Monday, March 30, 2009

"Tapatisserie" by Ruth Jones - FRESH PICKS V1E12

This months Fresh Pick is a blend of old and new, by master weaver and contemporary artist Ruth Jones. A strikingly contemporary portrait of a young girl holding a cake - the cake melding into the girl and the girl melding into the cake - rendered in the centuries old technique of discontinuous weave tapestry. A show-stopping piece at the recent exhibition at Gallery Atusi, Tapatisserie was completed especially for the "Let Them Eat Cake" exhibition.

Inspired by a pivotal scene in the 2006 Academy Award winning film Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola and contemplating the traditional historical creative outlets for women of so-called domestic arts, Let Them Eat Cake featured the work of three artists, in diverse mediums, who were asked to turn the entire concept on its ear. The modern world is driven by desire for sex, money and food, not necessarily in that order. Cake is a delicious metaphor for life. In response, Tap(àt)isserie by Ruth Jones was described by Jennifer Moss of the Vancouver Sun in a Feb. 2009 review as exquisitely crafted and slightly disturbing woven tapestry.....It features a woman holding out a melting pastry. The woman, with her hair piled on top of her head like some kind of elaborate St. HonorĂ© cake, somehow channels Marie Antoinette, whose glib remark in the face of starving French peasants is the basis for the title of this show.

Tapestry has a special place in the annals of art history - it was the most important figurative form of European art in 16th Century Europe. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has an entire department devoted to tapestry arts. The "weaving enthusiasts" who know thing or two about tapestry were blow away by Ruth's virtuosity on the loom. This type of weaving is completed entirely side-ways from the back-side and the artist does not see the right-side until the piece is completed. (Not to mention that small to mid-sized original tapestries by Ruth are typically valued at the price of a small car). Those of us who just love good contemporary art were amazed at the psychological tension in the image and the layers of interpretation related to food, sugar, consumption and female adornment.

In her artist statement Ruth explained the following about "Tapatisserie": “In France where I learned to weave, the French for Tapestry and for Pastry is very close; so close that in fact you can turn one word into the other with one letter swap. I also notice that both art forms require care and are in the making and share a role as custom creations given to commemorate an event, arrival or passage. I played with spelling the two names out as one word, and liked it very much, because, in the saying of it, the meaning becomes “Your Pastry” which suits the gesture of offering that I intend.”

Ruth is a member of the American Tapestry Alliance, the Canadian Tapestry Network and of S.T.A.R.S., a British Columbia-based tapestry initiatives organization. Following degrees in Classical Studies from the University of British Columbia and in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, she completed the graduate program in Tapestry Design and Production from the National School for Decorative Arts in Aubusson, France. Her work and her commissions are included in the collections of IBM Corporate Headquarters, New York, Canada Governor General Official Residence, Ottawa; Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver; Nesbitt-Burns BMO, Vancouver; Intrawest Squaw Valley; and Canada Morgage & Housing Corporation, Vancouver.

For more information on Ruth Jones:
Click here to buy TAPATISSERIE starting from $45.00+

Monday, March 23, 2009


THE ARTERNATIVE CAREER BOARD is a Vocation Relocation Service part of the curatorial art project, Recession-proof Thinking. Let's use the current economic "crisis" as a way to create new and better opportunities for ourselves. The board is open for submissions to all who wish to throw a penny in the well. Curated by Jennifer Mawby and Luisa Santos.

Email the following information to with the headling "Vocation Relocation Services". The board will be open for 12 months. Be real, use your imagination, think big (and let's avoid the lewd and crude.)

Your Name (real or otherwise):
Job Title:
Responsibilities (>100 words):
Salary per Annum:Perks:
Unique Skills & Talents:
Interested Parties Can Contact You At:
Photo (optional, you or otherwise):


The artwork submitted to our Paul Butler book project is better than we could ever have expected!

Thank you artists! We 'Art' You!

...stay tuned for the annoucement of artists selected for publication...

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Hey Arties, submit to Paul Butler today! You know you wanna...

THE ARTIST CALL IS NOW CLOSED. For further information please email Jennifer at


Friday, March 20, 2009


Get your masterpieces in now! Submit online at and follow the instructions. Please note a $40 submission processing fee is required to enable our ability to develop this exhibition-in-print project.
P.S. Congrats to our boy Paul, who was just long-list nominated for
the Sobey Art Award!

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Before/After" by Sascha Yamashita - FRESH PICKS V1E11

"Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble".

Providing Shakespeare's witches with fuel for the fire must have been demanding work, and the wood-stoked pot over which they said their ritual incantation holds water for our new FRESH PICKS EDITION.

"Before/After" by Sascha Yamashita reminds us that an artist's work is thankfully never done. This stunning photograph from his "Before/After" Wood Pile installation references the following ancient Zen Buddhist proverb: “Before enlightenment - chop wood carry water. After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water.”

Through considering daily tasks and rituals in an artful manner, Sascha reminds us of the work ethic and repetitive hands-on-labour traditionally a very noble part of an artist's working life. This ritualizing of artmaking has a long tradition, including such conceptual trail blazers as Bruce Nauman and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Nauman said of this own understanding of art work and repetition that if “I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing must be art” - suggesting his belief in the power of art to ritualize labour and mark it as important. In her 1970's "Maintenance Art Performances", Ukeles also turned repetitive “house work” into “art work” through performing domestic labour in a fine art context such as on the steps of a museum.

Wood Pile specifically considers repetitious and ritualized art practices through the allegory embedded in the work to question the “interwoven relationships of viewer/art object and process/result”. Finally, with "Wood Pile", there is the further suggestion that art practice approached in this fashion can lead to enlightenment, and that after enlightenment, there is still much more artwork to be made.

Sasha is a young conceptual artist who’s work draws from literature, art history, religion, philosophy, pop, Japanese and Canadian culture. Canadian-born to one Japanese and one Canadian parent, the conflation of culture plays a natural role in Sascha’s work. A year 2000 visual arts graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Sascha has shown his work in galleries across British Columbia and Washington State including: the Museum of Northern BC, Helen Pitt Gallery, Kamloops Art Gallery, Viking Union Gallery and the Back Gallery Project. In 2008 Sasha co-founded Vancouver’s Gallery Atsui and is currently an acting director. For more information go to: