Brendan Fernandes   Still Move

June 26, 2015 - September 6, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, June 26 at 5 PM

Informed by his training in ballet and modern dance, Brendan Fernandes' practice routinely explores the body, both static and in motion, in relation to space and objects.  Still Move showcases dancers working with a rubber ball pressed between the body and a wall, pushing in and against it to release muscle tension.  The interaction oscillates between pain and pleasure, at one moment dissolving into an organic landscape, the ball fused with the body, and the next appearing distinctly foreign, the body defiantly resistant.  In addition to a live performance by local dancers at the launch of the exhibition, rear projected videos of this action are embedded in a series of walls, each larger than the next, demanding the viewer travel in the constricted space between, eliciting an awareness of our own bodies.

Also featured, The Working Move is a series of photographs that depicts dancers interacting directly with plinths of various shapes and sizes - minimalist structures serving alternately as a set, a supportive prop or an unwieldy burden.  In understanding the plinth, or alternatively the pristine white wall, as part of museological vernacular, the dancer's body becomes the stand-in for the artifact, commodified through the strenuous process of performing.  The Working Move, and Still Move enact a dialogue between institutional rhetoric and the language of movement, itself activated through the relationship between mind and body.  For Fernandes, choreography serves as a remarkable tool for decoding and unpacking this complex conversation.  Further inspired by ballet movement vocabularies that relate to labor and endurance, the work demonstrates the artist's keen interest in responding to the histories of avant-garde dance and its relationship to visual art.

Brendan Fernandes completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007), earned his MFA from The University of Western Ontario (2005) and his BFA from York University (2002).  His work has been shown internationally and nationally including exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design New York, The National Gallery of Canada, Mass MoCA, The Andy Warhol Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Deutsche Guggenheim.  He was a finalist for the 2010 Sobey Art Award and was on the long list for the 2013 and 2015 prizes.  He has been awarded many highly regarded residencies around the world, most recently as a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Residency Fellowship in 2014.  Fernandes is based between Toronto and New York City.

This exhibition is produced in partnership with the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Rodman Hall, Brock University, Varley Art Gallery, St. Mary's University Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.  A catalogue is in production with Black Dog Publishing.  Funding assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the City of Lethbridge.

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