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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

Tag Archives: Windowbox

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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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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