Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review - Pretty Deadly

Michael Brennand-Wood giving his lecture "Pretty Deadly."

Last night (September 17) was Pretty Deadly. Michael Brennand-Wood took the audience through a survey of his work and artistic practice. The title refers to the double nature of much of Michael's work which, at a distance, appears to be floral or lace work; once viewed close up, however, the surface of the pieces contain disconcerting elements - like the substantial number of hand painted toy soldiers, aircraft and weapons.

Meddals - click for larger version


Here is Tim McLaughlin's introduction to the evening.


In 1939, a Russian of Armenian decent, Semyon Davidovich Kirlian, discovered a way to photographically expose the halo or corona of objects. The resulting images confirmed for many a truth: That objects (both animate and inanimate) are surrounded by a peculiar weather of radiance. 
The mysterious plates produced by Kirlian photography hinted at the spiritual life of the mundane. Coins glowed as if they were the sun during a lunar eclipse. Plant leaves seemed to emit their own tiny versions of the northern lights or to be reconfigured into phosphorescent landscapes. 
This idea – that the surface of some artifact can blossom into the fantastic - is a familiar one to any viewer who has spent time with Michael Brennand-Wood’s artworks. Michael has revealed the halo of potential that lies behind everything.

Here time, "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower", is stopped. Here riotous explosions are fixed and suspended.

This ability of Michael’s work to transform and reconfigure has been internationally recognized and in 2012 a retrospective celebrated 40 years of his artistic production.
Brennand-Wood completed an art foundation course at Bolton College of Art and Design. Choosing to do a BA in textiles at Manchester Polytechnic reflected a family interest in textiles: his grandmother was an industrial weaver who taught him sewing and knitting and his grandfather was an engineer. Michael has combined both influences. When starting his early artworks he reached for thread rather than paint – and his innovative pathway was set. 
I would like to mention that many works from his impressive opus are now contained in the beautiful book “Forever Changes.” Today as we were preparing for his lecture he mentioned that the descriptions he provided in the back of the book were motivated in part by his last visit to Maiwa in 2011. After that presentation, many members of the audience asked where they could source his descriptions of his work. So – if any of you feel the same after tonight’s presentation, I encourage you to pick up the book, which is available for sale tonight.
Please join me in welcoming back to Vancouver Micheal Brennand Wood.
Next up - Jane Callendar Animating Pattern. Jane arrives from the UK to present some of the insights from her new book and the journey of her life in indigo. Not to be missed.


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