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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

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Akhilanda Collaborative is a new creative collective based in Toronto Canada. It began with a circus and film collaboration for MASHUP, a Hercinia Arts Collective Event curated by Kirsten Leila Edwards. Click the link to read the story of how “the way back home” came together and who is involved.

Read about the original collaboration for a Hercinia Art Party

Here is a teaser of “the way back home” Day of Delight performance shot and edited by Tarquin Richards.


“the way back home” at Dufferin Grove Day of Delight 2016 from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I felt a deep therapeutic need to continue to collaborate with this group. We truly are more than the sum of our parts. When we decided to move ahead we were stuck for an organization name. It was because we were missing someone. As well as Ashley Hurlock, Tamara Arenovich, Lisa Anita Wegner and Ray Cammaert we added Mary-Margaret Scrimger. Here she is below.

And then we were complete. We immediately started a steady stream of creative projects. Live performances, large scale art installations and films. For me this is the ideal addition to my therapeutic art practise. A group who is creatively open, nurturing and understands the emotional landscape. This is work that heals me.

portrait of mary-margaret from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I wanted to post some teaser images and a video study from our blue screen shoot of the other day. Projects will be announced here and on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/AkhilandaCollaborative/?fref=ts

the universe in her underpants from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I’ll write more soon and share more about our process. I’ll also write a little about the Goddess Akhilanda. Here are a few more images of what we are up to.

Lisa Anita Wegner
Akhilanda Collaborative
Mighty Brave Productions
haus of dada.

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“One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes.”           -Volt, Futurist Manifesto Of Women’s Fashion (1920)

Gallery 1313 is excited to have Paula John’s Celluloid Dress on display in the Windowbox for September 2015.

Celluloid Dress plays with the relationship between two technologies that creator Paula John uses in her art practice – sewing and 16mm celluloid filmmaking. Inspired in part by Volt’s “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion,” this wearable dress is made from over 250 feet of exposed 16mm film from one of John’s own films and nylon mesh. LEDs stitched into the skirt illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces for a truly stunning effect.

This amazing piece will be on exhibit in the Windowbox for September, during the period when the city’s attention turns to film with the Toronto International Film Festival. Celluloid Dress will provide viewers with an entirely different twist on what film can be, and stimulate their imaginations to consider other uses and convergences for familiar technologies.

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

Paula will be giving an Artist’s Talk at the reception on Sunday, September 13th from 3-5 p.m. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet a unique artist and view one of the results of her creative vision.

-Lisa Anita Wegner, Windowbox co-curator for Gallery 1313

Artist Statement

Celluloid Dress is a performance-based installation that combines the mediums of sewing and 16mm filmmaking to explore the numerous similarities between the two technologies. I was inspired by the early twentieth century Avant-garde art movement Futurism, and in particular the 1920 Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion by Vincenzo Fani (Volt). In it he declares,

Women’s fashion has always been more or less Futurist. Fashion: the female equivalent of Futurism. Speed, novelty, courage of creation… Fashion is an art, like architecture and music…Women’s fashion can never be extravagant enough… The reign of silk in the history of female fashion must come to an end, just as the reign of marble is now finished in architectural constructions. One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes. We fling open wide the doors of the fashion ateliers to paper, cardboard, glass, tinfoil, aluminum, ceramic, rubber, fish skin, burlap, oakum, hemp, gas, growing plants, and living animals.[1]

The Futurists valued speed, dynamism and new technologies, and were interested in transforming all sensory aspects of life. This extended to art, literature, music, food, architecture, and even fashion. In the spirit of the Futurists I developed a project in which I could combine two technologies that I use in my art practice: sewing and filmmaking. I merged the two technologies by first sewing a dress out of film. The handmade dress was sewn entirely out of 16mm celluloid film and nylon mesh, using approximately 250 feet of one of my films. I stitched LEDs into the skirt, which illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces. I then physically linked the two technologies in a performance, using a film loop to connect the sewing machine and the projector.

There are a number of similarities between sewing and 16mm film making, the most explicit being that Singer, the leading manufacturer of sewing machines, also made 16mm projectors. There are also parallels between the machines themselves. Both a sewing machine and a projector are threaded; both machines have a spool and a take up; both machines make similar sounds; tension is important; and the presser foot and the film gate serve essentially the same purpose on their respective machines. Even the movements of the machines reflect each other with the spinning of the reels and of the balance wheel. The process of editing a film is also similar to sewing, where shots are stitched together. The type of 16mm filmmaking that I personally engage in shares strong similarities with the act of sewing. Both processes take place within my home at the kitchen table. Both sewing and analog filmmaking are highly tactile and laborious practices where the physicality of the medium is emphasized.

For the performance aspect of the piece I project a copy of that same film through a 16mm projector on a continuous loop. The film loops through the projector and physically moves throughout the space through the use of pulleys attached to the ceiling. Approximately fifteen feet in front of the projector sits a sewing machine, which has been modified to add a film gate, allowing the film to pass through it on its loop. During the performance, I sit at the machine while wearing the film dress and sew the film as the projector drives it forward. The film is projected on both the sewing machine and my body, and as I sew, holes are punctured in the celluloid abstracting the image. Eventually through this process as more and more holes are punctured in the film the filmstrip is completely destroyed and breaks apart.

Bio

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

[1] Volt, . “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion.” Trans. Array Futurism: An Anthology. . 1st ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 253-54. Print.



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Art Saves Lives is the first joint exhibition of Angela Chao and Lisa Anita Wegner, two visual artists whose work grew out of brain injuries they had experienced. Angela suffered a concussion at her work on a film set, while Lisa lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. lisa_angela

They connected over their art being the way out of their personal traumas, allowing them to both function and stay connected to their true selves. They share an understanding of art as something they need on a daily basis to nourish their souls, and are so simpatico on this, that they refer to themselves as each other’s “Brain Buddies.”

Angela and Lisa are eager to share their stories and their art, helping to spread awareness to others that art is a very real therapeutic option.

Come to see their show of paintings, post-production photography and collage now on display at the gallery at Richview Library: and visit their website at artsaveslives.ca.

After a concussion curtailed her first career, ANGELA CHAO discovered cranio-therapy and found herself able to think freely and begin to escape the personality and mental changes, PTSD, depression and anxiety that had plagued her since her accident. Even more exhilarating, she could sit still and accomplish things, an ability that had been taken from her. She started doodling and discovered her hidden artist, and a place where she can leave behind mental challenges and be free to create.

In her new career as an artist, she has already won an award at the Art Square gallery where her work premiered, as well as Flight Centre’s first prize of a trip to New Zealand and Australia in a competition with 1800 artists. She recently competed in Art Battle 2015, and has donated her artwork to an AIDs charity event at TIFF.  In addition, her unique story has generated coverage by the Mississauga News, Brain Injury Association and Hospital News. http://mindlessdoodle.ca/unnamed copy

LISA ANITA WEGNER is the creative producer of Mighty Brave Productions, a small award-winning multi-media production company based in Toronto. She has been exploring film, video, post-production photography and performance art for over twenty years, with an emphasis on emotional authenticity, collaboration, and – since experiencing a PTSD-related breakdown, the possibilities of art as therapy. Her work has been shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gallery 1313, Moniker Gallery, Toronto Art Fair, Buddies in Bad Times, The Black Cat Artspace, NXNE Festival, Partners In Art’s ARTrageous In Motion, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and, most recently, at the RAW Sensory show at Toronto’s Mod Club. www.lisaismightybrave.com

lisa

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In 2003, when I was just starting to make films, Angela Chao was in the camera department of my first two projects. After reconnecting last year, I fell in love with Angela’s fanciful painting and drawing on social media. Angela had found art-making as therapy and I was moved by her story as well her art. Her work was bright, bold and authentic and she created endlessly and freely. And Angela herself is so sweet and authentic – I particularly love how she snaps a picture to remember all her buyers.

“Mindless Doodles” is the second therapy installation that I’ve brought to my curation at 1313. I find that this type of work resounds with me as my own art career was born in the trauma therapy art room, and my daily art practice is what keeps me functioning. Angela and I have an understanding of art as something we need on a daily basis, to nourish our souls and stay connected to our true selves. And though the stories of our traumas are so different, the way we use our art is very similar. We understand each other’s specific trauma-based needs and refer to each other as Brain Buddies; and we’re both keen to spread awareness and help others discover art as a viable option as therapy.

When the April Windoxbox  became open unexpectedly, I was thrilled that Angela was able to bring a selection of her ceramics and her “20 minute” feeling paintings to fill the window gallery at Queen Street’s Gallery 1313.

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As well as bringing her work to Gallery 1313, Angela and I have started a series of collaborations including working with my performing persona, Thin(k) Blank Human. This summer is our inaugural exhibit together for The City of Toronto, for The Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games.  Our collaborations will be under the moniker Art Saves Lives.

I invite you to come to Angela’s opening this Thursday at 1313a Queen Street West at Brock Ave. 8pm – 10pm is open to the public. If you want to come at 7pm and have a drink, you have to private message me. Angela’s work will be shown until April 28th 2015.

About the “Mindless Doodles” Exhibit:

The installation “Mindless Doodles Art Therapy” in Gallery 1313’s Window Box space for the month of April dives into the life of Canadian filmmaker, Angela Chao, who uses the term Mindless Doodles to denote the images she sees that are not pre-conceived or arranged. These doodles come straight from the emotions and sensations of her current “crazy brain,”  the result of three on-set concussions she has suffered over the past one and a half years.

After trying many types of therapy, she found HandsForHealth.ca and cranio-therapist Edwin Galeano, with whom – after just one session – Angela found herself able to think freely and begin to escape the personality and mental changes, PTSD, depression and anxiety that had plagued her since her accidents. Even more exhilarating, she could sit still and accomplish things, an ability to that had been taken from her. She started doodling and discovered her hidden artist, and a place where she can leave behind mental challenges and be free to create.

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In her new career as an artist, she has already won an award at the Art Square gallery where her work premiered, as well as Flight Centre’s first prize of a trip to New Zealand and Australia in a competition with 1800 artists. She recently competed in Art Battle 2015, and has donated her artwork to an upcoming AIDs charity event on May 6 at TIFF.  In addition, her unique story has generated coverage by the Mississauga News, Brain Injury Association and Hospital News,
Looking forward, Angela Chao has joined created forces with Lisa Anita Wegner in creating an organization called ArtSavesLives.ca. Their goal is to help others battling a traumatic brain injury or post-concussion syndrome discover their own unique therapy.

Angela Chao’s work can be seen at Mindlessdoodle.ca For private viewing or commission art, please contact Angela at info@mindlessdoodle.ca.

Angela + Thin(k) Blank Human

Angela + Thin(k) Blank Human

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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.

exhausted

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Artist Lisa Anita Wegner has had a wave of unexpected financial success when Haus of Dada started offering LAW Thought Certificates for sale. Originally priced at a mere $200 to think about Lisa, when they were announced as available the price shot up to sell at over a thousand times their original value.

An anonymous German collector was thrilled that he holds the first gallery sanctified thought, purchased at $300,000 CDN. He owns the thought of Lisa Anita Wegner in her signature white suit for 2014. “Many others are allowed to think it, but I own it- I paid for it” the collector boasts.

“We don’t want Lisa saturating people’s minds, we want them wanting more. So we will stop the sales next week and then “Memories of LAW” ownership certificates can only be viewed be during upcoming March 9th performance at the Museum of Modern Art or next season as a guest performance at the Art Gallery of Ontatrio” says her manager who goes by his street name Wheels. 10632756_10154674563975521_2249571178938028204_n

Unexpectedly the first week of October, Haus of Dada stopped the sale of these thought certificates and Lisa insisted the 3.3 Million CDN be divided amongst local charities.

“All this wealth flashed around felt creepy,” admitted Lisa, who will now be giving these valuable Thought Certificates to people who have directly inspired her. “If these folks want to cash them in, that is up to them. It is a gift.”

willisBruce Willis poses with a rare shot of a LAW Thought Certificate. “I’ll never let this piece go.” Declares Willis

 

So artists, art patrons, curators and media are all waiting to see who is chosen to receive  these valuable pieces of paper.  “Finances will have nothing to do with it. They go to those who have given me something much more valuable than money. Inspiration and human connection.” says Lisa with a big smile.

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October 13, 2014 Fritz Snitz for Haus of Dada

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