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Arts community mourns death of Winnipeg's Cliff Eyland, known for transforming libraries with tiny paintings – CBC.ca

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A prominent artist from Winnipeg who transformed public spaces across Canada with thousands of pieces of tiny artwork has died.

Cliff Eyland’s family announced the 65-year-old teacher, husband, painter and writer had died on Saturday.

He may be best known for works of art containing hundreds of index card-sized paintings and drawings dotting the walls of Winnipeg’s downtown Millennium Library and the Halifax Central Library, which welcome visitors to common areas in those spaces.

Untitled, his work at the Millennium Library, was originally made up of 1,000 three inch by five inch paintings, but he continually added to the work, according to the Winnipeg Arts Council.

He spent nearly two years creating the 6,000 paintings for the Halifax library work.

While his artwork has been showcased across the country, from the National Gallery of Canada to the art galleries of Ontario and Nova Scotia, his wife said he was most proud of his work at the two Canadian libraries.

“He just really liked working with libraries,” Pam Perkins, 56, said in a phone interview on Saturday afternoon.

“He developed a love of libraries as a child, it’s a story he always told,” she said.

Cliff Eyland, 65, is being remembered for his tiny art, which filled the walls of the Halifax Central Library and Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, shown here. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Eyland grew up in Dartmouth, N.S., where he turned to libraries “for information, for reading, for pleasure,” she said, before he later moved to the Prairies.

In art school he became fascinated with library file cards — soon to be obsolete technology, she said, which he found inspiring.

“So he conceived of his paintings, which were all, you know, file card-sized, as sort of little disparate pieces of information, like you’d find in a library file card,” she said.

Lung transplant survivor

Eyland and Perkins would have celebrated 30 years together next year.

Perkins said her husband lived with sarcoidosis that “basically damaged and destroyed” his lungs. As a survivor of a lung transplant in 2016, he was spending increasing amounts of time in and out of the hospital due to infections that kept developing, especially over the last two years.

He had a long hospitalization from August until December 2019.

He had been home since then, said Perkins, and “not able to do much other than just be around at home and do a little drawing and keep in touch with friends. But he enjoyed being at home these last few months.”

On Wednesday morning, he was taken to Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre with severe shortness of breath. His health took a sudden turn on Friday, and he died early Saturday morning.

‘Not just the walls’

His death has left a huge hole in the arts community.

As an associate professor in the University of Manitoba’s school of art, Eyland was invested in the success of younger artists and those he felt “were getting enough attention,” Perkins said.

Winnipeg artist KC Adams wrote on Facebook that Eyland had recognized her talents and helped further her career, and the careers of others.

“For years he had a small gallery and a large studio that he rented, and he would use that space to host shows by developing artists, artists who were being overlooked [and] artists who were developing their careers, and this was at his own expense,” Perkins said.

“He’s generous with his support for others.”

Hundreds of posts, comments and reactions are being shared on social media, including from family, friends and colleagues who say they will pay tribute by visiting his library installations.

In a Facebook post, Winnipeg Art Gallery CEO Stephen Borys recognized the way Eyland’s work transformed how “we see and engage with art.”

“His approach has penetrated museums, libraries, and public spaces across the country — not just the walls but the spaces between the object and the viewer,” reads the post from the gallery director.

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Theatre and film are inherently political, say art critics – CBC.ca

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Dictators and autocrats on all sides of the political spectrum have always kept a close eye on what artists do and say. 

Oligarchs know that art is dangerous. Art is subversive and anything that makes people think, or question, is a threat to those who wield power.

Art is political. In a discussion recorded at the Stratford Festival last year, three New York Times journalists discuss the politics of theatre — the relationship between what’s on the stage, and what’s going on in the lives and the world of the people in the audience.

“What makes theatre inherently political is that it’s an art of conversation and it’s an art of being in a room watching people talk to each other and work issues out,” says Scott Heller, theatre editor of the New York Times.

“I think that that’s why, unlike digital forms or other visual art forms, there’s something small p-political about being involved in watching theatre that leads you to think big P- politically … the art of theatre is the art of people negotiating and that immediately leads to larger ways to think about politics.”

Theatre is at its best when it can both reflect back what is happening in the world and also lead the audience to find a common ground in understanding each other and agreeing on common societal values, says Heller.

Representation in film

The history of theatre suggests that this has pretty much always been the case. The very oldest written plays we have come from ancient Greece nd those plays evoke similar experiences to a play written yesterday: we see characters much like ourselves, onstage, working out personal dilemmas and family feuds, while larger social struggles of the times loom in the background.

All of which means that we don’t always need new plays to understand the present we find ourselves in. Old plays frequently give us unnerving insights into ourselves today, and the modern society we live in. Turns out, people haven’t changed much over the millennia — and nor has human society.

The “kissing-cousin” as it were, of theatre is of course film — a similar story-and-audience relationship being played out, but with some quite profound differences.

Cara Buckley covers film for the New York Times — a medium that puts a premium on new production, and on the relevance of what people see to their own lives.

“What happens on that screen is so important for the audience in terms of how they see themselves and how they relate,” Buckley explains.

” I remember…seeing a film with Meryl Streep about the suffragettes, and I’d never seen so many women on screen doing smart political things that I was kind of taken aback.”

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As a woman, Buckley says that experience speaks to the need for representation of different voices which she says is political. She adds the effect on the audience is profound when you see yourself reflected back to you by your own culture.

For both theatre and film, that question of the audience seeing themselves reflected on the stage or screen has become hugely important; in a ‘popular’ art form. The politics demands that the diversity of society needs to be represented in what we see.

“The response theatre had for many years was to try to speak to everyone at once. And that works when you have a big musical of a certain type, but otherwise it doesn’t work,” Jesse Green remarks. 

The co-chief theater critic for The New York Times says theatre now is heading in a different direction, one he adds is a good thing.

“Theatre makers are understanding the power of what the other art forms have done, fractionalising and speaking to smaller groups — whether to encourage them in something they already know or whether to show them something that they thought they knew but actually didn’t.”
 

Guests in this episode:

Cara Buckley is a culture reporter for the New York Times who covers bias and equity issues in Hollywood.  Previously, she worked as the Carpetbagger columnist, covering the campaigns and controversies of the film awards season. She has been a Metro reporter, covered the Iraq war and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.  Born in Dublin, she grew up in Ireland and Canada, and lives in Brooklyn.

Scott Heller is the theater editor of The New York Times. He joined The Times in 2010 from The Boston Globe, where he had served as arts editor. Mr. Heller, a Brooklyn native, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan, where he also earned an M.A. in American Studies.

Jesse Green is the co-chief theater critic for The New York Times. From 2013 to 2017 he was the theater critic for New York magazine, where he had also been a contributing editor, writing long-form features, since 2008. Articles he has written for these and many other publications have been recognized with nominations and prizes from the National Magazine Awards and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, among others.


* This episode was produced by Philip Coulter. It was recorded in 2019 in Stratford by Melissa Renaud. Special thanks to Ann Swerdfager and Antoni Cimolino.

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N.B. art festival shifts gears to accommodate for physical-distancing – CTV News

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SAINT JOHN —
A popular New Brunswick art festival has shifted its format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

THIRD SHIFT is a contemporary art festival organized by the artist-run Third Space Gallery in Saint John.

“The mandate of the gallery is to transform unused spaces, or to reimagine different spaces in the uptown and beyond, to be an outdoor gallery space,” says Abigail Smith, festival associate.

THIRD SHIFT is in its sixth year and has drawn thousands of people to the city of Saint John.

The festival is usually a one-night only event, however, this year it will run for an entire week to accommodate for physical-distancing.

“The idea is that instead of having one event that happens for a few hours for one night, that if you’re not there you miss it, the idea is with the expansion of the festival, in terms of time and in terms of space, that we’ll prevent gathering that way,” says Katie Buckley, the executive director of Third Space Gallery.

“I think it’s really kind of a staple in the summer calendar in Saint John, so we’re really happy that we’re not cancelled and we’re going ahead in a new way.”

This year’s festival will showcase a series of temporary public art installations, along with digital programming.

“It actually has opened up a lot of possibility of having artists across Canada participate because so much of it is going to be online,” says Smith.

The THIRD SHIFT Festival will take place from August 21 to 28.

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Vankleek Hill Art Show and Scavenger Hunt festival to entertain for entire month of June

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Artists in Vankleek Hill are banding together in the month of June to help fill in the gaps caused by the cancellation of most of the annual local festivals in the town.

The 2020 Vankleek Hill Walking Art Tour and Scavenger Hunt will take place the during the entire month of June with window displays in local businesses, Arbor Gallery and even the some of the artists’ own homes. Art lovers can start the tour at the by picking up a map located in the mailbox on the Arbor Gallery porch (at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill), view the artwork on display there, and then head out through town on the tour.

The idea first came about after the cancellation of Vankleek Hill’s annual May Show, in which local artists play a large part. That and cancellations of many local festivals this summer prompted local artists to try to fill the gap.

“We’ve lost a lot of our festivals and this is a real heartbreak for Vankleek Hill because people depend on them,” says Jill Crosby, one of the organizers of the event and whose artwork will be among the displays. “This event will allow the viewing of artwork by local artists and artwork while safely social distancing,”

Crosby and several other local artists, including Lorie Turpin, Reenie Marx and Susan Jephcott, have been busy planning displays for the event and contacting local businesses about the idea. Currently there are nine artists in total signed up and seven locations in place. Organizers hope to end up with 10-12 artists featuring displays in 10 different locations. A full list of artists and locations will be available on The Review website.

As to what each artist will decide to display – it could be anything:

“It is pretty much free form,” Crosby says. “The artists will be paired with a location and window and they will decide what they want to show.”

Participants in the tour will also have a challenge to complete in the form of a scavenger hunt. Included on the map for the tour will be questions about the displays or Vankleek Hill landmarks. This has been added as a way to keep children on the tour entertained as they can search for the answers to the questions at various locations throughout town while their parents view the artwork on display.

The idea for the Vankleek Hill Art Show and Scavenger Hunt has been received with a great deal of enthusiasm from local businesses, who have been mostly idle during the shutdown for COVID-19. The festival itself is designed to bring traffic to storefronts as businesses prepare to open up, and also help to promote the individual locations. Small business retailers in particular have responded enthusiastically to the idea.

“The stores are saying ‘bring on the artwork!’” says Crosby.

One of Vankleek Hill’s best-known artists, Susan Jephcott, will have two displays – one in the window of the Three Owls Studio Gallery in her Main Street home and a second at The Pantry. The display at Jephcott’s home will be of a stained glass depiction of the Town of Vankleek Hill, done by Dodie Dines. It is a piece that Jephcott’s absolutely loves.

“Dodie’s stained glass is very special,” said Jephcott, who acquired the original artwork several years ago and believes local residents will be thrilled by the piece. “A lot of people have not seen it and I think they should, because it is amazing.”

Jephcott will be displaying her own artwork in the window of The Pantry, including her most recent work ‘The David Bowie Spider Spirit Chair’, which she says “just came out of left field. (The chair) was painted white and just made me think of David Bowie.”

Photographer and artist Reenie Marx -who along with Crosby will be displaying in windows at Arbor Gallery – is also excited about the show.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to have family groups and friends walking around town with the chance to discover artwork hanging in windows,” Marx says, noting the tour and scavenger hunt will provide much more for those who take part than just a normal walk around town. “It gives people a kind of direction in their walking as opposed to just meandering.”

More information on the 2020 Vankleek Hill Walking Art Tour and Scavenger Hunt will be posted on The Review’s website as it becomes available. Those who wish to take the tour can do so by just going to the Arbor Gallery beginning June 1 and picking up a map from the mailbox located on the gallery’s porch at 36 Home Avenue in Vankleek Hill.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the map. You can print it out at home and head out on the town, while practising physical distancing!


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Source:- The Review Newspaper

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Edited by Harry Miller

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