Visiting Artists Exhibition: Kate McQuillen & Greg Staats
Each year Open Studio selects four professional artists with or without printmaking experience to create traditional and/or experimental works in the print medium of their choice, working collaboratively with a print media artist. These exhibitions by Chicago-based artist Kate McQuillen and Toronto-based artist Greg Staats are the result of this intensive work period, and the second of two 2010 Visiting Artists’ Exhibitions.
Kate McQuillen’s work—mainly in print media and installation—deals with the idea of telecommunications as an invisible landscape in our midst that sometimes comes to life. She received her MFA from York University and has exhibited in Canada and the US. During her residency at Open Studio, Kate created a large-scale paper-based installation exploring ideas of human relationships to machinery, the power of telecommunications and the nonstop advancements of technology. Involving hand printed, anthropomorphized wires and telephone poles, the installation creates a sense of electrical activity, and is informed and inspired by John Updike’s poem, Telephone Poles. A text by Barbara Gilbert accompanies the exhibition.
Greg Staats is a photographer and video artist whose works reference language, mnemonics, and the natural world, and draw upon a traditional Mohawk restorative aesthetic. He has exhibited widely, and is a past recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography. During his residency at Open Studio, Staats worked with the technical collaboration of artists Nadine Bariteau (screenprinting) and Emma Nishimura (intaglio) to create two series of prints. The first, new spaces, is an edition of screenprints depicting visual representations of the oral documents of the Haudenosaunee, and based on mnemonic symbols for Haudenosaunee titleholders that represent metaphysical relationships and alliances between two people and the land at the time of a specific encounter. The restorative aesthetic and new areas of mnemonic thought held within the depicted encounters provide a forward movement to Staats’ practice. The second project is an edition of photo-based etchings based on a source photograph taken in 1962 on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory of a group of titleholders and clan mothers en route to pay respects at the home of a recently deceased individual. The work elicits patterns of embrace, gait and condolence—a cognitive pattern of renewal located in the liminal space between the clear-minded and those consumed by sorrow. This work follows on from earlier works that Staats has been creating for the last five years under the title of condolence, which focused on this idea of liminality. A text by Ryan Rice accompanies the exhibition.