12th Annual Regional Juried Members' Exhibition

Modern Fuel’s 12th Annual Regional Juried Members’ Exhibition will be presented at Modern Fuel from August 7th to September 4th. An opening reception with the artists and curator in attendance will be held August 7, 2010 at 7pm. Works by the nine artists in this year’s exhibition, Suki Falkner, Dave Gordon, Rick Lapointe, Natasha Mazurka, Sean Morris, Maayke Schurer, Svetlana Swinimer, Chris Trimmer, and Kate Yüksel, reflect the excellence of the wide-ranging practices of artists in the region, including sculpture, painting, video, and sound art. This year’s guest curator, Valérie Lamontagne, has selected works according to a summertime theme. Just as summer is a time for slowing down, hanging out, and daydreaming, the works in this exhibition invite viewers to stop, contemplate, and take time to reflect on the surrounding world. Image: Kate Yüksel, Fear (detail), Light-jet print, 2008.

Photos of exhibition reception can be found here

Exhibition Essay

What is summer time for? Slowing down. Thinking. Stopping. Wasting time. Taking time. Spending time. Forgetting time. And just letting the days slip by. It is a time where we afford ourselves the indulgence of activities such as staring at the clouds, traveling, taking photographs, reading, forging friendships through leisure time, reconnecting with nature, and with our bodies, with our environments. In short: summer is the time of lazy days dreaming of infinite possibilities....it is the time to “make good.” And so, the end of summer finds us with the 12th Annual Regional Juried Member’s Exhibition at Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. Here is the time to take stock of the community - of works which over months, perhaps even years - have now come to fruition.

For philosopher Henri Bergson, time is never a simple matter. It is a process of unfolding which always extends into the future while propelling bits and pieces of the past with us. The present, an admixture of the actual and the ‘virtuality,’ is perceptually ‘overfull’ and hence consciously ungraspable according to theorist Brian Massumi. The present is always caught in the feeling of its presence before we can name/identify it – and hence it cannot be grasped but after its passing. Summer is a bit like that, when it ends we know what it was, and yet its experience is a remix of all summers past. And the process of making art is also only crystalized in its own process, unfolding and revealing years of labour and exploration.

The works selected for the Modern Fuel juried exhibition are the result of the complex system of creativity - aesthetics, memory, politics, material mastery, and a touch of fantasy. They are also works which beckon us to stop, contemplate, and reflect upon the world around us. They express this protracted space-time relationship we have with summer, where time seems to slip by just a bit more slowly, inviting us to ‘feel’ the moment ever more so than usual and conjure time investments unique to this leisurely season. Let us take a short voyage into the unique space-time of summer through the selected works:

Suki Falkner’s “Passage to India” series utilizes travel clichés to reconstruct time, re-presenting an open-ended narrative of travels in far away places through a series of encaustic photo-transfer arranged in a checkerboard pattern.

Dave Gordon’s acrylic paintings “Sleeping Lions and Nietzsche” and “Hay Bales” remind us of the pleasures of the childhood pastime of divining shapes and creatures in passing clouds. Summer is also the time of engaging in materials - building, renovating, moving, making and

Rick Lapointe’s minimalist steel sculpture “Smile” speaks to this time where we are ever so present in the shaping of our world.

Natasha Mazurka’s lush and colour-saturated oil paintings, “Nicotiana Tobacum” series and “Gotland Russ,” reveal the shock of nature in its full bloom as we see it only in these months.

Sean Morris’ works, such as “A Portrait of the Artist as a Voodoo Doll” and “A Portrait of Alan Turing with Exorcism, or, An IT Repair Manual of Last Resort” evoke the sometimes strange rituals necessary for a successful summer: camping, mosquito bites, hot dogs, beer... and maybe a bit of black magic?

Maayke Schurer’s “Nature Drama” video reminds us of the ecological turmoils at hand in our environment where the ‘soup’ of organic and inorganic materials becomes increasingly complex and intimately bound.

Svetlana Swinimer's “Cosmic Embryos” and “Glaciata” utilize images of ice and the artist’s own glass works mixed with video footage of train travels to erect kaleidoscopic structures which invite is to muse on the complex patterns which surround us, at once natural and technological. Summer is the time when we are most outside, most social, most “present” in many ways, and it is also the time when the noises of the cities and people seep into our homes and populate our sonic environments,

Chris Trimmer’s sound art “Noise” is a documentary voyage into our relationship with “noise.”

Kate Yüksel’s “Two Boys” series of photographs is a portrait of the childhood bonds, adventures and experiences created over the luxury of endless summer days. Enjoy, stop, and feel the moment now, before summer slips away for one more cycle of seasons.

Text by Curator Valérie Lamontagne, who notes that the title of the exhibition is taken from the title of the 2004 Múm album.


Valérie Lamontagne (Montreal, QC) is a digital media artist, designer, theorist and curator researching techno-artistic frameworks that combine human and nonhuman agencies. She is the Founder and Director of 3lectromode, a design group invested in developing wearables combining state-of-the art technology with current fashion research. She is a Ph.D. researcher at Concordia University, where she teaches in the Department of Design & Computation Arts.