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I am very fortunate to be working with an amazing group of visual and sound artists for the exhibit The Sisterhood of Longing and The Memory Rooms. The concurrent themed group exhibit that I am curating at Jackson Power Gallery  titled The Memory Rooms includes the considerable talents of three young Edmonton artists: Patrick Arès-Pilon, Caitlin Sian Richards, and Mallory Gemmel.

Jackson Power Gallery is divided into six rooms, and Paddy Lamb, who runs the gallery with his wife Laura Jackson and their family at Jackson Power & Electric, suggested that I might want to bring some more artists on board for some of the other rooms. By the way, Paddy Lamb is a brilliant Edmonton artist who recently exhibits a powerful body of work at the Front Gallery in Edmonton. Check him out.

Because my exhibit, The Sisterhood of Longing, is memory based, I titled the concurrent exhibit The Memory Rooms, and I asked each of the artists to interpret their rooms on the theme of memory. I was delighted when each of the three artists told me independently that they had interpreted their room on the sub-theme of family.


Untitled by Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards Memory Room: Family Folklore -“brass knuckles”

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.

Caitlin Sian Richards is an Edmonton-based artist with a BFA degree in painting from the University of Alberta and is a resident of ArtsHab One. You can see more about Caitlin and her work on her art blog.


Hélène Courteau original photo #2:  Patrick Arès-Pilon

Patrick Arès-Pilon Memory Room: Hélène Courteau née Hudon

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”.   

Patrick is an analogue man, so you won’t find him on the internet too much, but you can take a look at his family archive website, where he has contributed a lot of work. I also found a BeatRoute article about some of his past art projects.


Untitled by Mallory Gemmel

Mallory Gemmel Memory Room

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.

Mallory is a third year photography major at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver BC., but she will be back in her home town of Edmonton for the exhibit.  You can see more about Mallory and her work on her website.

Some remarkable Edmonton sound artists are coming on board for the exhibit as well.

Vocal Improvisation Network of Edmonton (V.I.N.E.) Choir created a soundscape for my exhibit, The Sisterhood of Longing, based on quotes from the archival diaries and letters of prairie women that I provided as inspiration for their recorded improvisation. This beautiful and haunting soundscape will play through the main gallery space. V.I.N.E. Choir will also perform a vocal improvisation at the exhibit’s opening reception, April 25.

V.I.N.E. Choir, facilitated by singer and instrumentalist Karen Porkka, gathers singers and creates spontaneous music works based on Circlesong singing. They work with structures and musical concepts and improvise vocally

You can learn more about Karen and the Choir, and hear some of their work on Karen’s website.

Caitlin Richards suggested that local musician and composer Dave Wall would be a good fit for our exhibit. Absolutely agreed. He is currently working on a doctorate in composition, and he will be presenting his doctorate performance Lattice at the exhibit’s closing reception, May 3.

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.

You can find out more about Dave and hear his music on his website.

As you can see, the exhibit will be well worth several visits!

The Sisterhood of Longing and The Memory Rooms at Jackson Power Gallery 2nd fl. 9744 – 60 Ave Edmonton. April 25 to May 4, 2014.


Posted by Marlena Wyman