Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Regeneration: A Meditation on the Creative Waters and the Chaos of Earth

An artist statement by Joan Scaglione

Long ago our ancestors practiced sacred rituals to understand humanity’s relationship with Nature. They recognized a spiritual power intertwining the Earth and the cosmos, the plant and animal kingdoms, and human beings. In today’s global culture, human activity is largely driven by technology, economics, and war. We find ourselves bereft of primal myths that previously wove sacred meaning into everyday existence. The planet we inhabit is in critical condition. Both humans and the Earth seem to be in a dark night. We are scrambling for solutions to curb our endless appetite for war and terror. “First inner disarmament, then outer disarmament,” says the Dalai Lama while pointing to his heart. Inner disarmament necessitates divesting the soul of jealousy, hatred and violence toward others. If we are to survive and evolve to a more enlightened state of being in our interconnected world, there is no choice but to disarm the ego and be transformed by the power of our creative imagination.

My work, Regeneration, constructs interplay between piles of brick rubble and earth, an iron bed, images of water and breath, and swimming figures and trees. Regeneration wrestles with chaos in the Earth while offering an experience of silent regeneration through immersion in the creative waters of our imagination. It seeks to revision humanity’s broken connection with Nature. The elements of the work – the bed with the video, Breathing, the underwater video, Water, and the figures in the trees, are like journeys that overlap and intertwine moving the viewer into different metaphorical spaces. Nature has become an important element in helping me locate, metaphorically, our relationship to the Earth and to the wilderness of our interior experience.

Dense piles of bricks and concrete fragments embedded in mounds of earth, charred wood remnants, and artefacts laden with histories sprawl like a landscape between the rusted head and footboard of an old bed. Bricks have traditionally been a metaphor for culture, for our homes constructed of baked earth, which once linked us to the land where clay deposits were dug. These bricks are no longer whole or ordered, but broken remnants alluding to once stable structures of family, and to a more attuned relationship with the Earth. This particular bed is a “dissipative structure,” a term geologists have used to describe the constant configuration from chaos to order into chaos. The bed offers another level of meaning, as well. It is a meditation on the interiority of the psyche where dreams transport us through the chaos of our psyches into symbolic territories of the dark and light; where regeneration occurs through sleep. In creating this bed of earth and brick and cast-off objects, my intention is to draw us deeper into the Earth through the apparent chaos into the subconscious – the interior wilderness where our primal instincts are stirred.

Embedded in the earth and bricks (approximately where the heart of a sleeping person might be), there is a small monitor featuring the video image of a breathing mouth. The image begins with a close-up. The stark black interior of the mouth opening is accompanied by an audible cadence. As the breathing continues, constellations and nebulae appear intermittently in the cavern of the mouth during inhalation and exhalation. I wanted this work to visually create an intersection between the act of breathing and the cosmos. The very breath we draw and expel is more expanded than we normally conceive.

Many spiritual teachings focus on the importance of breathing consciously because breath, like the pulsing of the heartbeat, reflects the primordial rhythms of life. Consider the movement of the tides, the lunar, solar and planetary cycles, or the seasonal changes. By filming up close and slowing down the action, I have invited the viewer to become more intimate with, and conscious of breath, as a cosmic pulsation. Water and Breathing allude to the four primal elements as life-sustaining. Both videos affirm that what the ancients intuited as a matter of sacred interconnectedness is what scientists have developed as a quantum worldview. Elizabeth Boyle reflects that “when scientists replaced the classical universe of solid objects with an invisible network of energy particles, fields, waves, flows… every speck of physical matter [became], in fact, a minute, even subatomic event within a vast web of activity.” [1] Water reveals some of these intriguing sub-atomic events as the figure swims but in the altered time of slow-motion simple actions become more intriguing. An intimate human scale is established between the swimming figure and viewer. Breathing implies a cosmic scale in a human context. The viewer is up close to the breathing mouth. As the mouth holds the universe within, the idea that we as human beings embody the far-flung cosmos is to be considered.

The video, Water, presents an image of a single naked figure moving underwater in which the projection is slowed down to almost complete stillness. Water is a metaphor for complete immersion in the primordial waters of ritual purification, the materia prima of life. Referencing the Genesis creation story, Water symbolically expresses the regenerative powers of the creative imagine essential to revitalizing humanity’s soul. The narrative is simple: the figure enters the water, swims into the depths, explores the subterranean cavernous spaces, breaks the surface, and descends again into the depth. The Zen-like movements of the figure have the power to mesmerize the viewer onto stillness. Dramatically slowing down the image allows one to perceive the visual information that is present yet not available at our “normal speed” of perception. At times, the figure seems suspended in outer space and encircled by planetary nebulae rather than being immersed in water. Expelled breath and graceful gesture become energy made visible.

The final component of Regeneration takes images of the figure from the underwater video and place them amidst the trees of a small pine forest -- Alumni Green [located between Duckworth Hall and MacNamara Hall]. These are material images cut from wood and painted. The atmosphere they float in now is very physical and of this world. Regeneration moves between the material and the metaphysical regions of our psyches. Boundaries between the visible and invisible worlds are permeable. Our ravaged Earth and fragmented lives will be ultimately sustained by the maternal life-giving waters of our spiritual imaginations.

-- Joan Scaglione, September 2008.

The artist would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the University of Winnipeg in bringing this exhibition to Gallery 1C03.

[1] Elizabeth Michael Boyle, Science As Sacred Metaphor: An Evolving Revelation (Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2006).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A quick reminder...

Hello everyone!

Just a quick reminder that Joan Scagilone's two part exhibition, Regeneration, opens this Thursday from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

The installation is in progress, and it's going very well! Things have been a bit too hectic to post photos documenting the transformation of the gallery, but we'll see about at least taking some tomorrow ;-)

This post is also a reminder that Joan's talk will take place on Friday, September 26th. She will begin at 12:30 in room 3C29 (3rd Floor Centennial Hall) and she'll follow up with an exhibition walk-through.

We look forward to seeing you!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gallery 1C03 is looking for a few great art lovers! ... Are you one of them?

Gallery 1C03 at the University of Winnipeg is excited about what it does, and wants to spread the campus gallery joy ;-)
  • Are you a student at the University of Winnipeg or U of W’s Collegiate?
  • Are you interested in visual and media art?
  • Are you interested in gaining valuable experience that will shine bright on a resume?
  • Or, maybe you’re serious about pursuing a career in the arts and know that demonstrated experience in the field will give you a much needed advantage...
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then continue reading below to find out more about a full spectrum of interesting opportunities available for the taking!

To volunteer with Gallery 1C03, contact Art Curator, Milena Placentile, by calling 204.786.9253 or by sending an email to m[dot]placentile[at]uwinnipeg[dot]ca.

Be sure to share some info about yourself including what you love about art, and what sorts of activities you’d like to help with. And, while you’re at it, feel free to mention any specific skills you may have. Erm, other than standing on your head while reciting the alphabet backwards… although one never knows when that might come in handy at an opening ;-) Ha ha!

We’re looking for people interested in joining one or more of the following teams:

* The Gallery 1C03 Street Team offers awesome experience for people interested in marketing and PR. Plus, it’s a great excuse to spend even more time on Facebook. As if you needed a reason ;-) This team will distribute posters and fliers around the campus and elsewhere in Winnipeg, as well as come up with ways to get people excited about the Gallery’s exhibitions and programs.

* The Gallery 1C03 Online Commentators provides members with a chance to refine their writing skills and gain experience publishing critical writing online. Blog about our shows, write about related exhibitions, and report on artist talks, panel discussions, educational programming and tours.

* The Gallery 1C03 Paparazzi will have a chance to hone their skills documenting exhibition openings, artist talks and other events. In some cases, the paparazzi will be able to complement their skills capturing live energy to by producing skillful installation photos for archival purposes. Photos will be posted to and our Facebook account for all to adore!

* The Gallery 1C03 Elbow Grease and Muscle Team is perfect for people who’d like to surround themselves with art and get a little exercise at the same time. Okay, so stuffing envelopes isn’t exactly exercise,* but moving stuff around such as bricks and rocks, and sometimes art, can definitely work up a sweat. Keep in mind; this would be a “careful movements while handling the art” kind of sweat ;-)

So now you’re asking…

What was that about bricks and rocks?

Yes indeed, our next exhibition will include unloading a truck of raw material for two sculptural installations. Unloading will take place on September 22 and re-loading will take place on October 23. If you’d like to join the “rock party”, give the Art Curator a shout!

Gallery 1C03 welcomes volunteers to come on board at any time, but why wait? The sooner you get started, the more fun you’ll have and the more experience you’ll gain.

Call now!


*Collegiate students might even be able to count this type of work toward physical education credits…

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Joan Scaglione: Regeneration


Gallery 1C03 at the University of Winnipeg launches
Regeneration by Regina-based Artist, Joan Scaglione

WINNIPEG MB, September 4, 2008 – Gallery 1C03 is proud to present Regeneration by Regina-based artist Joan Scaglione. This multimedia installation, to be accompanied by an outdoor sculptural intervention on the University of Winnipeg’s Alumni Green (Spence Street, between MacNamara Hall and Duckworth Hall), will explore the critical need for humans to dialogue genuinely with Nature.

Scaglione’s imagery often incorporates natural elements to underscore her belief in the interconnectivity of all aspects of creation, as well as her interest in the relationship between inner states of being and material forms.

Describing her practice as both material-based and process-oriented, Scaglione’s indoor installation will feature sculpture and video, the latter of which is a relatively new addition to her artistic repertoire.

The video, Water, will offer a metaphor for complete immersion into the materia prima of life, and it will furthermore express the regenerative powers of the creative imagination. A second video, Breathing, nested in a sculpture comprising of a bed laden with earth, rocks, bricks, and cultural artifacts, will create an intersection between the act of breathing, nature, and the cosmos. The bed is an ideal metaphor for a place of meeting where the dreaming self encounters the waking self, and where our internal and external selves enter into dialogue. Together, the bed and videos will offer a meditation on the inner worlds of the psyche. In addition, they will allude to the life-sustaining character of the four primal elements and seek to connect us with the ancient metaphysics of humanity’s ancestors.

On Alumni Green, Scaglione will install figurative elements extracted from the video, Water. Recontextualized through placement in a wooded grove, these figures will appear to float, not in water, but in the atmosphere amidst the trees.

Scaglione describes Regeneration as a constellation of images connecting our bodies and psyches to the Earth and its alchemy. She embraces Nature as an integral element that allows her to locate human relationships to the Earth metaphorically while, at the same time, she strives to regenerate and expand our perceptions beyond physical boundaries.

Members of the media are invited to arrange interviews with the artist on September 25 and 26.

Regeneration is available for viewing from September 25 – October 22, 2008

Exhibition launch: Thursday, September 25 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. (1st Floor, Centennial Hall)
Artist talk: Friday, September 26 beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Room 3C29 (3rd Floor, Centennial Hall)
Admission is free for all and all are welcome!

Gallery hours: Monday – Friday: 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Saturday: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving.
Please note that the outdoor component of this exhibition is available for viewing at all hours.

The artist extends thanks to the Saskatchewan Arts Board for its generous support. Gallery 1C03 and the artist are also grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of this presentation.

Image: Joan Scaglione, Water (video still), 2008.

Milena Placentile, Art Curator
Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
204.786.9253 | m [dot] placentile [at] uwinnipeg [dot] ca |

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gallery Attendant Positions Available at Gallery 1C03

Calling all full-time students at the University of Winnipeg...

Are you an Art History major? Are you interested in contemporary art? Would you love to gain experience working at an art gallery with flexible hours and a convenient on-campus location?

If you've answered yes to the questions above, then you'll definitely want to apply for the Gallery Attendant positions available with
Gallery 1C03!

Please see details below, and remember, applications are due on Friday, September 12, 2008 and the first shifts will begin on Friday, September 25, 2008.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Date of Posting:
September 2, 2008
Job Vacancy: # A76.08 AESES
Classification: Student Assistant (Gallery Attendant)
Department: Art Curator
Hours of Work: Variable (0-12 hrs per week)
(Effective September 30, 2008: Maximum of 500 hours during period September 30 to April 30)
Range of Pay: $9.24 - $10.32 per hour + 6% vacation pay
Application Deadline: September 12, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. to Human Resources

Late applications will not be considered.


  • Opens/closes the Gallery at the beginning/end of the day by turning on/shutting off all Gallery lights; plugging in/unplugging, turning on/turning off, starting up/shutting down equipment; opening/closing doors; ensuring that Security Services unlock/lock doors and de-arm/re-arm the Gallery’s alarm system
  • Safety/security of Gallery 1C03 exhibits – ensures that artworks exhibited in Gallery 1C03 are not subject to theft or mishandling by the public during hours of operation
  • Public relations – greets visitors to Gallery 1C03 and answers any questions that visitors have about the art exhibits to the best of their ability; refers visitors to University Art Curator in situations where they are unable to provide assistance
  • Attendance record – maintains a count of the number of visitors to Gallery 1C03
  • Alerts the University Art Curator of any problems within the Gallery environment; these can relate to temperature, humidity and lighting issues or concerns for the safety of the artwork or visitors
  • When applicable, takes readings of environmental conditions in Gallery 1C03 using a hand-held environmental monitor or a hygrothermograph
  • When applicable, handles sales of art exhibition catalogues; this includes maintaining a count of funds in cash box and a count of catalogues at the beginning and end of each shift and returns all cash to the Art Curator for processing
  • Performs other related duties as required or assigned

  • Must be a full-time student at a high school or The University of Winnipeg, preferably an art history major or with an interest in the visual arts
  • Some knowledge of contemporary visual art would be an asset
  • On the job training provided
  • Ability to follow oral and written instructions, procedures and regulations
  • May require the ability to maintain records and handle cash on occasion
  • Ability to communicate effectively with visitors who may be students, faculty, staff and the general public
  • Ability to work day, evening and/or weekend shifts
  • Capable of performing duties as assigned
The Collective Agreement between The University of Winnipeg and The Association of Employees Supporting Education Services (AESES), Clause 6.3, Selection for Vacancy, states: The Employer agrees that Employees with seniority shall have preference in connection with appointments so far as it is practicable to do so, provided that their qualifications are relatively equal.