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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

February 20 2015

TINY [a group show] was in the works for six months for the Windowbox at Gallery 1313 and as I was imagining hanging all the glorious miniature work so high and far from viewers eyes, I realized that I was lost in my own cleverness. I decided to take these twelve artists’ amazing work to a new social art space being built now. A Whisky/ Bourbon/ Expresso Bar that I will be curating next season is a good fit where I can hang it in a corner or place it in a nifty cabinet. There it makes sense. Not as clever but so much better.

As if by magic the day the March Windowbox slot was open artist Phuong Nguyen (who seems to know everyone) emailed me and asked if I’d be open to a proposal for that very space. Why yes I would Phuong, yes I would.

I immediately enjoyed artist Greg McCarthy and his work. http://www.gregmccarthy.ca/

His pieces feel free and I resonate with the artiface and playfulness combination. When I saw his set ups, I felt confident that he could craft a great idea into the unusually shaped gallery space for me. When I went to his studio and he showed me his colleagues’s work and his very open and enthusiastic attitude to his art, I knew I made the right decision. A fellow life enthusiast, he is just as stoked about other artist’s work this makes me feel comfortable.

I was tickled when the piece he wanted to bring to Gallery1313, was the very piece that I chose to post for my announcement that I was working with him. Fake snow!

Not having had a great experience in my own artistic education  (I am a  York Theatre School drop out) it was a breath of fresh air to see the Thesis Studio at OCAD and all the unbridled creativity being fostered in there. greg-studioJPG

My last two Windowbox pieces were non-traditional: collaboration with Nolan a five year old child and an Anonymous and an out-patient at Women’s College Trauma Therapy Department.  I am happy to present a dyed-in-the-wool artist, Greg McCarthy. I am proud to present his re-imagining of his piece SPECTRE.

Original Piece by GregMcCarthy

Original Piece by GregMcCarthy

The installation Spectre in Gallery 1313’s window space looks into lineages in Canadian photographic history and how they affect the present. By creating collaged and edited versions of William Notman’s original studio setups and presenting them in a way that highlights the artifice of the image, the works look to re-examine the way in which we relate to our own histories, and the role that they play in shaping the present.

 

Notman’s images and others like them are so ingrained into Canadian culture that I feel as though they are due for a second appraisal, an examination into all that they connote in a contemporary context. From the iconic images of blissful figure skaters to intrepid caribou hunters, these images not only carry with them a romanticized view of a bygone era, but a history of how many Canadians chose to be depicted in the nation’s early years. They speak to the performativity of national identity and an idealization of what it meant at the time to be Canadian.

 

Spectre takes the provisional quality of Notman’s original setups and takes it to a hyperbolized extreme, the verisimilitude of the original falls away leaving the viewer with a stripped down copy of the original, a failed attempt at recreating the past. As gallery goers pass the figure looking down on them from the window they are asked to consider the history of what they will see inside and to consider what changes will need to be made as we move forward.

Lisa Anita Wegner, curator for Windowbox Gallery1313
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the first week after my full time trauma therapy ended, i did a pretty good job of mostly rest and self care. doing just the basics to get ready for my upcoming exhibits and performances.

last night i slept from 5:30 pm to 10:30am (whoa) and then today my brain could barely chug itself around making a cup of coffee.  i was confused all day and stressed because there were a few small details i had to figure out. i needed to call in a friend to help and now i am ready for the rest of the week, and i can mostly rest. my cognition can still drop out and then i feel like i can’t wrap my brain around much besides cuddling my dogs and making stuff.

i feel a little better now that i made this picture. and wrote this. making stuff is really the only way through for me.

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Lisa Anita Wegner is a filmmaker, producer, curator and performer who is accustomed to working in small local art galleries and screening venues in Toronto Canada.  Working with established curator Patrick MacCauley, Wegner got a taste of working large-scale when she was the 26 foot tall Queen of the Parade in front of an enormous audience for Scotiabank’s 2013 Nuit Blanche.

 

 

This led to several seasons working with performance in multi media environments, exploring soundscapes as well as video. In 2014 Wegner played a lead role in a scripted film, her first in six years, acting as the Caucasian Agent in Will Kwan’s http://www.reelasian.com/festival-events/if-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail/ commissioned by Reel Asian International Film Festival. She brought her team back to create  a Ten Foot Queen of the Parade the Partners in Art Annual Fundraiser, which Wegner says felt like her coming out party, meeting the Toronto Art World.

 

“I can’t stop performing. It was a thrill to be back on a traditional film set for Will Kwan just as much as it is to don by Thin(k) Blank Human outfit and perform my deepest soul searching in my studio. I always knew I loved it but now that it’s a daily practise I truly can not stop.”

 

Wegner is known for mentoring several artists and filmmakers per season at her studio Haus of Dada, so it makes sense that she would enjoy the benefits of mentorship herself. In a recent meeting with her Anonymous Mentor Artist, Wegner was told to think bigger and focus on the Male Rockstar Swagger that she developed after STARDUST: Life on Jupiter? at The Black Cat in 2014.

And then came the magic words to Wegner’s ears,

“Follow that swagger and dream a breakout show. I can see a collaboration. There might be an opportunity soon, and I’d work with to bring it to life.”

Wegner and her team are currently preparing to lift the curtain and to prepare the world to meet Thin(k) Blank Human Faceless RockStar. Lisa Anita Wegner wants to make her mentor proud.

-Fritz Snitz for Haus of Dada *The Fictitious History of the Haus of Dada* 2015

Another project from the Haus : Lisa Anita Wegner collaborating with a five year old artist on TARGET:

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Target is a piece by Nolan Georgakopoulos

When I undertook curating a series of installations for Gallery 1313’s Windowbox gallery, I made a conscious decision that I wanted to go off the usual path to find some of my artists.IMG_2489

As with the November Windowbox installation This Is What It Feels Like, Target does not come from a traditional source; rather than work with an established artist, I chose to work with a five-year-old boy who had never done anything for public display before.

I’ve known Nolan since he was a baby, and have always been taken with both the originality and specificity of his artistic ideas – for shapes, and colours, and how things fit together – that made him myfirst choice when I wanted to feature a kid’s art in the Windowbox.

With a collection of found objects that I thought Nolan might find interesting, and free reign to create whatever he wanted, what has emerged in Target is a true reflection of him – a self-portrait in a way, that features King and Queen representations of his parents, as well as himself in a Knight’s role.

What was fascinating to me in working with Nolan to create his piece, is that the process was exactly how I might collaborate and communicate with artists of any age. Target may be his first effort to create something for what he calls an “art stadium,” but it’s clear that he’s already tapped into a universal artistic urge.

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on a two week holiday break from full time trauma therapy, i had a profound experience today when i was meditating in the tub. i talked in an earlier posting about meeting ziggy stardust in my meditations (read the post here) and being compelled to do a live transformation at the black cat gallery in toronto in july 2014 called STARDUST: Life on Jupiter (see official site here).

since christmas i had come through a time of feeling super exhausted and my cognition has been dropping out mixed with bouts of very hard sleeping and inspired art making. even when i could barely move, i was compelled to draw with pencils. and then shoot and edit video in my lap:

so today i decided to meditate and consider what if this comfort, confidence and compunction inside my creativity would have come out as a child? and i got a clear vision of myself in public school getting my ziggy on and while this picture is not me, it totally could pass (like the fake puppy pictures of my rescue dogs).

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i did dress up and start young creative ventures: but i stuck to playing girls. orphans, pioneers and magic nannies were my childhood specialties. and now i feel free to play anything, human or otherwise, on or off the space time continuum. and i’m having way more fun.

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if i would have found my ziggy then, my current experience would be remarkably different. and just by imagining it, i feel everything opening up. i think i will add being a childhood ziggy stardust: rockstar alien to my fictitious history, and I’d cut a mullet without hesitation. that is when i finally give birth to my artist self in “The Fictitious History of The Haus of Dada” here is a taste of that multi year project. i’m just at the beginning of it.

happy 2015 everyone!

lisa anita wegner

 

 

 

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Call for Submissions: GALLERY1313 (http://g1313.org)

Lisa Anita Wegner, who has always loved unexpected sizing, is looking for extremely small art of any medium for TINY: a group exhibit which will on display for a month entirely in the Windowbox at 1313 Queen Street West. Please submit a jpeg with dimensions or the existing or proposed pieces.

Call for Performance Artists HAUS OF DADA: (www.mightybraveproductions.com)

Looking for a tall (6’2”+) slim male performer to perform with Thin Blank Human. Send us a picture, your height and performing experience.
http://lisaismightybrave.com/2014/10/31/performance-artists-perceived-gender-affects-audience-reaction/

Please contact Matthew or Patrick at hausofdadatoronto@gmail.com with TINY or THIN BLANK HUMAN as the subject line.

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This is What it Feels Like: Mixed Media sculpture by Anonymous (A)

When I was brought on to Gallery 1313 to co-curate the Windowbox I was keen to bring work that is created through non-traditional means. November 2014 I am proud to show “This is What it Feels Like” by Anonymous, a woman I met in 2011 in The Women’s College Hospital Trauma Therapy Department.  She told me how therapeutic making art is for her and she is happy to have been given art making as outlet in the SPEAKArt Program.

It resounded with me when A talked about feeling inhuman, like three unstable delicate floating balls, unable to ground herself without the help and approval of other people. She feels like she’s been put together like a delicate patchwork and despite trying to cover this with normalcy, her hiding was transparent. She feels her body is a flying machine too unyielding for her to steer. Her little useless limbs hanging there, taunting her. She needs so much support just to exist it’s like she can’t stand up without support. She feels that her loins, belly and heart are blown open for everyone to see into her. I could visualize this as she was talking. I encouraged her to create the piece for herself and asked her if she would feel comfortable showing her work in The Windowbox to help start a conversation and perhaps inspire with other abused women through making and appreciating art.

 
 
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Made with tissue paper, wood, wire and found objects this piece is disturbingly beautiful and delicate self-portrait of a soul in distress.
My artist finds it hard to leave the safety of her home and wishes to remain anonymous. I fee privileged to be able to translate this piece for her. I used found objects from other projects and took the materials to her home. Through a simple papier mache sculpture A manages to evoke a feeling of a lost woman and her unhinged journey. While she is delicate, floating and blown open there is hope: a butterfly has landed on her and her third eye is open. She struggles with society, trying to fit into clothing that is far too small. And this lady is wrapped in a bridal veil, which hides her hunched back because she feels a  societal and family pressure to marry and the noose-like rope around her neck was the final touch.
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She considers herself a shut-in and blushed deep when I called her an artist. A is empowered for having made the leap to have created something from her imagination and feels it  is helping her making peace. She will be there in spirit at the Opening.
 Lisa Anita Wegner

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