"Merete Kristiansen and Kate Barron may be on the verge of revolutionizing the Canadian art world."
- anne watson, the vancouver observer
When you think of Vancouver, a city that bleeds hockey and is still trying to figure out last year's Stanley Cup Playoff loss, what do you think of?
Last night, we headed to Mike Macri’s fist-ever solo show opening at Catalog Gallery, ‘More Like Our Fathers’, in Vancouver. The show featured 12 high-realism cross-stitchings representing goaltenders from each of the 12 teams of the first NHL expansion era (1967-70).
Not often can a show speak to such a wide-ranging audience, and actually wow everyone who sees it. We were listening last night and the word ‘wow’ was said approximately 1,000,000 times (ish).
Macri’s portraits take approximately 80-100 hours each and are remarkable in their detail. We over heard one woman say, “there’s an art to appreciating these pieces - a sweet spot you need to find when you’re stepping back to view the work.”
why did we choose to write on macri's first-ever solo show? Well, As if it wasn’t enough that the works are fantastically crafted, and wonderfully presented, but the artist himself is probably the most humble and unassuming artist we have ever met.
Here’s what Zoe Pawlak, curator of the show, had to say when we sat down with her.
am: how did you get involved with this show?
Zp: I was introduced to the work of Mike Macri by a friend and was so impressed, I asked Mike if I could put his work forward to Catalog Gallery. We set up a meeting and Robert loved his work and offered Mike a solo show.
Am: Often we see an individual curating a group show, where the works of multiple artists are brought together based on a certain theme. In this case, you are curating the work of a single artist. Can you tell how this is different and what is involved with that process?
Zp: In this case the word 'curator' is used rather lightly as I am neither trained in formal curatorial practices nor am I taking work from various artists and placing them in a group show with a historical or thematic context. The work is a strong series of 12 tied to a perios of time (1967-70) and the gallery is small, so we felt a show of this quality should stand on it's own...especially in a city that adores its hockey.
Am: Can you elaborate on the juxtaposition between the theme of the show, hockey which is quite masculine and the medium which is cross-stitch that is traditionally very feminine?
Zp: I first saw the work of Tim Gardner in NY in 2004. Tim made high realism watercolours out of coming-of-age snapshots of the boys. These were compelling paintings around male culture that perfectly combined hot tubs, beer cans and frat parties. It was great stuff and it was watercolor. I mean, that's what grandmas paint with, so I loved that! It makes you pay attention and then maybe face your own preconceived notions about gender. Tim's watercolors were my first introduction to these male narratives I had only experienced on the periphery. I have been watching for work similar to Tim's because I love these themes around the masculine identity and am so curious where this generation of men are heading. I saw that same spirit and quality in Mike's work and wanted to show it off.
Am: Is this something that we're going to be seeing more of from you?
Zp: Yes. I am determined to show and sell more artists. There is tons of money in the world and yet the majority of people have horrible art in their homes. I am passionate about drawing connections between today’s market and how buyers are collecting art which includes putting some artists in the position to have their work be more visible. I would like to continue to be an active member of both local and international art and design communities. I love to see how shows come together and how artists rise to the occasion when you are willing to step out and expose their talent.
Am: what is the price range of the works in the show? Are all the works for sale?
Zp: all the works are for sale and they are priced at $700 each and are matted and framed.
we encourage everyone to go check out "more like our fathers" and can't wait to see more from mike macri in the future.
"More Like Our Fathers" will be at Catalog Gallery in Gastown from Sept 16thto October 2nd.
left to right: merete kristiansen, zoe pawlak, mike macri, kate barron