The VAV Gallery Exhibition Built Around the Theme of Home

Photography and Maquettes Visited Nostalgia and Memory With “Enclosed Comforts”

  • The pieces exhibited revolve around the themes of home. Photo Elisa Barbier

  • With every exhibit at the VAV gallery, the three coordinators strive to incorporate a variety of mediums in the shows they curate. Photo Elisa Barbier

On Sept. 20, the first step into the Visual Arts Visuels Gallery was on a welcome mat, a small but telling sign of the exhibit in progress.

Enclosed Comforts radiates warmth, and the pieces exhibited revolve around the themes of home: the comfort, and discomfort it provides. The artworks also explored memories and roots.

The VAV Gallery partnered with CJLO, Concordia’s student radio, to provide the music for the event. The mix played was dynamic, transitioning between styles, and along with the drinks and snacks that were served, helped the crowd to loosen up and chat with each other.

“[The artworks] are not all about home, as in the physical home, [it’s] the whole concept of feeling at home, or being at home, just the environment that home can give you, or even the people,” said Jose Guillermo Garcia Sierra, the VAV Gallery’s financial and administrative coordinator.

The student-run gallery is an exhibition space for the artwork of Concordia students who take at least three credits in the faculty of fine arts. With every exhibit, the three coordinators strive to incorporate a variety of mediums in the shows they curate.

Running between Sept. 9 and 29, Enclosed Comforts showcases the varied artworks of ten artists. Ceramics, painting, video, photography, book binding, fabrics, installations, terracotta, and maquettes are all part of the show, the coordinators said.

Shazia Ahmad’s series of maquettes “I Give You Togetherness” model spaces that are important to her, such as the setting of an art studio at Concordia, where she made close friends. Photo Elisa Barbier

Shazia Ahmad’s series of maquettes I Give You Togetherness model spaces that are important to her, such as the setting of an art studio at Concordia, where she made close friends.

“This project, which celebrates the concept of family more than anything, not necessarily blood family, but relationships that developed over the course of life, started with maquettes that I built,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad explained that she enjoys the craft aspect of building maquettes and working with her hands to create something other than a painting.

“I hope more than anything that [people] have fun with [maquettes],” said Ahmad. “And maybe see what the possibilities are with maquettes, and maquettes that are not necessarily these beautifully built architectural models, but something that’s more rough, more handmade.”

“I hope people can appreciate that and maybe think about incorporating aspects of that into their own practice. And I’m happy to share them with everyone,” she said.

Ahmad integrated details of her life into her artworks exhibited in Enclosed Comforts. In creating the maquette of the art studio, Ahmad included digital versions of artworks that she has done into the piece. It hangs on the studio’s walls, next to the table where Ahmad and her friends would sit around and talk while working, she said.

The digital print for the dark purple wallpaper of maquette representing a living room was adapted from a carpet belonging to her parents, Ahmad explained. “My parents have a lot of Pakistani rugs, so I took a portion of it, and I always love working digitally too (…) I knew I wanted to incorporate it somehow.”

Eric Tschaeppeler presented a series of four inkjet prints, Unrequited Love. It is about household dynamics and the different relationships that can develop amongst people living together, like roommates for example, said Susan E. Callender, the VAV gallery’s outreach coordinator.

Tschaeppeler explained that the photos are set in people’s homes. There are three people featured in each shot; some are strangers to one another, but most of them know each other. In one of them, someone is deeply involved with their phone, while intensely being looked at by someone else in the shot. The gaze of the third person present is directed straight at the camera, or at the viewer of the photograph.

Eric Tschaeppeler presented a series of four inkjet prints, called “Unrequited Love”. It is about household dynamics and the different relationships that can develop amongst people who live together. Photo Elisa Barbier

“It’s an idea I think that everyone has experienced,” said Tschaeppeler. “We often are interested in someone and they’re not interested back. I set people up in various states of non-returning gazes, sometimes involving the camera or the audience, other times not.”

“Originally I thought the love triangle was a very good place to start from,” continued Tschappeler. “Visually it’s always also very good to photograph three people. You can make a pyramid, or a triangle. It gives a dynamic. But I’m now working [to do] pairs, fours, and even some solo portraits.”

The VAV gallery is open to everyone, Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. It is free of charge. To keep up with their upcoming exhibitions, visit http://vavgallery.concordia.ca/.

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