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  • Jan 31, 2014
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I laughed, I cried, I split my side
May 2nd to June 20th 2014
Opening reception: May 2nd @ 8 PM
Artist Talk:  May 3 @ 2 PM
Curated by Dagmara Genda
Kyle Beal (Calgary AB), Erica Eyres (Glasgow UK), Christine Negus (London ON), Shanell Papp (Lethbridge AB)

According to some theorists, laughter and tears are purely extra-emotional, physical responses.. They are limited signifiers of an excess of feeling that can fall on all levels of the emotional spectrum. In its most reduced form, laughter can be an automatic response to tickling inasmuch as tears can result from cutting an onion. Moreover, laughter and tears do not necessarily align with their respective positive and negative qualities. One may laugh from madness or despondency, just as one may cry tears of joy. I laughed, I cried, I split my side is the evocation of a horrible laugh, at once absurd and pained, funny and awful. Skirting the lines of discomfort, ridicule, and cynical self-deprecation, the exhibition explores the interstices of humour and horror. The space between the smile and grimace is collapsed.

The four artists in the exhibition explore the darker side of humour using different strategies. Christine Negus’ deadpan videos and installations evoke a kind of pathos pushed to absurdity. Using sentimental symbols such as children’s animations, shells and fossils found on a beach, or cute Halloween lawn ornaments, she subverts childlike experiences into wry ruminations on mortality, loss, and the absurdity of human attachment. Through the use of comedic tropes, Kyle Beal presents the gallery as an emptied club, evoking the silence after the comic act, or the awkward quiet of an unsuccessful punch line. His work pokes fun of the position of the artist as much as it mocks the spectator who might, or might not, be in on the joke. Erica Eyres’ videos are composed of campy found footage coupled with subtitles that feel monotone in their tone and pacing. One of her strategies is to evoke a sense of embarrassment, for things such as bad taste or awkward teenage memories, to evoke a poignant laughter that quickly melds into the sinister as her videos progress. Shanell Papp utilizes a strategy of naive illustration reminiscent of west coast comic imagery to depict absurd and self-deprecating narratives. Her practice mixes the aesthetics of marginalized counter-cultures, like metalheads, comic book geeks, and other types of loners, with uncomfortably sincere observations on life.


Artist Biographies

Kyle Beal is a Calgary based Visual Artist. He graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2001 and holds a Masters degree in visual art from the University of Victoria (2004). His work has been featured in exhibitions throughout Canada. Upcoming exhibitions include solo exhibitions at the Elora Centre fro the Arts (Elora, ON), the Untitled Arts Society Satellite Gallery (Calgary, AB), and Truck (Calgary, AB).

Shanell Papp grew up in Southern Alberta and received her B.F.A. from the University of Lethbridge, in 2006 and completed her graduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Papp has shown her work in galleries across Canada and beyond, including University of Lethbridge (Lethbridge), University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), The New Gallery (Calgary), Gallery Gachette  (Vancouver) and  the City of Craft (Toronto). Papp teaches sessionally at the University of Lethbridge and Curates for the Lethbridge Public Library. She also operates a popular Tumblog BAWDY.

Erica Eyres,born Winnipeg Canada, lives and works in Glasgow having graduated with a MA from Glasgow School of Art in 2004. She has had solo exhibitions at The Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow and the Kunsthaus, Erfurt, her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at PS1 New York, The ICA Winnipeg, Plug In, Winnipeg, Mason Rouge, Paris, The Akureyri Art Museum, The Collective, Edinburgh and more. Her work is in important international collections including The Rubell Family Collection, Miami and The David Roberts Collection, London.

Christine Negus received her MFA in 2010 from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and her BFA from Western University in London, Ontario in 2008.  Some of her notable exhibitions and screenings include: Dalhousie Art Gallery, Montreal Underground Film Festival, Cambridge Galleries, The Art Gallery of York University, Xpace Cultural Centre, Artists Television Access in San Francisco and Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn New York and solos exhibitions at Gallery TPW, gallerywest and Julius Caesar in Chicago Illinois.

Negus received the National Film Board of Canada’s Best Emerging Canadian Video/Filmmaker award at the Images Festival in 2008.  She won one of two jury prizes at the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival in 2012.  Negus was also included in the in the anthology Blast/Counterblast.

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