Art Preview: Mythmakers at the OCADU Graduate Gallery Brings Mark Makers Together, Teaches Us the Aramaic Definition of Abracadabra 

There’s a thrill inherent in the term “emerging artist.” It suggests being on the cusp of something,  although what that ‘something’ is, is titillatingly unclear.  Mythmakers, opening Feb. 25th and taking up residency in the OCADU Graduate Gallery (205 Richmond St.) until March 3rd, offers the public a glimpse into the exciting work of six artists currently emerging onto the scene and beginning to make their mark in the greater art world.

The show is the brainchild of Humboldt Magnussen, a current OCADU graduate student, who has assembled five other artists (comprised of other OCADU graduating students and three guest artists) all working within the broader spectrum of drawing; “broad” being the operative word. “Because drawing is basically mark-making…it can mean a lot of different things,” artist Brette Gabel explains. “I have a fabric piece going in the show.”

The uniting premise amongst the pieces is that they situate themselves on the outskirts of typical narratives or folktales.  According to Gabel, “Mythmakers is about ‘mythologizing autobiography:” the artists’ personal life is used as a starting point, and then expanded on from there. What results is work that operates within the realms of the fantastical and the occult, whilst remaining firmly rooted in the personal.  From a small preview of the work on display, I was reminded of Winnipeg-born artist Marcel Dzama.

Gabel’s piece, as mentioned, is in the fabric medium, and was spun off of (no pun intended?) her relationship with a hypochondriac family member, and her discovery of the etymology of the word “Abracadabra.” It plays between the original Aramaic meaning for Abracadabra (which directly translates as “I will create as my words” and was worn on an amulet to protect the wearer from illness)  and camp modern associations with the incantation. These themes are manifest in a giant, colorful quilt.

For Brette, the show is a wonderful opportunity not only to showcase her own work, but to do so in the environment of the OCADU Graduate Gallery which, being a school-run gallery, is a wonderful place to experiment and show new pieces. She is also thrilled to get to preview alongside her talented cohorts at OCADU as well as Nathan Brown and Bea Parsons. “I love them all so much. I think we’re the type of group who could really execute a fun, efficient heist.”  She is particularly grateful to Humboldt for the opportunity. “He’s honestly a genius.  If he’s not a famous artist someday… ”

Mythmakers runs from Feb. 25th to Mar. 3rd, at the OCADU Graduate Gallery, situated on the second floor of 205 Richmond St.  Reception Mar. 1st- 7-11pm

1 Comment

  1. Tess Degenstein
    February 25, 2013

    Authors’ note:The third guest artist, in addition to Bea Parsons and Nathan Brown, is Scott Harber, hailing from Montreal. I apologize for the omission of his name in the closing paragraph. It is entirely ‘my bad”! Brette Gabel is thrilled to be working with them all!

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