Jennifer Tellier & Brittney Bear Hat | OURS
May 2 – June 14, 2014
In this new project, Calgary-based artists Brittney Bear-Hat and Jennifer Tellier explore what it means to call a colonized land home. Building on a previous drawing-performance collaboration, in OURS the artists test themselves and the trust that they have built their collaborative relationship on. Their new installation, made with personal artifacts and family histories, explore the ways that looking at someone else can help us to see ourselves, as they bring their experiences of the land they belong to into the gallery from where they discovered it—around campfires, in canoes, and out under the stars.
We asked local writer and musician Wayne Arthurson to come visit the gallery and give us some reflections on Jennifer Tellier and Brittney Bear Hat’s Ours.
In the video installation reflecting both artists’ connection with the land, it’s a Blackfoot family trip to some back country cabins, ATVs sludging through the mud, inconsistent bounces creating giggles of glee from a gaggle of sisters, nieces, or chances are, cousins. Bannock is slapped on a black frying pan and wieners are roasted over an open fire before the trip heads back to the world.
Memory is also a trudge through a forest trail, following tracks through the snow, snowshoes crunching with every step, as a daughter of European descent follows her dad to a hunting blind high in a tree. He climbs to the top, but she does not join him.
Both based out of Calgary, artists Tellier and Bear-Hat like to question what it means to call a colonized land home, like to test experiences in order to find similarities instead of differences. Their most recent collaboration, Ours, is a multimedia installation featuring a collection of personal artifacts and video presentations reflecting a recent trip into the bush by each artists.
In some cases, there are differences in their experiences. In the videos by European descendant Tellier, her sojourn into the wilderness has only one other person along: her father. It’s a contemplative moment in time of following tracks in the snow with only a few verbal interactions.
While in Bear-Hat’s video, a trip into the bush in a family affair, several generations of Blackfoot, raucously gather to plan and then undertake a trek into the backcountry.