Warming Up looks at what goes on behind the scenes of musical performance, the social ties and spaces, things and practices that produce and sustain a creative community. The title makes a connection between the preparation for recording or going onstage and the warmth of social relationships. Warmth is a physical sensation, but also a metaphor that refers here to the heightened creative possibilities produced by interaction, by exchanging and bouncing ideas off one another.
Getting through a Prince Edward Island winter is difficult enough. For musicians facing fewer gigs and a hibernating population, a close-knit community is necessary to sustain a vibrant music scene. This exhibition project began when photographer Anna Karpinski decided to document that community in a formal group photograph of Island musicians entitled Something in the Water. Taken in the dead of winter, the picture records 76 well-known Island musicians gathering in front of Province House. Millefiore Clarkes’ video of the Karpinski photo shoot captures the conversations and movements of a bustling crowd of musicians assembling before and after the event in an array of interlocking frames that register the fluidity of the relationships explored. In her wall drawing Constellation, Becka Viau presents the results of research into the network of P.E.I. musicians, who replied to herquestion, “Can you list your solid creative connections?” The drawing represents these connections as a non-linear, non-hierarchical, yet still cohesive mass of intricate patterns. In a nod to the spaces that sustain creativity, Kelly Caseley, known as a fashion designer and co-owner of The Green Man Vintage and Vinyl in Charlottetown, has created an interactive setting/lounge that pays tribute to the material dimension of music-making, and also offers a space for hanging out and making music with instruments and sound equipment. Halifax-based artist and musician Eleanor King provides a counterpoint to the celebratory side of Warming Up. Her drum-based installation piece, Endless Practice, reminds us that the repetitive, sometimes tedious activity of practice (the title also plays on the notion of “artistic practice”) is another integral part of what binds musicians together. And her sculptural column of drums demonstrates how a formal statement can be built, literally, by combining everyday elements by means of processes we normally consider mundane, such as stacking and lining things up in rows. This exhibition pays tribute to those connections, communities, spaces and things that help make possible the experience of musical performance.
This exhibition would not have been possible without the help of many individuals and organizations. The Confederation Centre Art Gallery and the artists in Warming Up wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Adam Gallant, Overman, Linda Wigmore, Racoon Bandit, Lee Clarke, Soleil Hutchinson, Rachael Hicken, Allison Cooke, and Steve Gillespie. The ECMA Arts Linkages Program, funded through the Cultural Capital Designation and the City of Charlottetown, provided generous assistance in the documentation of this exhibition project.
Kelly Caseley Millefiore Clarkes Anna Karpinski Eleanor King Becka Viau