BRAIDS: Collaborative Installation by Rua Minx and Aja Rose Bond

BRAIDS: Collaborative Installation by Rua Minx and Aja Rose Bond

Installation: March 30 – April 27, 2013

Performance and Reception: Friday, March 29, 2013 8pm

Artist Talk: Saturday, March 30, 2013 7pm

Access Gallery presents Braids, a collaborative installation between emerging Vancouver artist Aja Rose Bond and RUA MINX, an experimental sound project founded by American artist Donna Huanca in 2002. The two artists spent a month together as co-artists-in-residence at Access Gallery, developing an installation and a collaborative sound piece. Linked together through their use of appropriated textiles, garments, objects and sound, their works are informed by the past lives and cultural markers of the mass produced. Labels, logos, beats, and patterns of the ‘found’ enact complex layers of ideology onto inanimate objects. Through processes of manipulating the ‘found’ via cutting, tearing, braiding, amplifying, draping, hanging, etc., both artists evoke our human investment in things as a means of building identity.

Bond and Huanca approach human relation to objects in different ways. Huanca, an artist who lives nomadically, has utilized found fabric and clothing as a core material in her practice. Tied partially to the limitations of constant travel, she is interested in the first and second-hand globalized market flow of the fashion industry. Whether rummaging through a pile of clothes at a thrift store in Vancouver or at a flea market filled with designer labels in Mexico City, Huanca finds a ubiquitous range of styles, cuts, colours, and logos. The globalized market essentializes identity to a set of brand choices. Using this detritus of consumer goods and clothing, Huanca’s installation utilizes the superficial signs and symbols evoked by the mass-produced to construct ritualistic and visceral installations charged by the glossy sexual energy of teen pop idols. For the opening, placed within her installations, a model enacts simple and mundane gestures. This new work produces a mood of both anticipation and melancholy, an adolescent naivety mixed with the next morning’s hangover.

Inspired by the work of Pamela Colman Smith, Radical Faeries, Maria Gimbutas, SCUB Manifesto, and Mary K. Greer, among countless others, Bond develops her practice in relation to the intimate, politically motivated, and active communities with whom she is aligned. Launching from her queer/witchy/feminist perspective, Bond’s works represent personal identities through the frame of dress and costume. Creating both wearable works and stand alone sculptures, Bond’s work brings new energy to reclaimed fur, and worn-in fabric creating bodily forms through the simple act of transforming the mass-produced into the handmade. Attempting to channel a European indigeneity, her works link to ritual. Primal and elemental, yet campy and playful, her artistic practice presents a fantastical and surreal notion of the physical body.

The two artists brought together for this installation have developed a conversation through performance, installation, and a dueling sound work. The room vibrates with the remnants of discarded signs, symbols, and sounds of consumer culture, manipulated and tweaked to both celebrate and interrogate our reliance on objects to generate identity.

Aja Rose Bond, cofounder of the Strathcona Art Gallery (STAG), has built a name for herself in Vancouver’s arts, noise, and activist communities. She has held residencies at Hammock and Artbank, as well as exhibitions at STAG and Goonies. Her other projects and collaborations include; HYPERCRAFT Studio, The STAG (Strathcona Art Gallery) Library, Craft Pride Procession, Her Jazz Noise Collective, UNARC (Underground Network of Artist-Run Culture), WOEVAN (Witches of East Van), Seamrippers Craft Collective, Diadem (with partner Gabriel Saloman), In Flux (with members of Shearing Pinx), DJ Tapes and the Women’s Studies performance series co-produced with VIVO Media Arts Center. Bond is an intermedia artist with background in music, craft and fashion respectively, drawing from the deep influence of D.I.Y. punk, feminisms and magick. Her intimate relationship with certain mystical traditions has informed her process, which often includes the use of divination, symbols and geometry to align and reveal the more hidden elemental and energetic aspects of the work.

Born in Chicago, Donna Huanca received a BFA from the University of Houston (2004) and studied at Städelschule, Frankfurt, Germany (2009-10). The recent recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, Huanca lived and worked in Mexico City in 2012. Huanca has developed a nomadic practice producing site-specific projects and exhibitions throughout the United States, Austria, Norway, Peru, Germany, and Korea. Although embodied in a wide variety of media, her work expresses a thorough engagement with linguistic experimentation. Huanca’s work conveys distinctive and precise observations on the function of the garment as an ever-evolving manner of language production and a traditional form of cultural transmission. The results are performative platforms that are a product of a compulsive attitude towards the search for material beacons and parallel experiences. This project will be Huanca’s first in Canada.

Access Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council and the City of Vancouver.