Tag Archives: Jamie Callum Ross

FINDING ONES PLACE : The retelling of myth in the work of Jamie Callum Ross

By Stephanie Fielding

Sight, Jamie Callum Ross 2010, Still image

Stephanie Fielding

Our thirst for the exotic and fantastic remains unquenched, humanity has created an amazing array of unseen or rarely seen creatures, forces and entities to populate the world and describe animate its mysteries. Taping into this thirst, weaving tales of myth and punk-rock absurdity, artist and writer Jamie Callum Ross presents a stream of videos that enter into our unconscious and conscious desires. Curated by Xenia Benovoski, Cold Cold Water: A Screening of Complete Works by Jamie Ross, gives us a view of the artist’s video work from the last five years.

Ross has a particular interest in the personal and psychological geography of land and place. The ways in which people establish connections and meaningful relationships with location, their link to landscape and topography, and to specific spirits who inhabit such landscape drive his art practice. There is a clear sense in his work of someone claiming their identity through their history and personal mythology.  Ross asks who has written his history, his identity? In Ross’ videos the supernatural is expressed in the vernacular of the everyday, recognizable locations and members of his social network link the work to actual people and events. His sequences, edited together rapidly and layered with streams of dialogue and imagery present striking but obscured narratives. Vivid, visually textured dreamscapes, shot primarily in super-8, are layered with sharp DV sequences, lending the videos an elusive poetry, especially to their most debaucherous scenes.

Ross’ films place great stress on sexuality, each film is punctuated with at least one cum-shot. The more perverse the sexuality, the more it strays from the norms of society, the more potent it is liable to be, and more disruptive of though patterns inhibiting the non-conformist. Sex and violence are used as forms of access to the spirits of chaos. As sex can, humour has the power to unlock the unconscious and release spiritual forces through its sudden associations of what the rational mind keeps separate; through its wild, anarchic amateurism and tongue-and-cheek, a certain sacredness is induced.

This body of work echoes the punky-transgressions of historically underground Queer filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger and Gregory Markopolous; each sharing a rebellious appropriation of ritualistic and humour-filled symbolism. Much like many of Anger’s films, Ross’ works are heavily influenced by esoteric systems of belief and the sacramental, although here there is a strong sense of a unified and affirmative self that isn’t necessarily present in his predecessors’ work. These rituals invoke vital forces that are sometimes symbolized and sometimes embodied in gods and goddesses; in this case, the figures are drawn from the artist’s Ojibwa and Scottish heritage as well as Nigerian and Greek folklore. As film historian Richard Dyer remarks, ‘Queer cinema often co-ops narratives involving supernatural forces of chaos and disruption, joyously celebrated but also actively employed to cause change in conformity.’ In The Bakkhai, 2008, Ross adapts the gruesome Euripides tragedy describing the vengeful return of the God Dionysus to the kingdom of Thebes. Like all of his work, the actors in the film are friends and the setting is specific and recognizable- in this case the Leslie Spit in Toronto’s east end. The video, part gruesome bloodbath, part hedonistic love-fest, retells the mythic story but also gives a mischievous real portrait of Toronto punk-subculture.

More recent work explores Jamie Ross’ personal genealogy, tracing his own connections to the myth and paths of his ancestors. Biboon Geamhradh, 2010, presents an earnest search for ones place in the lineage of oral storytelling. Cras Valde Facessite, 2009, created in collaboration with Derek Muehlgassner, combines myths of both filmmakers’ cultures, creating a hybrid tales of two fathers. By deconstructing the two myths, Muehlgassner and Ross re-claim their heritage and place their own visions within its rich history. Ross’ work is a cry for us to engage with our storytelling pasts and develop our own personalized sense of our heritages.

Cold cold water: a screening of complete works by Jamie Ross is tonight, at The Whitehouse. 277.5 Augusta Avenue, at 8 pm.

Cold cold water: a screening of complete works by Jamie Ross


Curated by Xenia Benivolski.
THE WHITE HOUSE
277.5 AUGUSTA AVENUE
JUNE 17TH 8 PM – 10 PM

“When everything else has gone from my brain – the President’s name, the state capitals, the neighborhoods where I lived, and then my own name and what it was on earth I sought, and then at length the faces of my friends, and finally the faces of my family – when all this has dissolved, what will be left, I believe, is topology: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that.”
-Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

Jamie Ross is a multi-disciplinary artist interested in personal psycho-geography, Land and Place. The ways in which people establish connections and meaningful relationships with their powerful places – their linkages to the landscape and topography and to the specific non-human persons who inhabit these landscapes drive his art practice.

Ross’ work deals with mythology, genealogy, storytelling and dreams; the numinous as is approached by a young, urban queer man largely isolated from the powerful magical cultures from which he sprung.
Creating and documenting queer community based on a sincere engagement with magic, grafting myself onto the rich artistic traditions of my cultural ancestors is fundamental. Overt references to things queer and punk are often present.

This show is Part 2 of THE LEGEND IS BLACK: a three-part curatorial project by Xenia Benivolski concurrent with THIS IS PARADISE/PARADISE NOW.
http://www.mocca.ca/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/
http://paradisenow.ca/

PART 1: THE LEGEND IS BLACK
PART 3: 10 DEGREES MOUTH

Jamie Ross was born in a little house on Pendrith Street, just north of Toronto’s Christie Pits Park. He is a red haired film/video artist, working primarily in time-based media, working at the farthest-flung edges of narrative film and video. His work has screened in nationally and in Europe and Asia. His fiction has been anthologized, self-published in the form of a zine, and his most recent work, a novella entitled Coldwater, was published this year. Ross now lives in Montreal.

With generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts and CARFAC.
Paradise Now is a series of art, music, and theatre from the downtown Toronto art community. Paradise Now, although a separate entity, is intended to complement the historical exhibition at the MOCCA – This is Paradise, which runs from June 25 – Aug 21, by bringing emerging and established artists together, to connect the dots from our rich history from the early ‘80s on Queen Street West to today.

Paradise Now acknowledges the generosity of the artists, performers and musicians who have donated their time and creative energies to create programming that reflects the ecology of the street.
Paradise Now acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Toronto and OCAD University.

For Information about Paradise Now please contact Rae Johnson, Artistic Director of Paradise Now at : info@paradisenow.ca

For information about the exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, This is Paradise | Place as a state of mind The Cameron Public House and 1980’s Toronto. And NGC@MOCCAThis is Paradise | From the National Gallery of Canada Collection, please go to http://www.mocca.ca/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions.

HEREandTHEREandHERE

Past White House member David F. M. Hanes, with his new web-based project called YO GUY, are hosting a video and performance art event on Toronto Island’s artist residency tonight!

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DETAILS
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Times:
530PM – First shuttle bus, picking people up from WARD’S FERRY DOCK
7:00PM – Second shuttle bus, picking people up from WARD’S FERRY DOCK
715PM – Beginning of programming
7:20PM – Emma Cale Roberts featuring Lucy McKenna
7:30PM – Video programming
8:45PM – Intermission
9:15PM – Leah Finkel and Pat Jeffries (Musical Act)
9:30PM – Lisa Cristinzo
10:00PM – Yuula Benivolski
10:15PM – End of Programming
10:30PM – First shuttle bus back to ferry docks departs
11:00PM – Final shuttle bus back to ferry docks departs

So, I just want to be clear that there are two scheduled shuttle buses picking people up from WARDS FERRY DOCKS. The first is 5:30PM and the second is 7PM. You may want to come early because the sun will be setting and it is very pretty here. If you arrive early you can view some of the work that is installed in our secondary viewing room. PLUS, Kat Burns is showcasing her “Hour of my Time” project in an open-studio setting.

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VIDEO ROSTER
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Anna-May Henry, Neelam Kler, Geoffrey Pugen, Jon Clark, Paul B. Davis, Micheal Farley, Abbe Findley, Iris Fraser-Gundrunas, Jules Marquis, Hazel-Hill McCarthy III, Laura McCoy, Robby Rackleff, Emma Cale Roberts, Jamie Callum Ross, Dan Siney and Colin Snapp.

PWYC-PWYC-PWYC-PWYC-PWYC

(show opens at 6PM)

Artscape Gibraltar Point
Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island
443 Lakeshore Avenue
Toronto, ON, M5J 2E9

Click here for map.

Facebook Event here.