Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chillin' Public Art in the Peg

Sitting at my computer typing away as I do, it's rare that I personally see as much nifty public art as I should. So I'm always happy to find out what people are doing--even if I never have a chance to see it in person.

Such is the case with a couple of public-arty projects in faraway Winnipeg that have recently come to my attention.

The first comes from Cam Forbes, a Saskatchewan-raised, NSCAD-trained, and now Winnipeg-based artist with a focus on painting. Cam has actually come to explore public space issues somewhat unintentionally—she initially (as a hardy ex-treeplanter) was comfortable doing outdoor landscape painting. But due to a desire to be in a more sheltered environment when painting the outdoors, she started working in indoor public spaces that had a view of outdoor public spaces. This started during a residency at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan, where she painted the forest through porch windows. Now these indoor public spaces range from elevated pedestrian walkways (as seen above) to, more recently, bus shelters. Here's one from a parkade:

At the recent Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Cam described how on her studio days, she'll just step on a random bus and see where it goes, get out into a shelter, and set up her easel. Unfortunately, she didn't have any photos of herself working in the space, but the paintings were definitely interesting (website for same soon to follow, I'm promised). Part of the interest for me is that they provide a low-end perspective of a city using a high-end medium. Another part of my interest is that Cam has simply repurposed these spaces from ones of transience into ones of relative permanence—working in painting as she does, she ends up staying in each shelter for several hours at a time.

Of course, it being Winnipeg, it will be interesting to see if Forbes wants to continue this practice over the winter! But I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Also related a project from Winnipeg-raised, Toronto-based artist Robert Labossiere, whose day job involves being managing editor at YYZ BOOKS. Robert and his son have been collaborating on a "Free Signs" project, creating signs that read "free" and are free for the taking. Below are some photos of their recent installation in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood:

It's not as hard-edged as Labossiere's awesome Payday project from earlier this spring. But it's nice. And people even took some.

Top images: Cam Forbes, View from the Walkway, and Cam Forbes, View from the Bay Parkade, from Ken Segal Gallery, Winnipeg
Bottom images: Free Signs from Robert Labossiere

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

go allan street creatives!