• Chasmophilous
    Brennan Kelly & The Party

    Exhibition date:
    January 16, 2016, 7-10pm

    Opening reception,
    and book launch:
    January 16, 7-10pm

  • HAUNT presents Chasmophilous, featuring mixed media and collage works by Brennan Kelly, a performance by The Party, and the launch of The Party Manual, a new book by The Party designed by Brennan Kelly and published by HAUNT. The event begins 12 months of HAUNT programming taking place in a home basement space on Glen Drive in Vancouver, Canada.

    In 2014, Kyla Gardiner and Layla Marcelle Mrozowski fell in love artistically and started making work together as The Party. Their practice includes co-authored writing, Imaginary Theater-making, sensory fabulism, and party planning.

    Brennan Kelly implements collage strategies to explore connections in varied materials culled from the expansive stream of commodity detritus. Through process-based alterations he seeks to obscure and dissociate the intended functionality of these amalgamated materials, resulting in transformative works set with an intentional ambiguity. He received his Bachelor of Design from the Alberta College of Art and Design, and recently completed a post-baccalaureate program at SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.


    “The Party” by Justin Ramsey

    At the symposia of ancient Greece, the classical philosophers espoused that nothing could loosen the tongue quite like alcohol: as wine flowed copiously, so did ideas. Then, we might call The Party a symposium par excellence, both in the modern and antiquated senses.

    Think back for a moment to Paris, circa the 1920s, to a bohemian heyday wherein Ernest Hemmingway might have bumped into Gertrude Stein at the bar, and Man Ray debated dreams and the unconscious with his fellow surrealists over supper. A convergence of the Modernist culturati in one place, at one time: Joyce, Eliot, Picasso, Gaugin, and the Fitzgeralds, to name but a few.

    Now, fast-forward to the present day – or perhaps, more chronologically, to the latter end of the twentieth century, since Gilles Deleuze is now dead – and imagine the postmodernists throwing themselves a house party. And instead of martinis in the salon, it’s beer out of Dixie cups in the backyard, shots in the kitchen.

    Such is the stereoscopic imagining of artists Layla Marcelle Mrozowski and Kyla Gardiner. In layman’s terms, we might define stereoscopy as something like: red + blue = something amazing. Here, it’s a plethora of perspectives that merge into a totally new, beautiful, postmodern, posthuman, post-post-anything monster. What’s red and what’s blue? Do Layla and Kyla each embody a lens of the 3-D glasses, or maybe Donna Harraway brings the red and Jane Bennett beings the blue? Perhaps it’s what emerges when the teleology of science fiction meets the randomness of magic realism. Maybe it’s the confluence of inert matter and vibrant energy, or that great big gap between ‘male’ and ‘female’ where everybody exists, but that few acknowledge. In truth, there’s no way of knowing where the binaries are: it’s seamless synthesis, a perfect integration.


    “Brennan Kelly: One Garden” by Lucien Durey

    Most materials used by artists are not entirely reworkable. A ceramicist can slake down clay for reuse, provided it hasn’t been fired, but it’s rare for an artwork to oscillate between ‘start’ and ‘finish’. Exceptions might be something that melts–like an ice statue–or an impermanent arrangement of things. A One Minute Sculpture by Erwin Wurm, for example, can begin anew once the body puts down the chair, or takes the stapler out of its mouth.

    Paper pulp, a slurry of fibres produced by adding water to shredded newsprint or other scraps, comes close to being reworkable. A collage artist could ostensibly hit ‘restart’ by tossing failed compositions into a blender: ink could coalesce or be washed out, and new paper could be pressed, printed, clipped and glued. Brennan Kelly’s paper works in Chasmophilous hint at this type of renewal and decay. Garden imagery from dated magazines is pieced together in abrupt cuts and displayed alongside mixed media works–graphite and collage on curious pulp substrates. What histories rest with the cellulose beneath these pocked surfaces?

    Beyond merely appealing to ‘waste not, want not’ principles, there are rewards to pulping a collage. Perhaps there’s payoff in the process, as with shredding love letters after a breakup: the ritual holds psychological comfort; it bids adieu to the old in order to make space for the new. Re-incorporating and reworking is also a means of leaving absolutely no trace of potential failure. If tossing the failed artwork in the trash is akin to burying a body, reworking is like swallowing one.

    Why squander nutrients when good compost is great for the garden? Decomposed organic matter makes for essential soil amendment, which in turn helps to grow lush tomatoes and vibrant roses. Like the pungent bouquet of humus, the paper pulp textures in Kelly’s compositions suggest rich lineage. Decipherable as ‘before’ and ‘after’ states of the same material research, his works in Chasmophilous can begin and end, and begin again.

  • Viewable at:
    HAUNT basement
    (entrance in yard)

    January 16, 7-10pm
    and by appointment