Arts Visual Art

A behind-the-scenes look at artists’ work

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‘I’m hoping by the middle of August we’ll have a microcosm of Edmonton in here,” Todd Janes says, gesturing around a small, sunny gallery space on the main floor of Latitude 53. Spread out around the room are the first four entries of Incubator, Latitude’s annual summer-long exhibition centered on giving audiences a taste of the behind-the-scenes feel of artists and their process.

Janes did a few things differently this year. He issued the gallery’s first call for Incubator submissions and chose nine photo-based artists from the 40-plus applications. All but one of those artists have never been shown in Latitude before, and most haven’t been shown anywhere in Edmonton.

He also designed it around the concept of cumulative exhibition and started out with just one artist’s work on the walls; each week a new set of prints will be added, which can be hung anywhere the artist chooses. Janes is also allowing each artist the opportunity to move their work one time throughout the course of the exhibition, which runs until the end of August. So far, all of the works have been organized along the prime real-estate of the central, eye-level line around the room—save for one entrant, who hung double-sided photos from the ceiling in the middle. Janes is hoping that as the weeks progress, work will fill all corners of the space.

“It’s a bit of an experiment to have a sense of play with their work,” Janes says, explaining that some artists have been regularly checking back to see how the exhibition has developed and revise their own submission. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how artists play with each other or how they negotiate or people who may not know each other; is there a written code of politeness?”

Part of this year’s Incubator was inspired by the overlapping poster kiosks along Whyte  Avenue and Jasper Avenue. While Janes is not sure if anyone will actually do it, technically an artist could choose to cover up—in whole or in part—the work of another artist.

While less than half of the work has been put up so far, there’s already a sense that the subjects chosen are quite varied: architectural street shots, grainy black and whites, grids of small images taken of building interiors shot from outside, images from Lagos, Nigeria juxtaposed with those from Edmonton, people taking pictures of themselves with selfie sticks.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘You’re an amazing artist, here have a show,'”  Janes says. “But I think it’s a greater service if we’re able to place artists in context with other artists who are also doing work, because then it creates different types of dialogue. And their work can be great, but it’s not just work in a vacuum; it’s work that’s related to what other people are doing in that medium.”

Until Sat, Aug 29
Latitude 53

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