Laura Taler is a Romanian-born Canadian artist working across a range of media including performance, film, sound, sculpture and installation. Taler began her career as a contemporary dance choreographer before turning her attention to filmmaking and visual art. Throughout her career Taler has explored the links between movement, memory, and history by using cinematic and choreographic devices to articulate how the body is able to carry the past without being oppressed by it. She has been a resident at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires), Carleton Immersive Media Studio (Ottawa), and a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Berlin). Her work has been screened in festivals, exhibitions, and broadcast internationally. Awards include a Gold Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, the Best Experimental Documentary award from Hot Docs!, and Best of the Festival from New York’s Dance on Camera Festival. Publications include Tension/Spannung (Turia+Kant, 2010), Revisiting Ephemera (Blue Medium Press, 2011) and Embodied Fantasies (Peter Lang Publishing, 2013). Taler holds an MFA from the University of Ottawa.
Michael Belmore (Ojibway), a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, was born in 1971 north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds an associated diploma (1994) in sculpture/installation from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Ontario, and currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario. Belmore works in a variety of media including plastics, metal, wood, and stone. These materials are important to understanding his work, bringing into account how we view nature as a commodity. Belmore’s work has warranted numerous awards from the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council, and Canadian Native Arts Foundation.
The North American landscape, especially its watersheds, continues to be shaped by our divergent tendencies to that of nature. Rivers have been dammed, streams redirected and wetlands drained all in order to better satisfy the demands of western society. Over the past few years my practice has focused primarily on stone carving and the traditional metal smithing technique of chasing and repoussé. Through the arduous process of hammering copper, I have continued to map out waterways through calculated and miscalculated blows.
My studio practice concerns the transposition of sound, time and motion into other forms. Most recently, this has manifested in attempts to cast explosions in aluminum and bronze, but this body of work began more gently as experiments in which traces of the past were conjured out of analogue technologies and made visual. For example, for the Norwegian WoodDrawing (2012), I undertook to divine something of the sadness and brilliance of John Lennon from old Beatles albums by way of a mechanical contrivance that transferred the minute variations of the vinyl grooves onto a paper surface. The resulting series of drawings appear to, even if in a very small percentage, contained true traces of Lennon’s essence. Indeed, consistent throughout this body of work are methods that allow for the energies, motions and essences at hand to be captured and presented in a seemingly raw and unfettered manner. As such, theCast Explosions (2015) and small Trinity (2016) pieces are not representations or renditions of explosions, but the actual explosions themselves, albeit in a stilled state. While there is a strong speculative element of this pursuit, the works nevertheless emanate an undeniable aspect of the real, one that lends them reliquary-like presence.