The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Graduate students Inhabit the gallery

By in Culture
Inhabit offers the public a chance to see artists at work.

“The concept of the show is that there is no show,” said Eileen Murray, one of the graduate students practicing painting and photography at the University of Saskatchewan. With words such as “occupy” buzzing more than an old refrigerator, the exhibition’s title, Inhabit, brings a refreshing spin to the MFA group show.

In Inhabit the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery’s space is transformed into the site of construction, a myriad of mental and creative processes unfolding. From the static to the dynamic, from the gallery as graveyard to the gallery as growing, the graduate students will be treating the big white space as a come-and-go workplace where viewers can visit multiple times, see the site evolve and have the opportunity to interact with artists at work.

In viewing works in process, one gets a bit of an insight into the many ways creativity is expressed.

“Work makes work. I’ve just got to do it and get it all out,” Donna Bilyk said with an energy that was matched only by the visual effect of her chipboard paintings.

A show about nothing? I could get behind that.
Bilyk’s work uses a simplified aesthetic to speak about people, and more specifically, their stories. It’s an aesthetic that in a way mimics the way we receive others’ narratives, never able to actually relive them, only to attempt to fit the bits and pieces into the fabrics of our own lives.

Meanwhile, David Dyck takes the concept to a literal level, constructing an exercise in exploration and visualizing the gallery from both outside and inside that brings the concept of “inhabit” to the level of experience. The tools of the construction trade whirr and buzz as Dyck moves the place of the viewer within, inside a movable gallery wall. The intention behind all this displacement is to build a periscope capable of seeing above the ceiling of the gallery, into the spaces we rarely think on, into the in-betweens.

“Everyone has a story,” Bilyk said.

[box type=”info”]Inhabit is at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery until Feb. 3.[/box]

Photos: Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf &
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