December 20, 2014
Axe Head Art Exchange
Extended exhibition at Open Studio Print Sales Viewing Room until April 4, 2015.
In January to February, 2015, Open Studio is participating in an initiative called the Axe Head Art Exchange. Every two months, a work of art on paper by a different Toronto artist will be exhibited in an arts institution in Bilbao, Spain, while a work by an artist from Bilbao will be on display in at an arts organization in Toronto. For the first exchange, Toronto artist Kristiina Lahde, who was a Visiting Artist at Open Studio in 2012-13, will have her work exhibited at La Taller, a printshop similar to Open Studio. Concurrently Open Studio will be featuring a print-based work by the emerging Spanish artist Rosa Parma on the wall in the Print Sales Viewing Room.
This exchange project is being coordinated by the ARMAR Collective, a group of artists and curators in the Basque Region of Northern Spain, and Toronto-based critic and collector Bill Clarke. More information about the project can be found on the group’s website: www.armar.pro. Throughout 2015, the website will be updated with information about the artists, artworks and institutions participating in the exchanges.
Axe Head Art Exchange is a contemporary exhibition program that echoes the earliest known exchange between European and North American cultures. Functioning as a promotional tool for Basque and Canadian artists and institutions, the program was inspired by the recent finding of a wrought iron axe head during the excavation of the Wendat Ancestral Village near Stouffville, Ontario. The axe head was determined to have been created in the Basque Country over 500 years ago, 100 years earlier than the first official visit from Europeans to the Great Lakes region. It is believed to have been traded up the St. Lawrence River by native communities from a Basque whaling station in Newfoundland and Labrador, which was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The axe head, which is the earliest European artifact ever found in North America, has altered history books. The Axe Head Art Exchange is designed to renew this historic trade route and advance the culture of exchange between two nations an ocean apart.
Drawing and printmaking form the nucleus of Rosa Parma’s artworks. In her artistic practice as a whole, the raw force evident in her drawings combine with the inherent multiplicity of printmaking processes to found a dynamic and diverse production, where lines of construction cross and intertwine, and limits hold little weight. The influence of punk and feminist movements goes well beyond being a graphic characteristic of her work, but is the motor that leads her further to self-publishing and independent cultural initiatives.
The present work, which combines screen printing and lithography, reveals a fascination for the precarity of a subjective body and the preference for a heterogeneous process, which exemplify the habitual practice of the artist. The feminine figure, dismembered and inflamed in acidic chroma, writhes and struggles in the ferocity of the stroke on the stone. This work belongs to a series that abounds in ribald images of carnality, and was made during a residency in the Viña de Gijón artistic printmaking centre, in Asturias, Spain.
Rosa Parma lives and works in Bilbao. She achieved her Diploma of Advanced Studies (Master) from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country in 2010, where she developed her thesis project “Dialectic of the Existential and an Instantaneous Aesthetic: From Advertising to Art.” She is currently the co-director of both Riot Flesh and Puerta, where she deploys her creative capacity in projects like T-festa, or in educational actions such as her Radikal Drawing Workshop. She has participated in various individual exhibitions, such as MGT/CT at Sala Rekalde in Bilbao and Una Imagen Brutal in Ekain Artelanak in San Sebastian. She has also been awarded several grants and awards during her artistic career, including the III National Lithography Prize “Ciudad of Gijón” in 2006.