Strange Bedfellows

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Main Space/Parkade/U-Hall

Runs from July 8, 2005 to August 6, 2005

Opening reception Friday July 8, at 8:00 PM

View Images

“…the relationships created by the drawings of The Lions and the sculptures of Karina Kalvaitis could be considered a little out of the Ordinary. Reminiscent of the fictional places, daydream wanderings, imaginary friends, and sometimes sinister acts of childhood, their artwork is shared world where small stubby pastel pink beasts are half submerged in a block of wood and penguin-like clowns (or are they penguins in clown suits?) waddle in arctic icescapes.”

Strange Bedfellows by Candice Hopkins

Karina Kalvaitis

Karina Kalvaitis received a Diploma with Distinction in Sculpture from the Alberta College of Art in 1996. 


The Lions

The Lions are Tasha Brotherton, Matthew Brown, Barry Doupé, Collin Johanson, and James Whitman.  They are from Vancouver, Canada, and have been meeting weekly to make drawings together since 2003

Through these weekly meetings we have amassed hundreds of drawings made on standard 8.5 X 11 paper.  We take an experimental approach to making images and the sessions are open to the unexpected results of improvisation and spontaneity.  The resulting pictures are odd mish-mashes of genre, style, narrative experiment, fantasy and spectacle.  Forms, characters, and pictorial conventions are retrofitted becoming disfigured, violently decorated, comic and incongruous.

In the portraits we build faces out of little bits of graphic junk and material elaboration.  The portraits are deadpan, distant, outrageous, and confrontational.  They are attempts to build and allow expression or 'face' to emerge from material that retains its own identity and isn't necessarily of the disposition to depict something.   Often we disfigure characters or faces.  This serves to distance the character, to make them alien or 'other', less an object of subjective identification and emotional indulgence for the viewer.  Sometimes this acts as a type of violence that has been done to the character by the artist.  A figure can be so ornamented it seems their body is betraying them, despite their best attempts to control themselves.  Their predicament is ridiculous and we can\'t help but laugh at their misfortune.        

While our images are 'fantastic' and hinge on incongruities, they draw on and work through familiar archetypes.  We use colloquial pictorial forms, genre material, jokes and gags.  The pictures are often of everyday domestic settings or filled with abundant quotidian detail and 'real life' material that permits the viewer to relate through common understanding. Collaborating together, we never leave this material as it is, but inevitably subvert and mutate it into something unlikely.  The pictures refer to common genres and styles of drawing and caricature, but are not of them.  Instead they are the sum of uneasy tensions between familiar pictorial and genre conventions and our aggressive play with those conventions.