Natasha McHardy is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver. Her work engages with conceptual, visual and folk art histories while exploring ideas of play and relations of power within class, race and gender constructs. McHardy received a BFA and MFA from the University of British Columbia and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She received a 2005 Hampton Fund Research Grant (in collaboration with Marina Roy), a 2003 Visual Arts Development Award, and the B.C. Binning Award for Drawing in 2001.
A curator and writer based in San Francisco, where she is Curator and Head of Programs at the CCA Wattis Institute. Nguyen was formerly Director/Curator of Artspeak from 2011-2016. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and periodicals nationally and internationally, with recent texts in catalogues published by Pied-à-Terre (San Francisco), Gluck 50/Mousse (Milan), and the Herning Museum of Art (Denmark). Nguyen is the recipient of the 2015 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Emerging Curators in Contemporary Canadian Art and the 2016 Joan Lowndes Award from the Canada Council for the Arts for excellence in critical and curatorial writing.
August 1–August 31, 2014
Ongoing installation in Artspeak’s windows while the gallery and office are closed for summer holidays.
It’s morning. It’s hot outside. The sun is bright and full, lobbed in the sky, one after the other, after the other, until the heat turns to flames. A salon of heads. An ominous, long eared creature stares blankly nearby. The door is locked. A message is being relayed. Should we turn around? How do we escape? We must keep on. This path feels familiar. It is well-tread, but the ease of this tread is unsettling. We walk a bit further, we walk by again. We do not belong here. You refuse to turn around. Opportunity and desire surround us. These are dangerous feelings. We keep on.
Our hands graze across the forms, sliding animal to the left and waves of water to the right. We are lost. Out of the pool and through the window. How do we get to the other side? Falling out of step, we are seduced by the brightness, the tropical colours and leafy limbs that remind you of a locale long ago. You believe it is yours, you desire it to be so. Snowy peaks rest in their place, in the distance, their jagged slopes softened by the haze of day. Reaching for the sun, judged by a thousand sons, one after the other. Escape and entrapment. The door is locked.
Cool down. Feel the heat against your face as you emerge from the pool. The palms are a brief reprieve. We grow tired, our legs having lost the tread. We slip further into the pyramid of stars. The door is locked. Tomorrow we try again.