Tag Archives: XENIA BENIVOLSKI

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.

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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.

SLIGHT GESTURES

Whitehouse Curators Xenia benivolski adn Gregory Denton are curating an external exhibition at Double Double Land this fall.

CURATED BY GREGORY DENTON AND XENIA BENIVOLSKI
 
October 14-17 2010
 
Opening Reception: Thursday October 14, 7 PM- 11 PM
 
Double Double Land
209 Augusta (In the Alley)
Toronto
In Slight Gestures, Xenia Benivolski and Gregory Denton bring together eleven artists whose processes begin with slight gestures, regulated actions and careful choices to create new objects that are strangely compelling. The pieces exude a sentimentality that inspires reverence and curiosity in the viewer. Why do we keep some things while we throw others away? How do you decide which piece should be seen, what is worthy of an au…dience? what is the minimal requirement for a gesture?

By using found and ready made objects, prints and collage, artists are building things that they feel warrant our attention and sentiment. Nikki Woolsey has created a family of objects that create new relationships by communicating in space, through gravity and placement. James Gardner rescued pieces of compositions from his studio floor otherwise headed for the garbage bin, Victoria Cheong presents a projection screen specific for video that has detached itself from its original function and Mark MacKinnon aesthetically alters his TTC Uniform in a minimal, performative gesture.

This exhibition features work by:

Nadia Belerique
Victoria Cheong
Lyndsey Cope
Janis Demkiw
James Gardner
Christy Kunitzky
Cameron Lee
Mark G. MacKinnon
Jennifer Rose Sciarrino
Nikki Woolsey

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, October 14 at 7:00pm.

The exhibition continues on Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16 from 11:00am – 6:00pm.

A commemorative publication will accompany the exhibition.

The Homey Show

Studio members Vanessa Rieger and Xenia Benivolski have work in The Homey Show just down the street at Double Double Land!
On until July 29, 2010.
Double Double Land,
209 Augusta, Toronto.

The work assembled for exhibition recreates the domestic environment in its various forms, from functional home furnishings such as lamps made by Michael Comeau and Hugh Alexander Scott-Douglas, to reupholstered chairs by Jacob Horwood and ceramic dinnerware by Amy Bowles. The decorative, such as a handmade rug by Anthony Record and crocheted wall hangings by Eden Veaudry, are also included, as well as work that examines what makes a space a home, including family portraits by Adrienne Kammerer, and a blessing ritual performed in proxy, at the opening, by Mary Kidd.

The exhibition also features work by:
Cameron George Lee, Nikki Woolsey, Mark Delong, Sebastian Butt, Tara Downs, Anna May Henry, Georgia Dickie, Sandy Plotnikoff, Matt King, Xan Hawes, Julia Kennedy, Life of a Craphead (Amy Lam + Jon McCurley), Xenia Benivolski, Romy Lightman, Liam Crockard, Vanessa Rieger, Terrarea (Janis Demkiw, Olia Mishchenko, Emily Hogg), Augustina Saygnavong, Abby McGuane, Sojourner-Truth Parsons and Zeesy Powers.

All work is for sale.

The Homey show is curated by Sarah Butterill, Arielle Gavin, Jesjit Gill and Laura Mccoy.

(((((((GHOST HOLE)))))))

poster by Jesjit Gill

Curated by Vanessa Rieger.

Ghost Holes are an unexplainable phenomena that
occur in areas of high paranormal activity. They
can be found in attics, alley ways, under bridges
or under beds. When the veil between worlds is
thinnest, these otherwise dark and lonely places
become activated and transformed. Mysterious
ghosts and supernatural entities have been recorded
opening doorways that can lead into other worlds,
other times and other dimensions.

Ghost Hole at the White House is a temporary portal
open to all souls to investigate

377 Lansdowne, Toronto, ON
8 pm – 2 am.

Featuring:

SLIM TWIG
BROKEN TREE FORT

NEW Free Drawings #6 will be unleashed!
NEW Halo Halo tape will be released from its mortal coil!

Contributing Artists:

Nicole Torok
Ariel Adele Glenesk
Jonny Wheeldon
Brette Gabel
Laura Curley
Katie Bowes
dAeve Fellows
Brandon Dalmer
Jesjit Gill
Yuula Benivolski
Xenia Benivolski
Vanessa Rieger
Adam Cowan
David Hanes
Julia Dickens
Robert Dayton
Eric Jackson
Laura McCoy
Tarp Ghost
MIDDLESCHOOL

Bands start at 10pm.

>BRING YOUR FLASHLIGHT<

This, our fourth quarterly Exhibition will culminate a year in the current White House location.
We will be moving in December – please visit with this amazing house before we leave.

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THE WHITE HOUSE IS FEATURED ON THIS MAGAZINE

In relation to our submission to the Aviva Community Fund. Please vote for us – only a couple of days left!

NEWS and CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Several of The White House residents and friends are participating in the following performance event scheduled to go all day from noon to 11 pm, Saturday September 26th.

Poster By Alicia Nauta!

“The other in the everyday” as a concept posses a variety meanings. Each artist has taken a personal approach to this concept; Vanessa Rieger and Kevin Hainey approach the theme of theft and collection by providing a glimpse into a process that builds up in front of the viewer but begins at a Laundromat down the road, Rebecca Fin Simonetti poetically touches on the subject of insanity and addiction by building a “pill tent” that contains an “other self” ready to be let out at any moment, while Zoe Alexis-Abrams’ performance builds up a precarious structure that is erected only to be destroyed moments after its completion.

The notion of the ‘other’ can be seen as a difference and a presence, retaining a discourse of collective action, voyeurism, consciousness, cause and effect and even things like fate, luck, and fortune; interference or the requesting of interference with another entity or being. Peripheral Redundance: The Other In The Everyday will feature over 22 local artists at the DeLeon White Gallery, bringing visibility to an ever-changing subject in an ever-growing world.

The show is open to Toronto and vicinity residents on September 26th, 2009 beginning at 12pm (noon) and ending at 11PM.
The event will unfold idiosyncratically in the course of these 11 hours: The first 7 hours will contain more durational and object based works, while the following 4 hours will present more action and body based works.

Zoe Alexis-Abrams,
Amelia Ehrhardt,
Laura Paolini,
Jamie Ross,
Derek Muehlgassner,
Anna-May Henry,
Johnny Wheeldon,
Melissa Fisher,
Randall Gagne,
Vanessa Rieger and Kevin Hainey,
Xenia Benivolski,
Adam Cowan,
DaHye Kim and Lanie Chalmers,
Faye Mullen,
Rebecca Fin Simonetti,
Neelam Kler,
Jubal Brown,
Audrey Pagulayan and Robin Cook and Jennifer Weddell
SR Palm,
Laura McCoy,
Minae Om

Curated by David F.M. Hanes and Xenia Benivolski

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Call For submissions

for our Halloween Haunted House Event

GHOST HOLE
Is an opening, a gate, a vortex, a temporary entrance we invite those to investigate this Halloween at the White House.

Ghost Holes are unexplainable phenomena that occur in accordance to lunar cycles during the month of October.
Various Ghost Holes open up around the city’s forgotten places and ghosts transform the space for one night only.
The locations of these Ghost Holes are mysterious and unknown until enough energy is manifested and they can be located.
There will be a 3 events before the final Ghost Hole on October 31st.

These transformations vary… from glimpses into the past, the future and sometimes into alternate dimensions.

To stay updated with Ghost Hole occurrences visit:
http://www.whitehouse.ca/ghosthole.html

Ghost Hole is manifesting on October 31st,
at 377 Lansdowne from dark fall (8pm) to the witching hour (3am).
There will be suspected strange occurrences, eerie noises and weird markings.
Bring your flashlight and dress to impress the dead.

////CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Please submit a brief summary of your ideas for the show to
theotherwhitehouse@gmail.com.

Artworks, installations and performances accepted until Oct. 7th.

QUESTIONS? Attend the meeting at the white house this
Wednesday 23rd, 7pm sharp!

THEBLIND

August 29, 2009. 7 pm

A quarterly Exhibition by Current Residents and Guest performers at the White House:

Victoria Cowan
Vanessa Rieger
Christy Kunitzky
Jonny Wheeldon
Andrew Zuckerman
Brandon A. Dalmer
Emily Cook
Donna Irvine
Megan Speers
Cameron Lee
Sara Titanic
Drew Belsky
Tomas Del Balso
Julia Dickens
Dan Rocca
Xenia Benivolski
Gwyneth Fischer
Aaron Li-Hill
Adam Bradley
Adam Cowan
Margaret Jean Broughton
Abena Asomaning

PERFORMERS:

Tim Comrie

Carl W. Heindl

The CN tower liquidation

Matt Davey

Elizabeth Infante

Yuula Benivolski

THE WHITE HOUSE

377 lansdowne Avenue, Toronto, ON.