Youth Arts Festival gallery show at Oxygen Art Centre.
Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival presents in flux, a group show by Kootenay artists Hannah DeBoer-Smith, Maya Kacsmar-Mayoh, Olivia Mansveld, Teyana Neufeld and Tyler Wright. The artists were invited to submit work and speak to the concepts behind the exhibition’s title, and how it pertains to their art practice and indeed their lives, as they move through the highly transitional time between high school, college and whatever comes next.
and in a (constant) state of flux
in constant change; ever-changing.
Textile artist and KSA graduate Teyana Neufeld, describes her new work Encumbrance as an attempt to deal with the struggles implicit in these major transitions.
As I leave my mid-twenties behind, I find myself feeling a state of constantly changing confusion regarding my next step forward: a feeling of hanging in flux, or being pulled off balance in one way or another. I feel weighed down by a complex combination of expectations and baggage and yet am at the same time cognizant of my relative privilege… Encumbrance is my attempt to deal with this struggle. The form of this piece offers me hope – it implies forward motion, and the shedding of that which is burdensome.
The theme was apropos for Nelson artist Hannah DeBoer-Smith, whose installation I Found this on the Ground chronicles her travels throughout British Columbia and beyond. She describes her work as “… a distillation of my of my various wanderings over the last number of years and all the things I found on the ground along the way, sometimes forgetting to look up, but finding so much mystery and beauty on the earth below me.”
According to festival director Miriam Needoba, the concept for the show developed through fleeting conversations with these artists, fragments surrounded by long silences; a stop over in Nelson between travels, between studies, between emails… Meanwhile ideas were percolating and becoming transparent. Nelson born Olivia Mansveld, who is also a graduate of KSA’s fibre art program, is currently taking a year off from a BFA program in Fibres & Material Practices at Concordia University in Montreal. The artwork Mansveld has submitted for this exhibition was created as a direct result of the transitory mode her life has occupied over the last several years. She describes both process and meaning as follows,
I started making these heart sculptures when I was moving and felt like life was in a state of constant transition. I couldn’t make space to spread out and draft patterns or sew with a machine, so I resorted to packing little baggies of thread scraps and doing embroidery on whatever I could find, and over time I had many bags of very specific fabrics and strings. They needed to be moved from Nelson to Montreal and back again many times while I worked on them. The hearts were born out of various nests of change and scraps, little pieces… During transitional periods, the spirit may morph, shrink, grow, evolve and this can be felt and seen in the heart. These sculptures aim to illustrate the heart during transitory and ever-changing states of solitude, newness, familiarity, change, love, and joy.
Emerging Nelson artist Tyler Wright is currently pursuing post secondary education through Selkirk College, expecting to graduate in the Associate of the Arts program later this spring. Wright’s current interests are processed based and he makes the parallel between the theme and his practice.
As a practicing artist, I tend to flit from one medium to another, never settling into one practice which I think comes from an intense desire to learn; once I’m exposed to something new, I become infatuated with it and must explore it. Thus, I’ve moved from acrylic painting in my High School days, to fashion design, felting, digital painting and now sculptural work. If my work does have a re-occurring theme it would be the exploration of obsession.
Maya Kacsmar-Mayoh is the youngest artist in this group of five and is in her final year of high school in Nelson. She describes herself as “…an eighteen year old ghoul dwelling in the reclusive town of Ymir BC.” Kacsmar-Mayoh is on the precipice of one of life’s most major and arguably most exciting transitions, and she refers to the different life cycles of insects as a metaphor for the changes her life is about to go through “… Moving away and getting an art education is like me going from a pupa to an adult insect, or maybe simply from a larva to a pupa… Shedding mountainous protection for skyscrapers.”
The in flux exhibition is open from 1st – March 11th, 2017. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome! We invite School groups interested in viewing the exhibition to get in touch and we can arrange for some of the artists in the show to talk with the students. For more information please visit www.oxygenartcentre.org
Facebook page Youth Arts Festival: https://www.facebook.com/kootenayyouthartsfestival/