This May has been quite eventful. On May 5th I got my BFA from the Emily Carr Institute. A strange feeling after 5 years of mostly enjoyable learning I can show you and talk about what I have done during this time but I am probably less sure about what art is then when I started. That is, (I will rationalize) probably a reflection of effective learning as when get closer to anything it becomes more complex. Vancouver Pooh-dles was my piece in the Grad Show. It is still current .The headlines of last friday’s SUN front page were the sex trade workers taht dissapeared in Vancouver and concerns about dog pooh in parks.
Also I opened My first solo show “de 0 a 13” on May 10th at the French Alliance Center’s gallery. It is still hard to think of myself as an artist. But I will persists even if the future is unclear at this time because it is when I am creating my ART (?) that I can feel “my heart soar as an eagle”.
For the second year in a row, I won 2nd prize at the Granville Island Garbage Can Art Contest. 25 artists participated.
I was pleased because this can was not for everyone. Although playful and pretty at a distance, garbage surrounded the outside preserved in resin forever.
Time has run out on the lid and at the foot of the can dinosaurs and a shark are forced out by the accumulation of technology and our search for a quick fix (drugs).
Today I was interviewed by CBC radio about the news that Spain and Israel had put a limit on how thin their fashion models could be. The Fashion industry and the Movie and Television industry have been pursuing the limit of thinness in women for the past 30 years at least. We have known about this negative influence, on women particularly, for almost as long. So what took us so long to wake up? and why are we still continuing? In 2005, I produced a photoshop collage of the cover page of woman’s magazine I called SHAME. This fashion trend is unlikely to stop until we better understand who needs it and why.
Who benefits from selling the thin ideal? It is unlikely to be a simple answer but I cannot help but think of the prevalling powers in our global village that are for the most, white, patriarchal and capitalistic. Do they need to keep women weak and dependent on their GOODS?
Thomas Hirshorn said ” FASHION REFLECTS THE FEAR OF LOOSING ONE’S IDENTITY “. This thought helps explain the importance adolescents give to fashion as they are developing their identity. But then, does the importance our society give to fashion also reflect this fear and how do emaciated young females reflect our collective identity?
A strange paradoxical concept. Today again a number of soldiers were killed or hurt by mistake by their allies. Wars are the outcome of decades, sometimes centuries of mistakes. And they themselves create more mistakes. My videos “here to infinity” and “irrepressible” address this obssessive and repetitive compulsion to try to deal with our mortality and drive for survival by aggressive domination. This latest tragic event will only be a one day headline soon forgotten with the appropriate apology and investigation, only to repeat itself soon enough. Last year I painted this image trying to capture the instant of the explosion when it may seem beautiful before it turns to horror. This fire is never friendly.
In 2004, I completed a series of 4 paintings regarding my view on the medical profession… my profession. I portrayed the businessman doc, the one who accepts gifts from the drug companies and still believes he is not influenced. I portrayed the patriarchal doc who tells his patients how to live, as if he knew the right way, and finally the western scientific doc for whom there is always a cause (usually biological) to explain our woes. The 4th painting is more self-referential. In my silhouette is the following text:
“I am bought. Slowly over the years I have sold out: First to the Patriarchs, then to the Scientists, to the Professions and now to the Corporations “the New Imperial Powers of Heath Care”. The sick have changed from serf like patient hood, to objects for experiments, to reasons for work,, to now, finally commodities. Over the years, I have repeatedly made the decision to work from within to make changes. It has rarely worked. Most often the implicit power structures have had their way. I need to step out of the health care system but have so far lacked the courage and the means. But I have hope that Art may allow me to find the key to escape soon. But I will have to be careful not to fall into the same trap as the implicit powers also govern the art world and the intellectuals. Are we all slaves?”
Two years have past. I now work half time, still within the teaching public system but again this week I was made aware of the degree to which we had become employees of organizations who did not share my values.
This week the Canadian Medical Association voted a new President, a doctor who owns a private clinic. I have always opposed the idea of a private health care system but maybe within this lay the opportunity to regain some of our values and self respect.
You can view the paintings by linking to the paintings “On Doctors” on my website.
My painting Eau Canada has been accepted into the Painting on the Edge exhibition. It’s opening on Thursday, August 31st at the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery. The gallery is on Granville Island at 1241 Cartwright street in Vancouver (phone number 604- 681-8534).
It’s part of a series of 3 called, “Red, White and Blue Brainwashed” critiquing Nationalism. For more information please see my artist statement on the series on my web site leichner.ca. The painting God save US is particularly relevant regarding the bomb crisis in the U.K. today.