Archive for ‘From The Archive’

January 11, 2012

Those Middle Aged [now they were really onto something]

so we’re in our quarter life and we’re done castigating our parents’ generation.  that is like, so 2009 [along with anything 8-bit].  passe.  yesterday’s jam is today’s jam.  shacking up with a middle-aged man has, oddly enough, expanded my already rather wide musical musings.  here’s a list of musicians and tracks that i have somehow jumped the shark, value-wise.


let’s set one thing straight.  if we’re talking about giving value where value is due – here’s one example of a band who has been grossly over-valued.  after sifting through their vast collection of repetitious albums, there is no one single stand out track, not a single solid compilation.  enough of the beatles.  they are neither cute nor talented, and most definitely not ‘ground-breaking’.  if you start your career in a swath of screaming teenage females, you don’t really get to play the unconventional card.  oh you have songs about drugs and the devil?  WOW.  rewind 20, 30 years and listen to robert johnson.  thanks.  now go and acquire your own taste in music and stop rehashing the same tripe over and over.  thanks.

2] Neil Young

now that we’ve set the record straight, we’re off with The Original Wild Man.

i’m aware that mr young dislikes the sharing of his music without recompense, but he said so himself :: ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE.  while we’re on the topic of compensation, we might as well bring up Farm Aid [as a newly enrolled devotee of the homesteaders unlimited guild [?]].  it’s nice to know that there’s a fellow canadian who not only understands but supports my desire for ducks, my goat lust, my bee envy.
the role of the storyteller has been greatly perpetuated by neil young’s gift for song crafting.  growing up, i had always love love loved ‘cortez the killer’ [liberal artist and history buff shining through].  not to harp on the original, but built to spill’s cover and 20-minute guitar solo has really taken it to ‘the next level’.  listening to him on the local rock station – CHOM 97.7 – he was one of the first of a line of ‘oh, adults like that kind of music so i guess i should too’, without ever having really paid any real attention to them.

3] Dire Straits

in a similar vein of #2, i had only ever known dire straits for their big hits – money for nothing, sultans of swing – without exploring their technical and storytelling mastery.  scores of generations of bards are bowing.  let’s go down to the waterline.

4] Russian Classical and Modernist [Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky…]


when i hear people say ‘i don’t like opera’, they are making a statement that is not unlike saying ‘i don’t like pop music’.  it’s a rather broad statement that comes from being narrow-minded.  operatic productions cannot, and should not, be lumped into one group, as styles and artists vary greatly from one artistic movement to another.  i’ve gone out on a limb and put sergei and igor together with pyotr and modest because on the whole, i’ve come to prefer russian composers over, say, spanish or italian.  perhaps it’s the structure, perhaps it’s the chill of perseverance.  lately i’ve been on a bit of a baroque kick, but the flow and jarring of history and story always brings me back to russia.  back to the stigma of opera, it’s popularity during the height of its composition as a form of entertainment is the modern equivalent to going to the bell centre to watch madonna shake her tits on stage.  it would make as much sense but move you just as deeply to experience it IRL, even if the viewer were absolutely clueless as to what the singers were trying to convey.  i’m not saying ‘like opera’.  just try and find the kind of pop music you like.

just don’t sell out and try to convince me the beatles were the greatest band ever.

Tags: ,
June 25, 2011



March 8, 2011

from the archives – NOMADE

pulled straight from the vault.

originally written in 2008, this review of Nathalie Tremblay’s expo was published in part 4 of the fibre quarterly’s year in textiles.  i had no idea back then that i would be so interested in nomadic cultures but look!  foreshadowing?



Nomade’s Land

by Heather ——n


Nomad : noun

1 a member of a people continually moving to find fresh pasture for its animals and having no permanent home.

2 a wanderer.


Upon entering the Canadian Guild of Crafts, I was absolutely overwhelmed at the amount of pieces that are held in such a small showing space.  The hand is visible (yet physically absent) in all the works, be they of ceramics, glass, wood, metal, or fibre based tapestries or baskets.  And in my own art viewing tradition, I began at the back of the gallery and worked my way to the front, trying to grasp my own ideas from each piece before reading the artist’s statement.

Keeping only the word ‘nomad’ or ‘nomade’ in mind, there exists a unifying theme throughout each piece, both stylistically and conceptually.  With Amériques Sineuses I (2008), literal geographical references are made with the silkscreening of the conjoined American continents on shibori dyed wool fibres and rayon fabric.  The fact that the rich red-violet wool is hand felted in between pieces of rayon fabric, a viscose substance that is neither natural nor synthetic but ‘semi-synthetic’, marks the beginning of the body existing and shifting through any given space.

Est (2008) particularly caught my attention as it utilized the same honeycomb-like motif from Amériques (also used in Châle (2008)), only this time was repeatedly burned out onto dyed red rayon and silk.  At first Est appears to be printed uniformly on otherwise unaltered fabric, which scaled at 120 cm x 300 cm, just brushes the gallery floor.  Closer inspection reveals subtle variations in the devoré process, and keeping the geographic or nomadic theme in mind, the bottom third may appear as an imaginary chain of islands, while the top stretches towards a perfect printing process.

Vêtement 1, Vêtement 3 (2008) and Bagues (2008) were collaborative projects, enlisting the help of others in the assemblage of garments and woodwork and expressed the functional aspect of the nomadic lifestyle.  How do nomads live?  What do they do?  What do they look like?  The mark of the hand is so apparent in the weaving, the felting, and the stitching – no nomad would carry a machine with them, and the amount of rings showed implied the need for sustainment through an almost obsolete system of bartering and trade and a product of lives spent in constant motion – does it end?

Jali Blanc (2006), though referencing ornamental architecture, also references the body in geographical space.  Each cotton strip is loosely woven into a circular motif similar to the honeycomb noted previously.  The largest piece of the show (250 cm x 100 cm) marked the end of my viewing process, or the shows beginning.  The white felted pattern marks a separation from the other brightly coloured pieces, and seems to spiral out into infinity – it is only the right, or easternly most edge that is screened with iridescent silver remarking just that – the edge.

A graduate of Collège de Vieux Montréal in Textile Design and Printing, Nathalie Tremblay’s practice ties the body with the earth in using traditional techniques to create fibre murals and wearable art.  She has participated in numerous shows throughout Québec and France, including last years Mots Croisés / Palabras Cruzadas at the Centre for Contemporary Textiles in Montréal.


Nathalie Tremblay
October 30th to November 29th 2008

Guilde Canadienne des Métiers d’Art
Canadian Guild of Crafts
1460 rue Sherbrooke O, suite B
Montréal, QC H3G 1K4