Open Studio Gallery

PA System

Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut?


May 17, 2019June 15, 2019

Opening Reception

May 17, 20196:00 – 8:00 PM
  • PA System, Nuna/ Land (Arena), 2019, linocut on Japanese paper, edition of 5, 70.5” x 39.5”. Photo courtesy of the artists.
  • PA System, Cylinder 1, 2019, plaster cast from 3D print, varied edition, 4’ x 4’ x 22”. Photo courtesy of the artists.

PA System’s Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut? is a collection of works thinking about land: human use and relationship to land, places of shared experience and memory, complex and conflicting societal relationships to resource exploitation and industry, ideas of development, ownership, commons, nations, rights, order, and the experience of snow and ice as land. The thinking behind the work has been percolating and mind-mapped over the past ten years, as personal understandings of cold, land and way of life have grown from cherished time spent in Inuit Nunangat creating collaborative and community art projects, primarily their ongoing project with Kinngait youth, Embassy of Imagination.

PA System’s work references forms of documents and societal systems both ancient and current. They employ visual metaphor in combination with personally collected materials both raw and man-made originating from the places that the work references. PA System has continued their recent exploration of sculpture and expanded printmaking processes, including casting, and impressions made into clay. Printmaking also holds a great significance in Kinngait. Several works depict wind-blown snow-forms that are both beautiful and a tool for navigation in the North. There are strong visual connections between the varied processes involved in these works: the fine ridges of layered 3D-printing, the detailed and linear carving for hand-printed linocut work, and the natural process of wind chiseling the snow-forms. The focus on these snow-forms has intimate and broad meaning: a personal and tedious process that supports reminiscing, missing a place, and reflecting on the vulnerability of traditional and intergenerational knowledge and mobility as it is tied to the precarity of the climate.

PA System (Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson) create public artwork and work in textile, printmaking, painting, and video. They exhibit in institutions internationally, such as the Canada House in London, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and the Art Gallery of Ontario. PA System’s recent work is informed by their time spent over the past six years in Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut), where their ongoing project Embassy of Imagination (EOI) is based. EOI is a visual art and social practice working with and for Kinngait youth. EOI animates yearly art workshops, and creates collaborative community art projects, including public murals, performances, and exhibitions, within Kinngait, across Canada and internationally. PA System and EOI are creating a new work for the forthcoming Toronto Biennial of Art.