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Between the Lines presents a selection of prints by Briar Craig that are inspired by photographically generated media, consumer culture, and the peripheral moments that demand attention on a daily basis.
Craig’s ultraviolet screen prints are developed through extensive layers of translucent colour, producing rich and tactile surface qualities. Recently, inspired by the Dada artists, poets, and the absurdist playwrights, Craig has been employing systems of chance to bring two or more words together into new works of accidental poetry.
In the so-called Information Age, we have been conditioned to absorb and respond to ever increasing quantities of sensory information. Fleeting glimpses of information and fragments of text, whether as news or advertising, flash by at unprecedented rates. These hints of text capture the attention of passersby, begging them to slow down, contemplate, and interpret, often for only a small fragment of unsolicited information.
Words have an automatic visual authority and immediately seem to be telling us something. Whether we are walking down a street, listening to a radio, surfing through television channels, or reading a newspaper, each of us will be individually drawn to things in our environment for specific and personal reasons.
Between the Lines provides visitors with just enough information to draw them in and invite them to interpret snippets of text for themselves. The exhibition juxtaposes a number of disparate things to create narrative-like dialogues where individual meanings become secondary to new, personally, and individually constructed content. Words that wouldn’t normally be connected are assembled for their provocative and evocative potential. Like the absurdist playwrights, Craig tends to think that life is arbitrary and illogical. His work cultivates a confrontation with the unexpected.
Printmaking, in all of its forms, is perfectly suited to a postmodern approach to appropriating and constructing images. Print media are adept at combining and fusing disparate kinds of imagery, techniques, and materials. The very nature of the repeatable image mirrors many aspects of modern mass-media communication, while simultaneously allowing for the creation of a more tactile and personal image quality.
Craig’s prints call attention to the kinds of fragmented visual experiences that are had in contemporary society and how we consciously or subconsciously make sense and connect the dots between those things.
Curated by Justin Muir, Executive Director, Malaspina Printmakers
Briar Craig is an associate professor and visual arts coordinator at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Masters in Visual Arts in 1987. He has exhibited at the International Print Centre in New York (USA), Gallery of the Japan Artists’ Association in Tokyo (Japan), Drawers Gallery in Toronto (Canada), Latitude 53 Gallery in Edmonton (Canada), Novosibirsk State Art Museum in Novosibirsk (Russia), Museum of Graphic Arts in Istanbul (Turkey), Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw (Poland).
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