Thirza Cuthand, Homelands (still), 2010.
Thirza Cuthand and Andrew McPhail
March 10 to April 22, 2017
Opening: March 10, 8pm
Taking its name from Cuthand’s film wherein the artist narrates an intimate encounter with an Evil Colonizing Queen, Just Dandy presents the work of two artists dealing with the messy realities of daily life through considered informal strategies.
Thirza Cuthand’s film world is campy, low-fi and confident. Her subject matter surveys sexuality, madness, youth, love, and race. Often portrayed through the lens of fantasy, Cuthand’s characters, narration and setting conjure something familiar and accessible. This could be explained by her settings, a room or outdoor space at home, or by her freedom of gesture and storytelling. Homelands (2010) takes up the history of Cuthand’s family, of emigration and migration, and the two lands that the artist comes from. Shown together, Just Dandy (2013) and 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99 (2015), humorously work through heavy subjects, when fantasy meets reality in a world of colonization and coming out as a 2 Spirited person with assistance from a help-line.
Similarly, McPhail takes up his own humanity, humbly provoking the viewer to cast an eye on themselves. The artist’s expansive practice spans over two decades and varied the mediums of sculpture, drawing, painting and craft. In his current work, McPhail experiments with banal materials, his site-specific installation for AKA, noworries (2017) builds on his text-based body of work, which conjures declarative and occasionally sad pronouncements. In the performance Insecure Ts (2014), T-shirts are available for the public as a kind of installation-cum-costume, hand-sewn glittering sequins depict compelling and blatant expressions of personal strife.
Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, youth, love, and race, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, Hot Docs in Toronto, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival in Germany where her short Helpless Maiden Makes an ‘I” Statement won honourable mention. Her work has also screened at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University. In 1999 she was an artist in residence at Videopool and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg, where she completed Through The Looking Glass. In 2012 she was an artist in residence at Villa K. Magdalena in Hamburg, Germany, where she completed Boi Oh Boi. In 2015 she was commissioned by ImagineNATIVE to make 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99. In the summer of 2016 she began working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on her experience learning and dealing with her bipolar disorder. It showed at ImagineNATIVE and she is planning to further develop it. She has also written three feature screenplays and sometimes does performance art. She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto.
Andrew McPhail is a Canadian visual artist. He was born in Calgary Alberta in 1961 and studied at York University where he received his MFA in 1987. Living in Toronto in the 1980’s and 90’s his work focused primarily on drawing, often with pencil crayon on a polyester film called mylar. After moving to Hamilton in 2005, his practice shifted towards three dimensional work, performance and painting. His accumulative, craft oriented work reconfigures disposable materials such as band aids, Kleenex and pins into large sculpture and installations. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and in 2013 was the recipient of the Canada Council International Studio in Paris. He is also cofounder, with Stephen Altena, of the Hundred Dollar Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario.