April Artists (Emilie Crewe, Aaron Higgins)

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SELF HELP- Emilie Crewe (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

SELF HELP features close-up images of an assortment of books being “thumbed through” or flipped through. As the video progresses, the object of the book takes on a sculptural and landscape-like characteristic. As pages flip by, fragments of text are highlighted, offering the viewer a spontaneous poetic narrative. The audience may piece together snippets of words, creating a different viewing experience with each screening.

Emilie Crewe (b. 1987, Quebec City, Canada) is an interdisciplinary artist working in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her work often takes the form of video installation, single-channel video, multi-channel video and sketch-work (drawings, collections & archives). She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Her artwork is exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, artist-run centres, experimental film/video festivals, and as public art.

Select exhibition history includes the AC Institute in New York, NY (solo), the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago, IL, the Khyber Institute of Contemporary Art in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Governor’s Island Art Fair in New York, NY (solo). Screenings include ‘The Labor Party’ at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, the Chicago Underground Film Festival ‘Salonathon’, OK.Video FLESH at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick, UK, and ‘Accompanied by Image’ at High Concept Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois.

In 2013/14, Emilie was one of ten Canadian artists to receive a City of Vancouver Public Art Commission as part the Reconciliation Platforms series, which was awarded the Americans for the Arts Public Network Award.

Her 2016 public art video, (A Sense of Place), was commissioned by the City of Vancouver and exhibited at Terry Fox Plaza (BC Place), CBC Plaza, TELUS Gardens Video Screen, Robson & Granville DualLive! Screens, The Pacific Cinemathque and Vancity Theatre.

Strings and nāga – Aaron Higgins (Tulsa, OK, USA)

Traditions about nāgas are very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. Nāga, is the Sanskrit word for a spirit being that takes the form of a very great snake. In Tibet, the nāga can take the form of a dragon serpent living in lakes or underground streams as a sort of deity that can affect weather patterns and conjure thunderstorms.

In 2010, I traveled to China and Tibet and brought along a book of Buddhist philosophies and teachings that used the nāga, or dragon, as a metaphor for fear. It went on to suggest that we as individuals must meet our fear, we must meet our dragon and find the edges of our self and grow as conscious beings. This was an attractive analogy to me, I saw a truth or value in it that was familiar.

It’s easy correlating this concept to how I experience the creative process. I am aware of the fear that lurks on a blank sheet of paper, a blank canvas, digital or otherwise. The creative process can cause anxiety at times, as do change and life experiences. It takes nerve to leap into what is unknown or unfamiliar, to make that first mark and meet your dragon.

When starting to work with video and moving images, I first was interested in recording somewhat random physical phenomena such as smoke, the surface of water, and dripping paint. In this series, I began experimenting with code and mathematical expressions to introduce additional elements of randomness and unpredictability to the work. I recognize this as a kind of collaboration with the software and view this process along the lines of abstract expressionism and action painting or notions of automatism in terms of automating the “machine” through code.

Born in the U.S. and working in Oklahoma, Aaron M Higgins earned BFA & MFA degrees from The Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Art, Indiana University, in his hometown of Bloomington, IN. Investigating time-based media as an artform through lens-based capture methods, digital compositing techniques, and interactivity, Higgins explores abstracting source material into aesthetic expressions that focus more on experience than representation. His work has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in: Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, New Jersey, New York, Portland (OR), Tulsa, Korea, as well as film and media festivals in Sweden, and the Netherlands.

Aaron presently serves as Assistant Professor and Area Head of Digital Media in the School of Art, Design, and Art History, at The University of Tulsa, OK