Jackson Power Gallery: The Sisterhood of Longing, Apr 25 to May 4, 2014

Jackson Power Gallery, Edmonton presents
The Sisterhood of Longing and The Memory Rooms
April 25 to May 4, 2014

Marlena Wyman, The Sewing Chair and the Garden in Back

Marlena Wyman, The Sewing Chair and the Garden in Back

Visual artists: Marlena Wyman, Caitlin Richards, Patrick Arés-Pilon, and Mallory Gemmel
Sound artists: V.I.N.E. Choir, Dave Wall
Jackson Power Gallery 2nd fl. 9744 – 60 Ave Edmonton
Opening reception: Friday April 25, 2014 from 7PM to 10PM. Sound performance at 8PM
Closing reception: Saturday May 3, 2014 from 4PM to 7PM. Sound performance at 5PM

Exhibit hours: Noon to 4PM April 26 & 27, and May 1 to 4, 2014

The Sisterhood of Longing and The Memory Rooms honours personal and collective memory through a multi-disciplinary exploration of the concepts of heritage, family, remembrance, and mortality. We interpret our memories and identities in part through the filter of stories told and through traces of past lives that we can feel viscerally when we hear the recorded voice of a loved one long gone, when we view with amusement family resemblance in photographs of ancestors never met, or when a handwritten passage in the diary of a long dead stranger creates profound personal connection.

The Sisterhood of Longing continues Marlena Wyman’s exploration of memory within landscape informed by her past work as an archivist and her research into the diaries, letters and photographs of the first women to come to the prairies

The Memory Rooms, a concurrent group exhibit curated by Marlena Wyman, features the paintings, photographs, and installations of artists Caitlin Richards, Patrick Arés-Pilon, and Mallory Gemmel, whose artworks are explorations of identity through heritage, material culture and family connection.


Visual Artists:

Marlena Wyman: The voice of early prairie women is a powerful one, but one that is suppressed by mainstream history. It speaks of loneliness and isolation, roughness and hardship, pride in work and new-found abilities, and the vastness and harshness of the prairie landscape. The sense of longing is a recurring theme in these women’s writings: longing for the home and family that they left behind, longing for the companionship of other women from whom they were separated by the vast distances of the prairies, and longing for the rights and freedoms that they were denied by the social structures and inequitable legislation of the time.


Caitlin Richards: When families migrate, they leave behind homes, material possessions, and identities. As families break down and roles change over time, so do the modes of portraiture and the documentation of their histories. Accounts of the family become mythologized and some members are omitted. As these portraits attempt to restructure this history they become increasingly fictionalized representations based on the identity of the artist interpreting family stories.


Patrick Arés-Pilon: This memory room celebrates the photography and life of my great-grandmother, Hélène Courteau née Hudon, who was born in St-Éloi, Québec in 1894, and later settled in Zénon Parc, Saskatchewan. Among the organised boxes of photographs and negatives left behind, I explore my great-grand mother’s photography while following my grand-mother Anna’s instructions: “à faire finir – négatives à maman”.   


Mallory Gemmel: When I see certain images of my family members, particularly images of my parents, I feel this emotion of being content. These various photographs are recollections of the experiences I have within my own life. These photographs are all instances of casual interaction, where in which my memory is taken back to a moment in my life that I am grateful for.


Sound artists:

V.I.N.E. Choir: V.I.N.E. Choir, facilitated by singer and instrumentalist Karen Porkka, gathers musicians and creates spontaneous music works that will make your soul sing. Based on Circlesong singing, they work with structures and musical concepts and improvise vocally. “I really feel that everyone has a voice,” says Karen. “Improvisation is about generosity, it’s about learning to listen, learning to respond in a way that will support each other.”


The choir has created a soundscape for “The Sisterhood of Longing”, based on quotes from the archival diaries and letters of prairie women that Marlena Wyman provided as inspiration for the recorded improvisation.

 V.I.N.E. Choir will perform a vocal improvisation at the opening reception, April 25.

Dave Wall: My work is primarily about memory. Sound from previous eras have an energy – both sonic and cognitive – that can be accessed to activate the present moment. My sound work, “Lattice”, uses archival recordings in the form of my father’s recorded autobiography. By presenting and manipulating the recordings my intent is to transform present lived experience. I alter the sound of my father’s voice in various ways using audio programming. The sound-image of my father disappears at one point in time, only to reappear at another. This represents an ongoing activity of forgetting and remembering.


Dave Wall will perform Lattice at the closing reception, May 3.

 For further information, contact Marlena at info@marlenawyman.com