Local Students   Meet Me In The Middle

May 7, 2017 - June 11, 2017

Opening Reception: Friday, May 12 at 5 PM
Reception sponsored by Pratt & Whitney

Dylan Dobbie, Hana Falconer, Kylie Fineday, Brady Gleeson, Jon Martin, Tara Lynn MacDougall, Angeline Simon, Sarah Stringam, Michelle Sylvestre, Grace Wirzba

Meet Me In The Middle
highlights the imbricated relationship between artistic labour and the act of negotiation. The 10 artists in this exhibition are students of the University of Lethbridge and their diverse works approach this relationship in a multitude of ways. They grapple with the space between the art object and the process of its making; the connection between artist and subject of their work; and the exchange between artwork and audience.

MFA candidate, Tara Lynn MacDougall, looks closely at these relationships in her ongoing practice. Coupled with an investigation of the persona of the artist, her print series, Meet Me In the Middle, underscores the complexity of the relationships between artistic labour, process, and value. In making this work, MacDougall invites artists to collaborate by inscribing the phrase ‘meet me in the middle’ on a blank sheet of paper, which she reproduces as a series of prints. Through this seemingly simple gesture, MacDougall upsets the trope ‘artist as genius’ and complicates notions of value and authorship by supplanting the hand of the artist. As the namesake of this exhibition, MacDougall’s work also takes on additional weight by serving as the nexus around which the other artworks circle.

A number of artists in this exhibition highlight process, making the act of creation evident in the work. In doing so, they may call attention to the physical body as an apparatus in the production of an artwork; they may highlight the significance of an object that might otherwise be overlooked; or they may reveal aspects of their personal histories through the accumulation of marks and materials. Through process, artists expose their labour, allowing their efforts to become an integral part of an artwork’s meaning or significance.

The artist’s relationship to subject is also pursued as an act of negotiation. In artworks by Kylie Fineday, Hana Falconer, and others we see the artist situating their individual experience within a larger framework of societal issues or histories. With great sensitivity and investment in the subject, an artist may spur empathy, curiosity, conversation, or understanding.

Ultimately, this exhibition hopes to provoke meaningful exchange between artwork and audience. This give-and-take may manifest as intellectual or emotional connection; it may imbue the artwork with new meaning, or prompt the visitor to think or behave in a new way. In this charged space of the exhibition, both artist and audience find themselves navigating a shared vulnerability, each asking the other to Meet Me In The Middle.

This exhibition is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and curated by Ildikó Barraclough and Christina Cuthbertson. Barraclough is currently undertaking her BFA in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Funding assistance provided by Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge.

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