August 28th - October 17th, 2014
Carrie LaCoste, Let Chaos Reign, 2013. Photograph courtesy of the artist. Credit: Jennifer Durr.
Described simultaneously as both method and creative product, art journals reflect their makers’ responses to the world in glueing, doodling, stitching, or writing in bound diaries. Imagery and text are combined in a form of visual expressionism that describes the maker’s thoughts. Art journals and pocketbooks have provided creative channels for the world’s greatest thinkers, such as Leonardo DaVinci, but are equally as accessible for everyday folk. When words alone aren’t enough, experiments, emotional exorcisms, meditations and musings slip across the pages in a clamour of assemblage. Without the burden of conceptualizing, aesthetics, economics, deadlines, technical competence, and an unrestricted use of materials, the blank page presents itself to anyone – artist or not – who wishes to lay a mark on it.
Inside Carrie LaCoste’s journals is a world collaged and fantastic, where ephemera is layered with text and paint, and found objects are pressed between pages. It’s a place where, as one scribble states, chaos reigns. A peek into these diaries reveals a range of emotion and tone, and it’s not always pretty. A year and a half ago, LaCoste rediscovered several dayplanners from a previous job. After experimenting with photography and scrapbooking, her necessity for a creative outlet led to the planners’ conversion to the art volumes on display. These pictorial autobiographies pulse with boldness and invention, uninhibited feeling and striking visuals.
This exhibition appears during a time of renewed interest in folk art: a practice that can be part of a shared culture or a personal one, and created outside the margins of the art establishment. The American Folk Art Museum describes it as: “[s]ometimes functional in origin, at other times full of mystery, having a place in everyday life or hidden away, folk art is always compelling in its inventiveness, dazzling in its unexpectedness, powerful in its authenticity… [i]ts various forms demonstrate the shared human impulse to find beautiful and soul-satisfying solutions to the needs and challenges of everyday life.” Part of this tradition, LaCoste’s journals are private objects that, unlike many other formal and informal artistic practices, are not designed for public consumption. It would not respect the integrity of her makings to over-conceptualise the what or the why. Instead, the EAGM offers a view into these potent objects, for the curious visitor, to showcase LaCoste’s talents, and in the hopes that they might inspire similar local activity. As one page reads:
Does it all have to look so pretty and put together? NO. Does it have to be orderly and reasonable? NO. Sane? NO. Do I have to explain my reasons? NO. Do you need to understand? NO. It just has to be.
Curated by Alex King