Flow | Jennifer Chin, Paul Freeman, Tyler Hodgins & Jason de Haan | June 2 – July 1, 2006

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In terms of psychology, “flow” is defined by Wikipedia as, “a mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” Proposed by Hungarian-born psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow may be the state of mind of an artist absorbed in the creative process and, ironically, the answer to the pursuit of happiness.

FLOW is a collaboration between two artist-run centres, TRUCK and the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF), presenting 4 visual artists and 15 media artists from around the world. The work represents a diverse interpretation of the theme; touching on political systems, paths, science, nature, the body, time, history and a little bit of humor. Each piece either enhances a notion of flow or rejects it outright, blocking to some extent, our understanding of life, as we know it, day in and day out.

All of the work in the exhibition and film program of FLOW, are metaphors for undeniable natural and unnatural cycles and systems. They imply constant change and continuous movement; water, time, people, money, politics, birth, death, creative thought, and our very own blood pulsing through our veins. The show broadly exploits simple visual metaphors for flow while resonating deeper with the flow of life in its most complex forms.

“We cannot deny the facts of nature, but we should certainly try to improve on them.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990

Holly Simon lives and works in Calgary, Alberta

Message in a Bottle | Chris Millar | February 24 to March 18, 2006

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Barf Vader, the distant and slightly queasier cousin to Darth Vader, having caught wind of a disturbance in the force, promptly changes trajectory of his Intergalactic Hot'za Delivery vessel to a small blue planet somewhere in the Milky Way. Meanwhile local radar is detecting the approach of an unidentified flying object, and anticipates it's land for the night of February 24th, somewhere in the vicinity of TRUCK Gallery, Calgary... Performed by legendary Canadian video-artist / painter John Will, Barf Vader will make a special appearance at the opening reception for Chris Millar's exhibition, Message In A Bottle. Raw Rare, obscure punk rock rippers, dished up by intergalactic DJ's Wacky Wiggler and Blood 'N Guts Babs will ring in the launch for Millar's incredibly detailed paintings. 

With an arsenal of triple zero (the smallest) brushes, Millar laboriously focuses the absurd and the whimsical into intricately detailed narrative paintings. "It is reasonable to say that my paintings are gestures of excess," says Millar taking into account the months of dedicated focus it takes to bring his comic-influenced masterpieces to life.  "I like the idea of creating a cult object, a spectacle to behold, and an outstanding achievement in the field of ridiculousness."  From Dr. Spock, to Batman, to a corpse dragged in from a creek, the colourful cast of characters in Millar's paintings are only enriched further by the parodic sit-com-like storylines that run throughout his work. Somehow his works simultaneously manage to be a tongue-in-cheek critique of popular culture, and a playful address of human awkwardness; "The paintings are about people who have bad ideas. In fact, the paintings themselves are terrible ideas." 

Public in Art – Public As Art | Larissa Fassler | January 13 – February 11, 2006

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On January 13, 2006 TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary opens a new exhibition ‘Public in Art – Public As Art’ by Berlin based, Vancouver born artist, Larissa Fassler.  

Larissa Fassler’s work in this exhibition is based on interactions with the public in orchestrated situations, and on documenting these relationships and their social contexts. The photographic and video documentation of performance-based works in this exhibition include: Teen Couples I, and Teen Couples II.  In the first of the two photo/video series’ Teen Couples I, the artist asked a group of 14-year-old London teens to pose as they imagined best represented “couple-dom”. In Teen Couples II, she repeated her ‘social experiment’ with 16-year-old teens, some of them the same teens from the first series.  In both these works Fassler has built intimate visual & audio stories where we as viewers-cum-voyeurs are privy to micro-relationships of fear and awkwardness, punctuated with fleeting moments of comfort and trust. 

“Cool and confident on the one hand, blushing and insecure on the other, these teens dealt with role-play and how people view, construct and present themselves, only to have these delicate constructions betrayed by body language and emotion.” – Larissa Fassler, Teen Couples I, & II

No Contact Made: The Flower Project, is a series of images of an on-going daily performance done in Berlin, Germany, that of a random and anonymous delivery of flowers. These works are documentations of internationally performed acts reflecting the artist’s interest in games, gestures and body language; in social performance and self-construction; and in strangers. Fassler’s work raises questions as to our relationships to one another – the intimacies and complexities, the fears and strangeness, the comfort and pleasure we share.