Exhibition Essays

Number Nine Reviews

December 2002

Festiva of Enjoyment Review

Emma Jean

An Elvis Presley cloth adorns the doorway to the main gallery where snapshots, paintings, photos and workbooks festoon the space. Coffee tables, sofas and bookshelves contain Hemingway to Burroughs to a typing manual.

None of the art on the walls made any particular impression apart from the chessboard pattern of small plant photos which displayed images that looked like they had a three dimensional texture. From close ups of flax to wide shots of trees to flowers, they are worth a look. 

The free jazz playing is great. It sounds like people improvising live. But the workbooks were, for me, the most interesting part of the exhibition*. Whyte's particularly showed an aesthetic and poetic sensibility I enjoyed. One page is a list of clichés, another quotes from ‘portrait of the artist as a young man', contrasted on another page against an ink drawing of ‘the way swedish people have sex'. I'll say no more, take a look. Robin Kenealy's workbook was in a different style, with letters and notes from friends, and an obsession with images and quotes from Bob Dylan turning into an infatuation with Milla Jovavich.

Apart from this static display, the rest of this exhibition is a continually changing set of performances, talks, film showings and music performances for three weeks. Highlights include a reading and slide show of Winnie the Pooh on Thursday the 21st, ‘the future of art form' talk on Friday 22nd, and the Nova Scotia CD release on Friday the 6th of December.

Enjoy has changed direction somewhat with these latest sets of exhibitions. Each three week show has been organized by one or two artists who act as their own curator and can show their own work and/or that of others. An interesting concept in theory, it appears that the ‘hands off' stance Enjoy is taking has led to a serious lack of direction and focus for some of the exhibitions. Enjoy has always been known for tight, untraditional and groundbreaking exhibitions. If they want to retain their reputation, I wonder if the gallery should perhaps return to a more hands on approach to the curatorial process.

[*the workbooks mentioned in this review have been mistakenly credited to Richard Whyte and are in fact all by Toon - Enjoy]