Saturday, October 02, 2010

betty spackman | found wanting

Found Wanting exposes the bones of truth
There is never a feast without a sacrifice.

These photos are from Craig Spence's fine review of Betty Spackman's installation "Found Wanting," currently showing at the Penticton Art Gallery (until Nov 7), transferring to The Reach Gallery in Abbotsford in late January. Here's an excerpt from the Spence piece:
"Feasting without sacrificing is the very essence of consumerism, and Spackman makes that point with a powerful narrative, woven into this installation piece... We have replaced sacrifice – the act of honouring earth, spirit and the souls of the creatures we use – with mind numbing slogans and shopping aisle musac.

"Ultimately, though, these sleights of hand, which make us shop faster because we can skip the vital step of honouring, remembering, and perhaps demanding a little less of the animals that give up their lives that we may partake… ultimately these marketer’s ploys involve us in a lie that denies our spiritual connection to the things we eat.

"We are cut out of the life cycle, which ends in death and commences in rebirth.

"It’s not easy facing up to the truth when we have been so immersed in denial. It takes willpower to listen to the complete message offered up through the headsets at the Cantina, a homey kitchen 'filled with found objects from the culinary, the medical, the commercial and the domestic' realms.

"The smattering of jingles, down home recipes, popular music and reminiscences is underlain by a current of words that evoke thought in stark monotone: '…heat, beat, breast, chest, chill, chop, grind, bake, blemish…' The vocabulary of eating, like the scattered bones of the feast, is gathered together for us to witness. But, like heaps of bones, the words are given no structure aside from what we are prepared to lend them with our own thoughts and feelings.

"Meanwhile, the unavoidable pressure to move on urges us to stop listening. Our watches are the ultimate excuse for the dissected world we live in. We are reminded every second of every day that we do not have time to connect the complex dots on the dial. The stations of life as experienced in the 21st Century are witnessed in isolation, the butcher’s reality not connected to the vendor’s, or the consumer’s, or the victim’s."

Several months ago I took photos of Betty's studio, and of the work in progress. Kate Bradford has created a video documenting the installation, and the exhibition catalog features notes by Karen Mulder.