Fast Forward Weekly
April 14-25, 2005

Double-Decker Delight Stride Gallery proves that two-tiered exhibiting is twice the fun
By Mark Clintberg

This month, Stride Gallery offers two beefy exhibitions: Patti Dawkins’ gentle Paper and Silk and Kuh Del Rosario’s emphatic SKIN SO PINK SO FRESH!
An underground laboratory, Stride’s project room features Del Rosario’s fragmentary, glued-up eye-charmer. In it, planes of pink insulation are joined by engorged clouds of caulking and foam, ruggedly framed on a floor of raw, luscious plywood. This monolith stamps out a significant footprint in the middle of the room; a tour around the work is essential. Setting up a sort of carousel promenade, gallery visitors will be rewarded with all kinds of gorgeous structural irregularities and pockets on Del Rosario’s pillar-like piece. This additive – rather than reductive – sculpture is like a house built from the inside out. Skins of material are layered over other skins. And what could be at the centre, sealed at its core? Stride’s undercarriage is the perfect setting for this methodically produced, dense work, bringing to mind suspicions of what other Calgary basements might hold – obelisk forests?

Or just abandoned kayaks? A chandelier of orange pigment in plastic bags dangle suggestively from the ceiling, and other clever details, such as a red carpet, are scattered about the room. Del Rosario preserves the feeling that this object could be the product of a sedentary but extremely crafty (and perhaps obsessive-compulsive) constructor, locked below the surface.

Like the consistently offered invitation of a grandfather beckoning the family to come and view “that thing” he’s been working on, SKIN SO PINK SO FRESH! looks and feels like a thing that is expanding and being renovated to take over the whole building. One wonders if Del Rosario’s puffy geometries could spread, leaving whole city blocks as pink, hearty masses.

On the top of this double-decker exhibition is the work of Calgarian Patti Dawkins. Attentively hung sheets of paper and silk line the gallery, one grid taking up the better part of an entire wall. Dawkins’ pieces are sensitive, which is to say that they respond to the movement of people around them. Walk by and a shimmer spreads across the      wall-mounted unframed sheets. The artist, long known as an Alberta College of Art and Design superstar technician, completed the work during a residency at The Banff Centre. The influence of the looming, enchanting mountains surrounding The Banff Centre is visible in the piece Totemic Numens, which consists of several litho prints on rice paper of sideways views of landscapes. The images, some mountain ranges producing reflections in bodies of water, bleed out from the centre of each page, a bit like ink blots or orifices.