March 17 - April 21, 2012

The Untied Knot


Reception: 17 March, 7pm
Opening alongside FIELD featuring an audio performance by Jeffery Allport and Jamie Drouin

In The Untied Knot, Saskatchewan-based artists Stacia Verigin and Tamara Rusnak will transform Neutral Ground's main gallery space into a labyrinth of organic intestinal growths, peppered with piles of plastic bone and flesh. Rusnak's sculptural installation engulfs the viewer in a tactile and olfactory experience. Incorporating traditional crafts such as basket weaving or teepee construction, died with onions, bark and insects, Rusnak's work infects the architecture of the gallery undermining the sterilized and rationalized, white gallery walls with fleshy organic interiors.

Rusnak's installation, in effect, replaces the architecture, becoming the gallery in which Verigin's displays are set. Contrary to Verigin's strategy of engulfment, encroachment and sprawl, Verigin's work is contained within traditional museological vitrines. Within these quarantined cabinets are various collected appendages and growths. Verigin meticulously crafts fingers, crystals and other forms from plastic, arranging them in haphazard piles or assembling them into imagined creatures. Like a dinosaur reconstructed in the image of a shadow puppet, these branching figures follow similar assemblematic logic as Rusnak's interconnecting tendrils. Verigin's sculptures, however, are from the leavings of her commercial sculptural practice: the glue left behind, the fragments of sculptures, or casts made while idly replicating herself, pulling out fragments of the hands she uses to create.

This intuitive morphogenesis imagines the body without oneself. It presents a re-fracturing of the Lacanian mirror where the desire for a connected wholeness of self is instead realized through a scalable interconnectedness where the artists attempt to rejoin an abjected exteriority back into the self. As the viewer looks down at Verigin's separated, replicated, and restructured forms, one could imagine an endoscopic camera deep inside, enlarging the sights within to the fungal spore like constructions of Rusnak. In this space between the two artists, overlooked by one while down on the other, the site of the viewer is entrenched in liminality, reflecting it’s own image in an affirmation of their own bodily presence both inscribed both within and without.

Curated by John G. Hampton

Bios:

Stacia Verigin was born and raised in the southern interior of B.C. She has a B.F.A. from the University of Victoria, and completed her M.F.A. In sculpture at the University of Saskatchewan in 2006. She continues to be captivated by the prairies and is currently living and working in Saskatoon. In the past six years she has been honing her fabrication skills as a contract prop and puppet builder for art departments in film and television. Her love for this dynamic career led her to most recently take a course in creature maquette sculpting at the Cinema Make-Up School in Los Angeles. Her good fortune to work and study with special effects artists has irrevocably inspired and motivated her to help make wonders happen.

Tamara Rusnak is an artist and educator. Based in Vancouver, BC for many years, she returned to her birthplace Regina, SK in 2008 to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Regina. She now lives in Saskatoon. In her practice, Rusnak is interested in hybridizing human and natural forms to act as metaphors for feeling. Ideas for this work comes from time spent in the outdoors - on mountains, near water and in the forest. Experimenting with techniques, tools and materials to create novel and unusual two and three-dimensional works, her art practice encompasses ecologically sound/non-toxic art practices. She makes her own paints from earth pigments and other natural ingredients. Her sculptural work includes materials such as: reeds, willow wax, hair, paper, wool and natural dyes. Rusnak is the recipient of several awards, including the Joseph Bombadier Master's SSHRC and a Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts Emerging Artist's Grant.