You’ll like it, and that’s the truth
New exhibition comes to Gallery 1C03, sense of humour included
What do dead-eyed feline humanoids, visibly enraged flying bread slices and (otherwise) idyllic prairie landscapes have in common?
For the first time in recorded history, surprisingly, something.
These oddities and more feature prominently in Brandon, Man. visual artist Chris Reid’s exhibition I like to believe I am telling the truth at the University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03.
The exhibition, which consists primarily of pastel drawings (though it also features one large three-dimensional mixed-media piece), immediately captures the attention of the viewer with its playful charm.
“I have a kind of dark sense of humour,” says Reid, whose other work has been exhibited in multiple cities across Canada. “What I like about dark humour is that it allows people in - it lets them spend some time with the work in a less ‘hitting them over the head’ kind of way.”
Reid draws on an eclectic range of inspirational sources in her featured work, including Slavic and West African folklore, Ukrainian culture and Canadian geography.
Indeed, Reid’s aforementioned dark sense of humour comes into play uniquely in every one of her exhibition’s pieces, with the juxtaposition of bright, cartoonish settings and various creepy characters recurring throughout.
The pleasant bizarreness of Reid’s work is attractive in that it provokes deeper consideration, despite its lack of an obvious “message.”
Keen observers who decide to read up on such elements as the traditional West African “trickster” figure Anansi, or Baba Yaga, a cannibal witch pulled from Slavic folklore, may gain access to an extra dimension of Reid’s work - but the uninformed viewer is perhaps equally as likely to take something away from the experience.
Reid’s humble approach to her art is probably to blame.
“Having an exhibition is a little bit of a conceit, because you’re assuming that other people are interested in what you have to say,” she says, reflecting upon certain less-successful ventures in her creative past which she labels as potentially too melodramatic. “It’s personal on a certain level, so to reach a broader audience, I think that humour is important. If I’m trying to open discussion, I think that it’s a good way to get things started.”
If you’d like to get your own discussion started, don’t miss I like to believe I am telling the truth.
Reid’s peculiar imagination and oddball comedic instinct are sure to delight viewers who enjoy art that’s beyond the ordinary - and also those interested in dancing houses and off-putting, syringe-harbouring bunny rabbits.
See “I like to believe I am telling the truth” for free at Gallery 1C03 until Saturday, April 14. The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visit http://gallery1c03.blogspot.com.
Published in Volume 66, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 22, 2012)