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Exhibit explores the sounds, sights, of silence

Enter the Forest of your dreams as two experimental artists bring their collaborative and novel short film experiences to the Art Gallery of St. Albert.
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Intermedia visual artist Brad Necyk teamed up once again with sound designer Gary James Joynes for the collaborative interactive and immersive art exhibit called And All of Everything, opening this week at the Art Gallery of St. Albert. BRAD NECYK/Photo

DETAILS

And All of Everything

Collaborative interactive art exhibit by visual artist Brad Necyk and sound designer Gary James Joynes

Opens Thursday, June 16.

In-person tours with curator Emily Baker at noon on both June 22 and July 21 at noon

Virtual tour with curator Emily Baker at noon on June 29 

Special event tie-in with Artwalk from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 7

Opening reception/artist talk on July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Artists will be in attendance. 

Until Aug. 13

artgalleryofstalbert.ca/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/and-all-of-everything

It’s time to put a stop to the constant go-go-go, Brad Necyk seems to be saying. It is time to stop and smell the forest. 

But if you can’t get to the forest then he and frequent collaborator Gary James Joynes are here to bring the forest to you, in a simulacra sense only an intermedia artist and a sound designer can. And All of Everything has an appropriately spiritual, nature-worshipping sound to it, and for good reason. 

Necyk, formerly a local visual artist, moved to Vancouver Island a few years ago, and it sure seems to have made an impression. He sought out proximity to a place he considers a cathedral: Avatar Grove. 

Being one with his camera, the intermedia artist naturally started filming the scene for his creative purposes. The short experimental film Avatar’s Dream is just one facet of the new exhibit coming to the Art Gallery of St. Albert, with Joshua Tree being the other. 

“The pieces are about slowing down, attuning to what’s going on around us on the planet. There is a certain sense of meditation practice in it as well. They’re very slow and they develop very slowly but there are arcs to them,” he said.  

“My hope in it — and same with Gary — is that you begin to slow down and become really conscious of your experience of time in it. That’s the experience we’re trying to craft: a really temporal experience. I’m really honest about this. They’re very daunting on people’s attention.” 

"Daunting" is one way to sell the public on a new exhibit. Avatar’s Dream is a 25-minute minimalist, wordless, experiential tone poem that somehow finds the razor’s edge of sensory overload and sensory deprivation. It’s impossible to fully describe — such is the nature of experiential multimedia installations such as this — but taking a gander at the trailers for this and for Joshua Tree should offer a satisfactory introduction to the full films. Check out bradnecyk.com/film to find the videos. 

With a hint of serendipity, Avatar Grove is close to the Fairy Creek watershed area that has found dispute between a logging company and the Pacheedaht First Nation and their supporters who wish to protect the old-growth forest. That does much to lend an extra note of environmental appreciation to the viewings. 

The artist wanted to bring another landscape to the table. That’s where the film Joshua Tree comes in after he shot a similar video there at the American national park in the California desert. This work is more about time, consciousness, and climate change.  

The two films represent polar-opposite biomes on the planet, though both are each very sacred in their own right. In Necyk’s mind, this desert scene includes elements of psychedelic mysticism, UFOs, and secret military installations: the supernatural, superhuman, and extraterrestrial endeavours you might expect in such a barren, unpopulated, and harsh world scene.  

Both are places he knew he just had to go and experience — “take it all in,” he described — but they’re also places facing climate-change crises.  

He commented on both the majestic sense of spiritual significance of Avatar Grove and the possibility that nature has more intelligence than it is often given credit for.  

“You're standing in front of trees that are 1,000 years old towering into the cosmos in soil that’s just red and rich,” he said.  

“When I was just sitting and meditating in the forest one day, I felt like I was descending down into the soil, feeling all the mycelial networks that connect the trees and just wondering about what the dreams of this forest would be like. Are they aware of Joshua Tree? Are they aware of chainsaws just slightly to the east in Fairy Creek? I went out sitting there and I could hear the chainsaws in Avatar Grove right near it in the valley of mountains.” 

You won't get the sound of chainsaws in the film, however, only the electronica of Joynes's fertile technological imaginarium as the two films play in a neverending loop. Best block off a chunk of time to fully immerse yourself in the world as these two see and hear it.

The two make fine collaborative partners, having previously worked with van Grimde Corps Secrets for the experimental piece called The End of the World/The Birth of the World, which is also available to view on Necyk's website at bradnecyk.com/film

“We are thrilled to showcase these two artists,” said Emily Baker, the Art Gallery of St. Albert’s curator. “Gary James Joynes and Brad Necyk are no strangers to collaboration. As a duo, they have been inspired to push their use of technology and their artistic practice toward new possibilities.”


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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