Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wiki Show...... Opening Reception Saturday June 22, 1 pm

I am part of an exhibition at the Station Galllery in Whitby, Ontario.  20 artists have been invited to submit works and the viewing public (that's you) will vote on who they would like to see more of - the most voted-for artist will be given a solo exhibition at the gallery in 2014, kind of like American Idol of the art world...

If you are near Whitby, please stop in to see the exhibition, and of course, vote for me!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013


With so many Kitsch figurines piling up in my studio, it only seemed natural to pile them up literally.  Since totems were meant to signify one's clan or identity, I decided to look at the various ingredients that make up my own identity recipe.

Tim Laurin, Bannock Totem, Found Objects, 40 in by 30 in approx, 2013

This totem is a reaction to my love/hate relationship with food.  "Bannock" is a first nation's unleavened bread that is a simply dough of crushed grains and water, rolled onto a twig and cooked over an open fire.  It is a favourite demonstration that is overused every time there is a "special event" where first nations' traditions are highlighted.  Growing up as a child of the sixties, baked goods were often substituted for love - hence my strange relationship with food is explained.  The tiny bird trapped in the martini shaker "cage" is visually accessible, yet suffocating.  The teapot shaped sugar bowl of a beautiful young lady is reminiscent of my Memere, a stern woman who we would often visit for tea and  yes, baked goods.  The sugar bowl was in shards so like an archeologist, I reassembled her with the use of beeswax.  I believe memories are torn apart and reassembled often.  Both the pink bird and the sugar bowl nestle on rabbit fur - warm, soft and cuddly (you guessed it, just like baked goods).  The brittle plastic matriarch resides on top of the totem - like my own mother, present yet tenuous.

Tim Laurin, Father Totem, Found Objects, 60 in by 14 in approx, 2013
Father Totem is the companion piece to Bannock Totem.  Utilizing the other half of the plastic figure set, I placed the Indian Chief on top of a copper and brass horn.  As a youngster, I remember my father shouting out absolute truths.  The antler is the obvious symbol of virility and the hand which originally was positioned upward, was to remind me of his stubborn rule.  While assembling the work, I turned the hand downward for some reason and now I realize that this is much more appropriate as my father is currently suffering from dementia and the once mighty patriarch is now but a frail man.  The whole assemblage rests on ruffled lead, cast concrete and a scorched timber plinth.  This was meant to give the work a sense of stability and power that I view as a veneer of masculinity.


Just how did my interest in the Cowboy & Indian myth get rolling?  As I mentioned earlier, I have been researching my family's secret Metis identity along with the colonialization of the Ojibway of the Southeastern Region.  Early in 2012, I discovered a small book produced by the Canadian Department of Mines (1914) called, “SomeMyths and Tales of the Ojibway of Southeastern Ontario”.  This publication is the translation of various legends as told by tribe elders and states in the preface: “as few changes as possible have been made in the English of the Indian informants”.  These are fascinating stories.

Tim Laurin, Naughty White Man, Phtototype on Kozuke with ink washes and ashes, scorched paper,  dogwood and birchbark, 60 in by 40 in, 2013

Tim Laurin, Kissing Cousins, Phtototype on Kozuke with ink washes, scorched paper, 24 in by 32 in, 2013

Some of the works

In the winter of 2012, I decided to take my phototypes in a new direction.  Instead of the compressed collaging of my earlier "Guilty Pleasures" series, I wanted to open up the visual space with the use of ink washes. The first works produced some exciting results and I enjoyed the dialogue that my Kitsch objects began to have.  Unlike the noisy chatter of a cocktail party, these new works were more like afternoon tea by the pond.

Tim Laurin, Chick-a-dee, phototype on Gampi with ink washes and dry pigment, 8in by 5 in, 2012

Tim Laurin, Blackbirds on a Wire, phototype on Kozuke with ink washes, 18in by 7 in, 2012

Hoarder or Collector?

Is there a difference?  Yes, and that difference clearly is the ability to organize one's hoard, I mean collection.

To prevent my family calling in a Kitsch Therapist to facilitate an intervention, I have begun organizing my collection of long-eyelashed creatures into map drawers.  I have a Woodland Creature drawer, a First Nations drawer, a Kitty drawer...... you get the idea.  I have also found out that hoarders tend to "categorize" their collection as justification for their need to collect more....... nonsense I say.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Rain Dance

Tim Laurin, Rain Dance, 2012
In many ways, this self-portrait was the first in the Cowboy and Indian series.  An other part of my family originates from Quebec, so I saw myself as this saucy egg cup, complete with a dandy beret.  As a youngster, I took accordion lessons - that hand on the keyboard represents my first introduction to the arts, luckily I soon realized I was better suited for visuals.  The partial native head dress, taken from the album cover of "Annie Get Your Gun, is there to imply my native past as well as the stero-typical ways that "indians" have been portrayed.  I felt an overwhelming urge to tear away parts of the print, and I believe this urge was meant to describe the hidden past that I am trying to uncover.

A small print - 12 by 10 inches, on Gampi paper and uses a technique I call phototype.  I have also incorporated ink washes and have drawn on top of the image with dry media.

How did I get here.....?

An interesting question that everyone asks at one point in their life.  This series of works looks at this question, both from a existentialist point of view as well as a pragmatic one.  Approximately 15 years ago it was discovered that I am descended from an Ojibwa heritage, thus making me Metis.  This informations was a family secret lost for many years.

At the time of Confederation, much of the inhabitants of Drummond Island, north of Manitoulin Island, were relocated to the shores of Georgian Bay.  During this time of displacement, there was a decision made to conceal our past. I am a product of this conflicted identity.

As a craftsman, I have a fascination with post-war "made in Japan" kitsch - these bizarre figurines made by the hands of some of the most traditionally skilled people in the world, became our souvenirs, mementos and trinkets.  See my other blog, Kitsch Still Life.