On the occasion of Guerilla’s 10th anniversary, we went back to where all culture begins—the streets—to stage something novel and memorable that would actively engage a variety of cultural groups and individuals.
The Guerilla 10th anniversary committee (i.e., Jonathan Brown, Tony Martins, Angelina McCormick, David Monkhouse, and Sophé Poitras) put its many creative heads togethertook the basic pub crawl concept and went a little bit crazy with it.
Could we actually organize 10 events over 10 consecutive nights?
It turns out that, yes, we could. Of course we had a lot of help and from many quarters. Guerilla art director Paul Cavanaugh designed a limited edition CRAWL button and t-shirt. We started networking and, lo and behold! Here’s how the CRAWL went down.
CRAWL event 1
Thursday, March 20
K-14 photography exhibition by Jonathan Lorange, opening night
Patrick Gordon Framing (160 Elm Street)
Where else could we begin the CRAWL except at the unofficial “home base” for Guerilla launch events, Patrick Gordon Framing? And who better to exhibit his streets-of-Ottawa documentary photos than long-time contributor, Jonathan Lorange?
Patrick Gordon opened his doors about a year before Guerilla’s first quarterly edition went live in March of 2004 and has since established himself as the go-to framer for much of the Ottawa fine arts community. Gordon’s insistence on affordable quality and his ability to make good art look great helped him capture the Business Contribution award from the Council for the Arts in Ottawa (CAO) in 2013. Another key factor in the award: the studio’s varied contributions to the Ottawa art community in the form of fundraisers, hosted exhibitions, and volunteer work.
Despite many and varied contributions to Guerilla, photographer Jonathan Lorange remains somewhat unknown in Ottawa largely due to a scarcity of exhibitions. We hoped to help change that with K-14, the solo showing of Lorange’s thought-provoking street photography shot with the now-discontinued Kodachrome colour slide film (see story and images beginning on page 18).
Photo by Jonathan Lorange
CRAWL event 2
Friday, March 21
Hit and Run 3: Nowhere to Run!
La Petite Mort Gallery
When Guerilla took its first tenuous steps into print in 2007, we launched edition #13 at Guy Bérubé’s La Petite Mort Gallery (LPM), the one space in Ottawa that consistently embraces challenging or controversial art work. The event was just one of many Guerilla-LPM collaborations over the years, thanks in large part to a like-minded openness to how we collectively define culture.
For CRAWL, Bérubé and his gang put together another edition of their popular all-comers commercial exhibition called Hit and Run. The Gallery invited anyone and everyone to drop off their artwork for display and sale at this one-nighter to end all one-nighters.
“No demands, deadlines, statements, proofs, dimensions or shipping, this is YOUR night,” read the call-out from the gallery.
With a commitment to eclectic and genre-busting exhibitions and events, LPM has earned an international reputation for eschewing the often tight-assed constraints that govern the art world. Making this approach work in a relatively conservative town like Ottawa only adds to the kudos.
La Petite Mort Gallery
CRAWL event 3
Saturday, March 22
Turning the Page group exhibition opening night
Gallery 101 (51-B Young Street)
To christen its new 2,400-square-foot space at 51-B Young Street. Gallery 101 partnered with an impressive diversity of players to present Turning the Page (Saturday, March 22 to Saturday, May 3, 2014), a group exhibition of works on paper by more than 70 artists from H’Art of Ottawa and Arts Project Australia, not-for-profit organizations that provide opportunities for artists with intellectual disabilities.
This unprecedented initiative came together with further contributions from multi-media artist and musician Jesse Stewart, Indigenous Culture & Media Innovations (ICMI), Guerilla magazine, SAW Gallery, and The National Arts Centre
Turning the Page will also include a multi-media performance by Jesse Stewart at the NAC 4th Stage on April 30, at 7:30 P.m. and a community BBQ featuring an interactive “reactable” performance also by Stewart on May 3 at 2 p.m.
Founded in 1979, Gallery 101 is a non-profit artist-run centre with charitable status dedicated to the professional presentation and circulation of visual and media arts. Each year, the gallery presents a stimulating array of solo and group exhibitions of Canadian and international contemporary artists working in all mediums.
With a strong reputation for its Aboriginal and culturally diverse programming, it makes sense that Gallery 101’s new home will serve as a base for a consortium of arts organizations that includes ICMI AsinabkaFilm and Media Arts Festival and Niigaan: In Conversation.
Nhan Nguyen, Prairie Dogs, 2011
CRAWL event 4
Sunday, March 23
cr EAT ive restaurant crawl
Eateries on Somerset and Elgin streets
See a separate story on this event elsewhere in this quarterly edition.
CRAWL event 5
Monday, March 24
Night of Spoken Word Poetry
Bluebird Coffee (261 Dalhousie Street)
And surprise guests
Over the past ten years, spoken word has become a formative part of Ottawa's artistic community. Spoken word poets have been have been active in starting conversation around race, faith, sexuality, gender identity, and many other personal and social issues. Capital Slam and YouthCanSlam remain central to both established and new poets, while new initiatives like ShiRt Slam and the Artistic Showcase are aimed to specifically strengthen the local scene.
One of the ongoing initiatives within the spoken word community is to develop a greater connection between musicians and poets and to create more opportunities for spoken word to become a more professionally sustainable aspect of Ottawa's cultural scene. Featured at Bluebird Coffee are Brad Morden and Brandon Wint, both of whom have been part of the city's spoken word community for many years and who are involved in coordinating ShiRt Slam and the Artistic Showcase (respectively).
Performance poet Brad Morden
CRAWL event 6
Tuesday, March 25
!Women Art Revolution film screening
Wall Space Gallery (358 Richmond Road)
On Tuesday, the CRAWL headed west to Wall Space Gallery in Westboro for a special screening of !Women Art Revolution,a landmark documentary that offers an entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of Feminist Art. The screening was the final element in the gallery’s month-long initiative Inspiring Change – An Exhibition in Celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8 to 30, 2014).
Created over four decades by artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson,!Women Art Revolution draws from hundreds of hours of in-the-moment interviews with visionary artists, historians, curators and critics to present an intimate portrayal of the fight to break down barriers facing women both in the art world and society at large.
The Wall Space group exhibition Inspiring Change featured artists Ottawa Alex Chowaniec, Joy Kardish, Michelle Valberg, Marjoyln Van der Hart, and Sharon VanStarkenburg.
“These women have not been selected for their shared anatomical traits,” explained Wall Space director Patricia Barr. “Through their ability as artists, the positive change which their presence in the art market represents, and the vision which their success as women artists offers to the future, they each inspire change.”
Wall Space is a rarity in capital regiongalleries in that has grown in recent years. After opening an Orleans location in 2004, owners Edward and Thomas Barr expanded to Westboro Village four years later. “We opened during a recession,” notes Patricia Barr, “have seen the ebb and flow of the art world, and we have enjoyed every minute.”
CRAWL event 7
Wednesday, March 26
Enriched Bread Artists Hump Day Party
951 Gladstone Avenue
On Wednesday, the CRAWL hit another familiar environment for Guerilla—the Enriched Bread Artists building at 951 Gladstone Avenue—for a specially organized EBA Hump Day Party and catalogue launch.
Attendees rocked along to the tunes of Michael Caffery's Collaborative Dronescape and checked out the newly launched catalogs from collaborative exhibits shared by EBA and Quartair from the Netherlands. The exhibitions were “Dutch Settlement,” held here in Ottawa, and “Interference” held in he Hague.
Guerilla has co-hosted events at EBA over the years and is always happy to be involved with this enthusiastic group of local visual artists. The work of EBA stalwart Cindy Stelmackowich graced the cover of Guerilla print edition #14 back in November of 2007 and we launched Guerilla edition #17 at EBA in September of 2008. Oh, the memories …
CRAWL event 8
Thursday, March 27
Body of Thought: Mat Dubé solo exhibition (and didgeridoo performance) opening night
Railbender Tattoo Studio and Gallery (3 Hamilton Avenue)
Some ideas come along at just the right time. Railbender Tattoo Studio and Gallery seems to be one of them.
Long before it opened in late February of this year after an attention-grabbing crowd funding campaign, Railbender had grown into a local meme and was featured in several media outlets.
“The support we received from the community was overwhelming,” said co-owner Alex Neron. “Hintonburg has a strong sense of community and supports small businesses such as ourselves and that is something we will never forget.”
Unknowingly following a model similar to Julian Garner’s 5 Cent Tattoo and Grey Area Gallery (also located in Hintonburg), Railbender’s Neron and co-owner Marta Jarzabek will combine tattoo artistry with local and regional art showings, primarily of emerging artists.
“We wanted to create a space where artists are involved in a unique welcoming art studio,” said Neron. “The same applies to the tattoo studio portion of the space. In many cases tattoo shops have a stigma to them that might be intimidating for some people. We wanted to move away from that stereotype and offer a more welcoming atmosphere.”
Mat Dubé’s Body of Thought was Railbender’s first ever solo exhibition the fruits of a very productive period for the illustrator and sculptor that included extensive travel and a residency in Colorado.
“Traveling and experiencing new cultures and environments has become part of my process over the past few years,” explained Dubé. “It really helps me put my art and life into perspective and usually breeds fresh new ideas.
The 20 new paintings in Body of Thought were created with a new and meticulous process for Dubé that “allows me to merge sculpture and painting in a two-dimensional space,” the artist said. Dubé create small-scale clay sculptures of faces and hands, photographs them and uses printed images to flesh out characters on large sheet of watercolour paper. He finishes the pieces using pencil and watercolours.
“My pieces are inspired by the endless flow of deeply rooted thoughts, questions, fears and insecurities that constantly bombard us,” Dubé said of his works. “The resulting characters illustrate the subtle body language with which we all communicate on a primordial level.”
Following the success of his Colorado residency, Dubé will set off to Berlin for another residency this July at the Institut für Alles Mögliche.
Mat Dubé, Nice to Meet You, 2014
CRAWL event 9
Friday, March 28
SPAO Print Sale (and Guerilla photos exhibition)
School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (168 Dalhousie Street)
Angelina McCormick profile portrait of Guillermo Trejo from Guerilla #36
SPAO and Guerilla have almost parallel histories. The magazine was nary a year old when Tony Fouhse was encouraging us to do a story about the photography school that his friend Michael Tardioli was about to co-found.
We didn’t do that story but we did several others over the years once the school had opened and quickly established very high standards for fine art photography rooted in craft and vision. SPAO students and graduates have been consistently excellent contributors to Guerilla, both with assignment shooting and when their projects have been accorded feature-story examination.
To help celebrate this rich, shared past, the CRAWL visited SPAO on its penultimate stop—Friday, March 28—for a special edition of the school’s annual Print Sale bolstered by an exhibition of key SPAO photographs that have appeared in the Guerilla print edition over the years.
Exhibited SPAO/Guerilla photographers were Angelina McCormick, Sarah Jane Schorlemer, Erin Molly Fitzpatrick, Jamie Kronick, and Michael Marquette, though a great many more have appeared in both the print and online editions of the magazine.
Gillian King, photographed by Michael Marquette for Guerilla print #37, Fall 2013.
CRAWL event 10
Saturday, March 29
GuerillaLIVE 10th Anniversary Edition
Gallery 101 (51-B Young Street)
To cap off the crawl and mark Guerilla’s decade (2004 to 2014), we returned to the new Gallery 101 space to launch the special 10-year print edition and let our hair down for a night of live music and celebration.
Co-hosted by Gallery 101, the night featured the smooth sounds of DJ Memetic (of TimeKode fame), live music from the acoustic duo Moonfruits, an electro DJ set from Dr. Lee Percussion, live collage by Graham Gauthier, and a burlesque performance by the lovely Audrey Hipturn.
Thanks to all who contributed to and attended our 10-year anniversary event.
Audrey Hipturn photographed by Andrew Balfour.