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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 04.28.15
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Art: Recent Acquisitions

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Gallery Parsnippy is delighted and positively damp with pleasure to present new artistic works this spring.

"Zoltan's Anvil" by Trevor Sproud -- mixed media

Free at last, free at last, peanut-free at last. This is the visionary future conveyed in Sproud's triumphant embrace via meta-whimsical nuance of a mixed retrovision, encapsulated in this stunning new piece: a jar of Planters dry-roasted peanuts embedded in an ant farm. The jar itself is filled with the shredded bits of vintage hockey cards, reminding the viewer of a more innocent time, now lost, or perhaps tossed in the trash during an impulsive basement purge, regrettably so, because those cards would be worth a fortune now. But can the past or the future truly be monetized? Obviously. The ants-as-community-as-proletariat are reminders that all those television extras one sees in restaurant scenes are talking to each other about their plans to give up acting and go back to sod farming.

"This Charming Ham" by Bill -- installation free; shipping $25

Breaking away from the artistic compliance of his "Untitled no.14" through "Untitled no.26" (with the exception of "Untitled no23," which defied expectations through its relentless self-assertion and strenuous use of photos cut out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue), the mono-nomenclatured Bill -- AKA the Wunderkind of Walla Walla -- stretches gender politics and chastises conventional sexuality by standing in a bucket of veal wearing only sheer American Apparel leggings. Like, you can totally see everything. A challenge to feminism or a feminist challenge? Bill ain't saying. Viewers are encouraged to express their thoughts in a guest book housed in a vintage phone booth emblazoned with the word "GROSS." Yes.

"Artist of a Man as a Young Portrait" by Eric Broog -- crayon and petroleum jelly on a shelf

Broog kindles an essence of himself through the forging of aspiration, artistic fortitude and a trust fund that just won't quit, bringing them to exquisite heights in this latest piece wherein the nature of revelation is revealed as fraudulent. In other words: crayon and petroleum jelly on a shelf. Just like it says. The description becomes the work and the work becomes the description. As who doesn't? Assumptions are made when we find that the crayon in question is burnt sienna, only to have those assumptions overturned when we find the petroleum jelly is the cheap Dollar Store kind. Broog's sense of humour is once again brought to the fore when he stands behind viewers of this latest piece and laughs his head off.

"Ring" by Sylvia Shchmhidt -- found plumbing

"The genocide of 6 million Jews reverberates through the metamorphosis of creativity, in the crying out of the hunted and the bloody hands of the hunter, except on Wednesdays, and only through the process of indelible certainty can the truth, as hearty as victory, as tribal as Africa, be taken out to a nice restaurant for brunch." So writes Sylvia Shchmhidt in the text accompanying her latest work. And she does go on: "The iconography of bloodshed and the purity of the transcendence of the work itself ensure the audience that he/she/my friend Marcel are never going to manage their credit card debt any time soon." Within this context, the audience is asked to observe closely -- but not too closely; back up! -- this latest installation: a pure white bathtub with a single piece of dental floss draped over the side.

"not very good" by Lillian-Jane Walker-Walker -- watercolour on pizza box

The iconoclastic Walker-Walker challenges our preconceptions of art by turning in a painting that is dismal, bad and just plain ugly. We think it's a puppy eating a jelly sandwich. Or it might be Helen Keller on a blind date. We can't tell. Walker-Walker tackles with linebacker-like zeal the notion that art is a teachable talent, as the self-taught Walker-Walker knows only so well. By choosing to paint her latest piece with her left hand, all the while sustaining herself on a diet of white bread and Xanax, Walker-Walker becomes both the accused and jury, sinner and redeemer, Captain and Tennille.

"I Don't Think So" by Awning Shaftlight -- oil on canvas on fire Time and substance as ephemeral entities. Art as material object. Lighter fluid as critic and catalyst. Flame as consumer. Smoke detector as a cry for attention in a jaded world. Fire department as an approach to understanding. Smoke inhalation as a health hazard. Insurance company as raised consciousness and premiums. That's about it. [No longer on exhibit.]

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