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Anna Jane McIntyre • Ten Cent Heroes

Vernissage: Thurs. Nov. 28, 6 – 8 pm
Gallery tour: Thurs. Nov. 28, 5 – 6 pm
Art Hive: Sat. Nov. 30, 10 am – 4 pm +info
Exhibition: Nov. 29 to Dec. 19, 2019

McClure Gallery is delighted to present Ten Cent Heroes by Anna Jane McIntyre. The concept of the circus has long fascinated the artist. As a site of inclusion and empowerment for those socially marginalised, the circus is a world reeking of humanity that embraces all aspects: the chaotic, the ridiculous, the divine, the contrary and the sensual. McIntyre views the circus to be a celebration of life through a proximity to impermanence. In Ten Cent Heroes she uses the carnival theme to explore notions of spectacle by examining ideas of watching and being watched, the role of street culture, language and meaning making.

Looking at circus history through the ages we can chart societal shifts in attitudes and exposure to new ideas and technologies. Like many cultural diversions, the circus functions not only as entertainment but as allegory. The circus acts as a fun-house mirror, throwing back an exaggerated reflection of societal values. Clowns, as trickster characters, skirt across the liminal zone between good and bad behaviour, reinforcing the distinctions between the two. Trapezists perform, flying wordlessly above the audience, demonstrating that to have extraordinary physical ability can also marginalize. Circus roles are generally divided into speaking and non-speaking. Those demonstrating physical prowess or peculiarities are rendered mute. What does this say about language and silence in the circus? What does it say about our perceptions of power?  How are relationships formed between the audience and performer?  What is the quality of this relationship?

In Ten Cent Heroes there is no single circus being referenced. The concept is an amalgam of many sources. Childhood memories, street performers of Covent Garden, Alexander Calder’s Cirque Calder, Federico Fellini’s La Strada, Cirque du Soleil and Tod Browning’s Freaks have all blended together. What is common to all of these influences is the philosophy of making-something-from-nothing, do-it-yourself and improvisation; through a few props, costume, the careful choreography of the audience’s attention and a lot of enthusiasm, a spectacle, oscillating between being both boring and mesmerising, is created.

Anna Jane McIntyre is an artist with a playful practice that combines storytelling, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, performance and microactivism. Her work investigates how people perceive, create and maintain their notions of self through behaviour and visual cues, and is an ever-shifting visual mashup of British, Trinidadian and Canadian cultural traditions. Her work has been presented in Canada, the United States, England, Brazil, South Africa and the Caribbean. Projects have been made possible through the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Vivacité Montréal through the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal (CRÉ), the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the mentorship program of the MAI – (Montréal, arts interculturels). Her exhibition La forêt noire is currently touring Montreal as part of the CAM en tournée touring program. She lives and works in Montreal.

Anna Jane McIntyre

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