches? Boric’s exhibit is a way to the church minus the preaching. In The Portal, The Altar, and The Codex/Basilica Canadiana, Boric pays homage to her Byzantine heritage, examining it from her Canadian perspective.

"My whole piece is not about religion, it’s about identity," says Boric. "In the modern society where people change ways of living so recently it’s very hard to preserve identity especially when you immigrate.

"Even now, after so many years, I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. I think that it’s real important to keep your identity and preserve it."

Her exhibit involves walking through an entrance way up to a stone altar and doing whatever the viewer feels like doing. As interactive as the exhibit may be, Boric’s not expecting any religious experiences for viewers. She’s looking more at filling the senses than creating a personal religious revival.

"I don’t care about the actual religious experience but more of a personal experience," she says. "More spiritual than religious."

Yvonne Wiegers

Entering into Yvonne Wiegers’ studio you’d swear you just walked into a bakery. A sterile-looking rack holds numerous baking pans with what appear to be ultra-mini cookies. They’re not. Upclose molded embryos are revealed in rows of 10.

"Now that we’re harvesting fetal tissue for operations, it becomes a consumer good now and this is part of the idea behind the piece," says Wiegers. "I’m not saying one way or another it’s right or wrong but there are a lot of implications about how we think about ourselves."

Wiegers’ exhibit features prints and sculptures. The theme of the exhibit relates to the body in terms of the genetic, the physiological and the relationship between the two. In addition to the embryos, Wiegers has built a 14-foot sculpture of embryos in fly-fishing containers with mirrors at the bottom and top. The mirrors are aligned to resemble DNA strands.

"I don’t come to any conclusions in the show, it’s more about asking questions," she says.

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