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Riki Weiland: FRAGMENTS

In the Minarovich Gallery – Elora Centre for the Arts

Riki Weiland: Fragments
March 8 – May 6, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 8, 2012, 7:30pm

Fragments – Photos from the Opening ReceptionWatch – Riki Weiland speaking at the Opening Reception:

Part 1 (14 minutes), Part 2 (11 minutes), Part 3 (8 minutes).Curated by Phil IrishRiki Weiland’s solo exhibition at the Elora Centre for the Arts, titled Fragments, is a meditation on memory, the brutality of war and illness, and the resilience of life. She has woven three media into a richly textured exhibition. The core of the show is a suite of poignant paintings, rich in colour and embedded with photographs and images that reflect her childhood in France in the shadow of the Second World War. Several of the paintings include poems, adding to the narrative and symbolic pull of the work. Several sculptures, following a similarly memory-rich process of assemblage, add the final layer to this exhibition.This process of mining her personal history is new to Riki. She notes that, as she delves into the poetic meaning of life events, “I question what is remembered and what is imagined… and how is it that incredible love can flourish and be sustained in the midst and depth of a horrible war.”

The paintings, displayed in chronological order, are the evidence of seeking a continuity, a meaning, with the past. The assemblages incorporate old postcards, photographs, and an heirloom piece of fabric. While drawn from her personal archive, these images are formed with a poetic, not genealogical, vision.

The images are imbedded in a fields of colour, most often a glowing red. Red is a colour of consequences – like the commitment of one’s life blood – but also a colour of celebration and vitality. Riki’s multi-hued red also becomes the colour of sunlight through closed eyes, facing the sun while deep in remembrance.

A book on American artist, Robert Rauschenberg, was open in her studio. Rauschenberg was known for his gestural abstract style that would voraciously combine diverse ingredients: collage, abstract painting, and objects from everyday life. Recognizing the connection between Rauschenberg and her own process of assembling fragments, Riki explained that “whenever I get cautious, and need to risk more, I return to Rauschenberg. He was fearless.”

Riki has created this new body of work despite a grueling regime of chemotherapy. When she heard that she might loose sensitivity in her fingers, she asked the doctors: “can we be sure that my hands will be OK until my exhibition is installed?” The doctors offered no promises, and Riki has courageously faced whatever side-effects have surfaced.

Riki’s bravery in facing her own mortality has echoes throughout this work. She has found that the present moment is heightened, as well as a deep longing for the past. Many exquisite moments are underappreciated. These paintings are a call to stop sleeping through life.

Riki Weiland studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and Cooper Union in New York. She worked on the design teams for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 and Osaka 69, and won international awards for her structural and graphic design. In the 80’s, she focused her energy on the fine arts, particularly sculpture and painting. With exhibitions in the United States and Canada, she has had several solo exhibitions and won numerous awards.Fragments opening reception, in the Minarovich Gallery, at the Elora Centre for the Arts, is on Thursday March 8th at 7:30 pm and runs until May 6th 2012.Contact – Elora Centre for the Arts, 75 Melville Street, Elora, Ontario, N0B 1S0. 519-846-9698 – for more information.

Riki Weiland : Fragments

March 8 – May 6, 2012
In the Minarovich Gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts
Photos from the Opening Reception, Thursday, March 8, 2012.