From a car hood with an airbrushed hamburger stabbed by a drink sword, to cartoon women licking what could be an egg from their home economics project, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art celebrates the quirky with its latest exhibit, Pulp Fiction.
“(The artists) have a fascination or interest in bizarre or fictitious crazy kinds of worlds,” curator Corinna Ghaznavi says about the 14 accomplished artists from across Canada participating in the show.
“It was going to be a drawing show, but I kind of wanted to shake it up, because they are making objects and animation and I wanted to bring different things in,” which is how a large fabric elephant, an animated short film and a giant vagina have all found their way into the group show.
Despite the different mediums and aesthetics of the artists, Ghaznavi says their outlook on life and the general feel of the work is similar, which has led to regular collaborations amongst the artists.
“They kind of get together and have a few beers and make some drawings,” which is easy for several of the artists who are currently based in Vancouver. For those spread out across the country, they use old-fashioned snail mail to exchange their work.
“With zines it’s much easier to share and disseminate, so it just spread,” she said about the web of affiliations the artists share.
One of the show’s artists, Seth Scriver, who has a weekly cartoon in a Halifax newspaper, describes this combination of artists simply: “Well, they’re my friends and we’re all Canadian artists.”
Although they’ve been hugely successful working collectively — most notably in Marc Bell’s book, Nog a Dod: Prehistoric Canadian Psychedoolia, which has become an encyclopedia of who’s who in Canadian drawing — they’re all accomplished in their own right having pieces in magazines (Vice, Maclean’s, Walrus) and galleries across North America and Europe (NYC, Berlin, London, Mexico City).
Pulp Fiction aims to draw attention to a self-sufficient, non-traditional style of collective art making, but within the context of the more traditional settings such as galleries and museums.
The juxtaposition of this contemporary — and possibly offensive — work in a traditional space garnered an uncomfortable reaction from some gallery goers when the show opened at the Museum London. But Ghaznavi said she isn’t too concerned about the Toronto audience’s comfort level.
“I think it will be fine at Mocca, people are a lot more open here … There’s a lot of violence, but there’s a lot of humour too.”