Uptown August 16 2012

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www.uptownmag.com arts&culture ArtBurn Steven Leyden Cochrane visual art review PUBLIC ART I Marbles on Portage, another WAC co-produc- tion, I had to wait behind three families with small children and a pair of teenage girlswho seemed to be making a scavenger hunt of the 21 larger-than-life-size fiberglass playthings. Their enthusiasm is understandable and a clear indication of the work's success: with a simple intervention and shift of scale, Swen- drowski transforms several blocks of one of food&drink of the grapes S Revenge Sometimes the best wines come from the worst places Quick Shots Steve Moran that is the Gimblett Gravels, it was interesting to consider the conun- drum it represented. That conun- drum was the fact that the most interesting,complex wines all seem to come from the worst locations tanding on a windswept hill- side in New Zealand, looking at the monoculture of grapes Sauvignon in the rich, loamy soils found elsewhere in Hawkes Bay— where apples, pears, cherries and other fruits thrive — you will end up with, literally, sour grapes. The vine will be lush and green, and produce an abundance of fruit, but that fruit will never quite achieve the ripeness needed to make a decent wine. Instead, a thin-bodied, vegetal tasting glass will be your lot. and soils. If you stick a cutting of Cabernet the MLCC. net Sauvignon and grow it on the unforgiving, stony wasteland that is the Gimblett Gravels, and you get something completely different; something nuanced and unique. As with some people, wine grapes' exposure to adversity brings out the best they have within them: character strength and resilience. And, like those people, they are often well worth getting to know. Steve is a Product Ambassador for Take that same cutting of Caber- the Winnipeg Arts Council's Public Art Pro- gram's most recent contributions to the downtown landscape. The at-long-last- reopened Millennium Library Park boasts two new, large-scale permanent works, Van- couver artist Bill Pechet's emptyful, a light-up fountain (with fog machines!) in the shape of a giant laboratory flask that towers over Donald Street, and Winnipeg designer Darren Stebeleski's Sentinel of Truth, a more subdued affair that features fragments of text from various sources embedded into an otherwise- unembellished steel wall. While Pechet's sug- gestion that his "empty/full"flask reflects the "emptiness" of the Prairie landscape feels a bit forced (and maybe not entirely like a com- pliment?), the work's playful aesthetics and the cool breeze coming through its curtain of falling water are eminently likeable, and Sen- tinel will keep coming into its own as its cold grey metal takes on the warm patina of age. Allusions in both works to the pursuit and preservation of knowledge suit the library setting, and their formal simplicity nicely complements the park's newfound openness and relaxed, naturalized ambiance. To get a clear photo of Erica Swendrowski's around the downtown skywalks and under- ground tunnels like a sweaty, pale-faced newt), but August is halfway over and we might aswellmake the most ofwhatremains. With the days getting noticeably shorter already, perhaps some of you might like to take this opportunity to see some artwork out of doors and above ground. To each their own, I guess. (Half the galleries in town are closed or coasting until September, anyway.) By now, you've probably noticed some of don't exactly share native-born Winnipeg- gers' fondness for searing heat and Prairie sunshine (I spend my summers scuttling UPTOWN August 16, 2012 11 Let's take this outside As summer winds down, artists across the city take leave of sweltering studios and bring their work into the open Erica Swendrowski's Marbles on Portage (above); Bill Pechet's emptyful in Millennium Library Park (top inset);Ewa Tarsia and 5468796 Architecture's Grass Dots, on the side of the Winnipeg Art Gallery (bottom inset). Winnipeg's busiest thoroughfares into one giant game,lending a sense of playandwhim- sy to a stretch of road that, for all the new development taking place there, could stand a little of both.Meanwhile, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, local painter and printmakerEwa Tar- sia applies a similar lighthearted touch to the museum's unforgiving Tyndall stone exterior, draping the Colony-facing façade in a netting of living green "dots" made from living moss, grass and recycled materials (related installa- tions await inside, should you need to step in from the sun). Tarsia's Green … Grass … Dot … is the city's newest artist-run exhibition venue. Located in one of Artspace's street-level win- dows at Arthur Street and Bannatyne Avenue, the suitably-named Window currently hosts its second artist project programmed by Plat- form's Derek Dunlop and Kegan McFadden (full disclosure: I was asked to contribute the first, back in May). On view through the end of the month and leavening Olympic frenzy with a welcome shot of absurdity and pathos, Andrea Roberts' High Jump (Repeatability, on until Sept. 15. Lastly, I'd like to draw your attention to Accuracy, Interchangeability) features two dis- tended plaster "bags" bursting with fake foli- age, strung together with airline cable and clinging precariously to the titular high-bar, lovingly letting the air out of our inexplicable competitive ambitions and the inevitable fail- ures that result. Now, if you'll excuse me, all this fresh air is ual artist, writer and educator from Tampa, Fla., where they have 300 words for "air conditioning." giving me a headache. Steven Leyden Cochrane is an emerging vis- Photos by Stephen Leyden Cochrane

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