The work of Grace Han along with eight other Manitoba Association of Women Artists (MAWA) mentees is currently being shown at Ace Art, 290 McDermot Avenue (second floor).
The exhibition is entitled SHIFT. Collectively it focuses on identity politics, adaptability of identity alongside studies of the self, the body, and the land. Some of the work deals with the artist attempts to regain that which has been lost through trauma, illness, memory, and lineage. The works of sculpture, painting, installation, photography, ceramics and performance reflect the diversity of the nine emerging artists in the exhibition, their relationship to their self and to society.
At a distance, Han’s ceramic installation (with video) challenges the viewer to distinguish the shapes forming the Onngi jar. Moving closer the white porcelain wall pieces appear very feminine, very fragile, almost flowerlike. Yet, when you are face to face with the wall piece, it is easy to see that the form is made up of large casts of metal nuts, a motif previously utilized, in a smaller scale, by Han in her MFA exhibition installation. Sometimes associated with DIY or an auto mechanics workshop, nuts are commonly used together with a bolt to hold multiple parts together. In this instance, they are alone, useless at binding two parts together, an ideal metaphor for the shifting identity of Han, for the loosening up or ‘unbolting’ of her Korean identity after having now been in Canada for some seven years. Enclosed within the Onggi jar is the short video by the CBC of Han wrenching with her personal identity as a Korean living in Canada.
The Foundation Mentorship Program is one of the most important services that MAWA provides for emerging women artists in our community. It is an intensive year long partnering with an established artist where the mentees receive critical feedback on their work, help with networking, and an open and safe place to share their ideas. Each year there is an end exhibition. Other mentees included in this end of the year exhibition are Susan Aydan-Abbott, Carol-Ann Bohrn, Erin Frances Brown, Amber Christensen, Maya de Forest, Sue Joang, Chris Larsen, and Kathy Levandoski.
If you missed the opening like I did, the exhibition remains open until January 10. The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday from 12noon to 5pm.