Bryne McLaughlin

  • Gerald Ferguson, Choral Reading of the Standard Corpus of Present Day English Language Usage Arranged by Word Length in 20 Units for a Chorus of 26 Voices, 1972/2016. Performance view, January 16, 2016,  Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Photo: Steve Farmer. Courtesy of the Estate of the Artist and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
    interviews February 26, 2016

    Garry Neill Kennedy

    From 1967 to 1990, artist Garry Neill Kennedy served as the president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. It was a tenure that in many respects has become the stuff of legend—not only for the radical experiments in the institution and the classroom that Kennedy endorsed, but also because of the pivotal role NSCAD came to play as a far-flung focal point in the rise of Conceptual art. Kennedy captured much of this in The Last Art College: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1968–78 (MIT Press, 2012), a chronological look back at the artists, projects, and events that marked

  • View of “Ryan Wallace: Dragnalus,” 2016. From left: Dragnalus I, 2015; Pitch, 2016.
    picks February 09, 2016

    Ryan Wallace

    The instant you step inside the gallery door, you’re implicated in Ryan Wallace’s exhibition “Dragnalus.” Spread out underfoot across the space is Pitch, 2016, a patchwork of square Plexiglas tiles, each roughly imprinted with evidence of Wallace’s working methods—footprints in paint, offcut strips of packing tape and mesh, a flattened work glove or pair of jeans, and traces of spray paint and carpet glue, among other things. Interspersed throughout this blue-collar mosaic are squares covered in gold and silver foil or mirrors. Walking on Pitch, it’s impossible not to think of how heavily this,

  • “Dora García: I See Words, I Hear Voices”

    Outsiders exist outside of what, exactly? For the past two years, Spanish artist Dora García has crisscrossed the globe in pursuit of a response to that question. “I See Words, I Hear Voices” assembles the results. As proved by the show’s seven works—among them, the video The Joycean Society, 2013, which documents a reading group in Zurich as they parse a page from Finnegans Wake word by word, and ESPextrasensory perception (Imposed Words), 2015, which brings a clairvoyant into the gallery to perceive things that others cannot—for García, truth is

  • Douglas Coupland, Gorgon High-Tech Japanese Trendy Emo Tomorrow Boy, 2014, acrylic on ink-jet print, 49 × 37". From the series “Deep Face,” 2014.

    Douglas Coupland

    You have to hand it to Douglas Coupland. The Vancouver-based novelist, screenwriter, and lecturer has for decades now been the go-to source for pop-culture prognostication—his 1991 bildungsroman, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, would serve to define the era. Coupland’s widely varying interests are driven by the parallel forces of rampant consumerism and collective dislocation in a digitally oversaturated world. Whether he’s writing about Marshall McLuhan, collaborating with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, or moonlighting as a designer for a clothing line marketed to millennials,

  • Jason de Haan, Free and Easy Wanderer (Red River), 2014, fossils, humidifiers, concrete, dimensions variable.

    Jason de Haan

    Last summer, the Geological Society of America released a study confirming the appearance of a new type of stone, discovered in Hawaii in 2006. To the casual observer, this may not seem like earth-shattering news. Yet these “plastiglomerates,” formed by the random fusion of melted plastic from our waste-laden ecosystem along with sand, coral, shells, and other flotsam and jetsam, might in time prove to be a pivotal marker of our age, hard-set evidence of the moment when the delicate balance between man and nature finally tipped.

    Thoughts of the ebb and flow of time and our indelible place within

  • Mark Lewis, Above and Below the Minhocao, 2014, 5k transferred to 2k digital video, color, silent, 11 minutes 33 seconds.
    picks October 20, 2014

    Mark Lewis

    Mark Lewis is a master of the long take. The London-based Canadian artist’s single-shot silent films and videos unfold over time in a symphony of perceptual flux and cinematic form. There is a painterly, even sculptural sensibility to his meticulous compositions. When Lewis’s camera slowly glides across densely layered sight lines of monumental landscapes or urban street views, the viewer is drawn past the static visual frame into a crescendo where meaning is ultimately, and unexpectedly, revealed.

    Shot at the edge of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Observation in Cheorwon

  • Dora Garcia, “Mad Marginal Charts (detail),” 2009–, mixed media. Installation view.
    picks July 16, 2014

    Dora Garcia

    James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) is not so much a book to be read as it is to be experienced. This is a key thought to hold on to when viewing Spanish artist Dora Garcia’s The Joycean Society, 2013, one of three large-scale video projections with accompanying sculptural elements gathered by curator Chantal Pontbriand for the exhibition “Of Crimes and Dreams.” Shot in a documentary style, the film hovers around members of a reading group in Zurich as they decode a single page in Joyce’s masterpiece. As the complex, ciphered text is unpacked word by word, spontaneous tangents emerge across

  • Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks December 15, 2013

    Geoffrey Farmer

    “Are we really civilized? Yes or no? Who are we to judge?” The existential edge of these questions posed by Kenneth Clark in Civilisation, his 1969 omnibus broadcast-television journey through Western thought and culture, seems to have only gained momentum in the years following. Indeed, Clark’s thesis that the world as we know it sits perpetually balanced on a knife’s edge between the chaos of barbarism and reasoned refinement still carries a lot of weight when it comes to the accelerated uncertainties of our own time.

    The centerpiece in Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer’s latest exhibition,

  • View of “Learning,” 2013.
    picks July 22, 2013

    Duane Linklater

    Growing up on the land of the Moose Cree First Nation near the tip of James Bay in northern Ontario, Duane Linklater had two choices in or out: by small plane or, more frequently, via the Ontario Northland Railway, which, until government cutbacks forced the closure of the southern segment of the line last year, ran some 530 (often desolate) miles between the town of Moosonee and Toronto. To call it a lifeline might be an overstatement, but for Linklater and anyone else along the far-flung whistle stops that dot the “Northlander” route, the train is more than just an essential passageway south;