Finding intimacy and community through art

Somewhere Shared challenges traditional art viewing spaces

How does physicality and space influence the way we view art? How can challenging traditional structures of art viewing, such as galleries, influence intimacy and community?

These are some of the questions that local art collective Somewhere Shared considered in creating their recent event, Somewhere Inside: A Cozy Wintertime Show.

Somewhere Shared is a Montreal based art collective, created by Concordia students and artists Rachelle Alexandra Fleury, Erica Hart, Olivia Deresti-Robinson, and Maggie Hope. Created in the summer of 2017, the collective has held several events that showcase work by local artists. The group focuses on creating spaces and opportunities for local artists, and transforming everyday environments into spaces for art sharing.

Somewhere Inside: A Cozy Wintertime Show took place on Feb. 2, at the Art Loft, in the Plateau. In organizing the event, the collective began with a thematic focus, which then influenced the space the show would take place in, and the art that would be featured. The show focused on ideas of intimacy, the home and the domestic space. The collective’s overarching themes of community building were also incorporated. Keeping this in mind, the collective searched for comfort in the Art Loft, which is both a home and an event location. While the venue serves as a living space for several, it also regularly turns into an event space for local music and comedy shows. The event’s environment exemplified the focus on accessibility and community that the collective values—the live music and film screening further challenged traditional gallery spaces, and removed the seriousness that is regularly present in more traditional gallery settings. It appeared that community connection was just as big a focus as the art was, as for most of the evening, everyone mingled, talked, and interacted with each other and the art.

Lindsey Lagemaat’s Earring considers the connection between capitalism and intimacy, or lack thereof. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

While going through the submissions, it was important for the collective to try to feature as many different perspectives and interpretations of the themes as possible. This was to make sure that, overall, the work being shown would be diverse and complex, adding to the overall concept and the viewer’s understandings and interactions with the show.

Somewhere Inside featured a variety of works, including sculpture, film and live music. Artists featured included Lindsey Lagemaat, a Concordia fibres student, who’s pink, textural, hanging sculpture considers the connection between capitalism and intimacy, or lack thereof. Artist Tiana Atheron, who studies fibres and crafts at Concordia, showcased an interactive work, titled How To Be A Good Hostess, which questions traditional feminine gender ideals, through reimagined domestic objects, such as a broom and a duster, and having instructions for viewers for how to interact with the artwork. As the venue for the event was an apartment and living space, already decorated with art on the walls, the collective worked to find diverse pieces, many that weren’t to be simply hung on the wall, but instead be interacted with by the viewer.

Merival performing at Art Loft for Somewhere Inside. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The event also held a sit-down film screening and live musical performances from Sara Jarvie Clark, Merival, and Yum! Jarvie Clark is a Concordia theatre student, and a folk-americana-classical musician. Merival is the name of Toronto singer-songwriter Anna Horvath’s musical project, which draws inspiration from ideas of vulnerability. Yum! consists of Concordia students Tyson Burger, Nathan Walsh and Eddy Jackson, who create music that draws from folk, house and punk genres.

In June 2017, Somewhere Shared held an event in an apartment shared by three of the creators, to showcase artwork, music and merchandise created by the collective and their friends. This event looked at generating revenue for the artists from their work, and led to the collective working on future art events. These events continued to focus on their values of supporting local artists, and challenging traditional norms of how we view and interact with art. The collective also finds importance in community building, fostering both connection and intimacy through art.

In June of 2018, Somewhere Shared held its second event, Play. For Play, Somewhere Shared also collaborated with local collective Dress Up Montreal, whose mandate expresses their focus, in being; “an initiative aimed at encouraging self-expression through fashion.” The show took place in an artist’s apartment and rooftop, and featured many local artists, interactive pieces and live music. The event was centered around the concept of playing, or finding freedom, nostalgia and innocence through interacting with art.

Looking to the future, Somewhere Shared hopes to continue to curate different experiences, with a possibility of another show taking place this coming summer. Meanwhile, each of the members of the collective are continuing to practice and create their respective crafts and art practices.

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