Balls out confidence is needed to make art work an aesthetic event. In saying “balls out,” Curator Lisa Deanne Smith isn’t referring to a macho practice, but to the origin of “balls out” which refers to running a steam engine train at maximum speed via a governor or a speed limiter — when going full out without crashing, the balls rise to the top. It is this kind of confidence and balance found in the work of artists Karen Lofgren, Vanessa Maltese and Jillian McDonald in No Dull Affairs. The relationships they create with their materials, site and audience are bold.
All of the work in No Dull Affairs references historical predecessors, seduces with craftsmanship and ultimately includes the viewer in its completion, creating a moment difficult to pin down with language without making it disappear — a balls out balancing act.
Karen Lofgren is a Toronto-born Los Angeles-based artist who received her MFA from CalArts and an AOCAD from OCAD University. Solo exhibitions include Machine Project, Pitzer Art Galleries, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, royale projects : contemporary art and Armory Center for the Arts. Group exhibitions include Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Desert Test Sites and Human Resources for Pacific Standard Time. Her work has been featured in Artforum critic’s picks, LA Weekly, and the LA Times, as well as books, catalogues, and album covers. Awards include Canada Council for the Arts and Durfee Foundation grants.
Vanessa Maltese lives and works in Toronto and holds a BFA from OCAD University. The National Winner in the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, she has presented two solo exhibitions at Toronto's Erin Stump Projects. Maltese will soon be exhibiting in a group show at Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver.
Jillian McDonald is a Canadian artist living in New York. Her work was featured in a 2013 radio documentary by Paul Kennedy on CBC's Ideas, titled Valley of the Deer; has been reviewed in publications including The New York Times, Art Papers, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and Border Crossings; and appears in several books including Better Off Dead edited by Sarah Juliet Lauro. In 2012 she represented Canada at the Glenfiddich international residency in Dufftown, Scotland.
Lisa Deanne Smith is engaged in a cultural practice that moves between multiple mediums — art, events, curation, writing and arts administration — exploring issues of voice, experience and power. Recent curatorial projects at Onsite [at] OCAD University include Ads for People: Selling Ethics in the Digital Age and I Wonder by Marian Bantjes. Presented with support from Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.