Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Work in progress

Exhibition at Aceartinc. blurs lines between the work of art and the act of working

  • Print

It's hard to know where to begin with Escutcheon Athletics and the Toms & Bitches of Turtle Island.

Rather than showing completed artworks, Aceartinc. invited "Escutcheon Athletics" (something between a pen name and a house brand for British-American artist JD Hollingshead) to use its space as a hybrid studio, exhibition, and performance venue for a period of two months.

With work for the exhibition is being completed on the fly, there's no guarantee that the show you see will look much of anything like the beginnings of a show I saw last week, nor that it'll coalesce into something that looks like "a show" at all. When I visited, it consisted of some large-scale wall drawings, various woodshop and studio furniture (all in active use), miscellaneous piles of books and sporting goods, and some empty beer cans and coffee cups on a pedestal.

It's hard to know where to begin: beyond even the informal, open-ended format, contending with Escutcheon Athletics requires that you sort through jumbled references to heraldry (medieval imagery pervades), traditional handicrafts, art history, Zen Buddhism, meditation, and sports--bits and pieces held together with threads of personal mythology and labyrinthine backstory.

To pin everything down would require an encyclopedia (or at least an elaborate flowchart), but maybe a heap of notes scratched out on bar napkins and receipt-backs would be more appropriate. The overall "structure" of the work only starts to become clear when its stories are animated by the artist himself.

Apart from his own practice, Hollingshead has worked extensively fabricating artworks for prominent U.K. artists like Douglas Gordon, Jim Lambie, and Nathan Coley. The experience helped him cultivate a wide range of technical skills that he's put to use in his own work, including a functional, hand-crafted wooden weight-bench built featuring hand-cast iron weights. As part of the exhibition he's learning to finger-weave locally- and seasonally-appropriate ceintures fléchées. There are small metalwork projects on the go.

Exactly how these fit together isn't yet clear.

The real substance of Escutcheon Athletics is in fulfilling them. What they'll amount to remains uncertain.

Molten metal pumped into the opening of a termite colony will harden in the different passages and chambers, creating a concrete record of countless insect-hours spent burrowing. Once out of the ground, the complexity and scale of the resulting casts can be breathtaking. The termites themselves don't live to see it.

There's a closing reception on Feb. 15. We might have to wait until then to brush the dirt off and see what, if any, coherent structure Hollingshead's frenetic busywork leaves behind. I'm prepared to be surprised.

Steven Leyden Cochrane is a Winnipeg-based artist, writer, and educator from Tampa, Fla.

Escutcheon

Athletics and the Toms and Bitches

of Turtle Island

ACEARTINC.

óè Jan. 11-Feb. 15

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2013 C6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Public finally sees inside the Museum for Human Rights

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fight as a male defends his nesting site at the duck pond at St Vital Park Thursday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 08- May 10, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / Jan 10  2011 ‚Äì WEB STDUP ‚Äì Frosty morning at -15 degrees C , in pic frost covers the the Nellie McClung statue  on the MB Legislature grounds at 7am

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Canada's involvement in the fight against Islamic State?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google