Alison Norlen: LUNA
January 25—March 10
Opening Reception: Friday, January 25 at 8 p.m.
Talk/Tour: Sunday, February 3 at 2 p.m. with artist Alison Norlen
Alison Norlen: LUNA marks new creative territory for this Saskatoon artist. The intricate welded architecture in this installation elaborates upon the expansive drawings and wire maquettes that have characterized her artistic practice during the last decade. Here, she reconstitutes monumental, 20th-century sites of leisure, fantasy and cultural artifice, such as the Crystal Palace, Luna Park, Brighton Pier, and Las Vegas.
Sensational and fantastic spaces have inspired Norlen, from her early theme park sculptures and pinball landscapes, to her series of drawn “Floats,” with their tangled collisions of rural fairgrounds, roadside attractions, and construction sites. Norlen’s more recent engagements on paper feature monolithic structures like the Spanish fortress, Alhambra, or obsolete industrial sites. Her work is futuristic yet nostalgic. There are elements of the industrial and monumental, yet they are never robust or invincible. Rather, they are eroded to ephemeral, vulnerable traces.
LUNA is the most recent in Norlen’s series of spectacular, large-scale installations. The ghost-like surfaces of familiar and forgotten sites evoke theme parks, carnival forms and architectural follies. Fusing travelled spaces, autobiographical references, personal narration and metaphor, the large wire structures blur boundaries of the exotic and the everyday. The artist explores the effects of time and the persistence of memory within an intricate and layered narrative landscape.
Alison Norlen: LUNA is guest curated for the Mendel by Shauna McCabe.