Carmen Hathaway describes herself as a freelance media artist, which she explains is essentially a polymath, having trained in creative communications at Red River College several years ago. His art exhibit, which opens April 1 at Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment, is the first of its kind for the local gallery. But it’s not in the gallery.
Art of Centricity: COVID-19 is Prairie Fusion’s first all-digital exhibit and will be shown online only beginning April 1.
Hathaway describes what his art form is all about and how it has evolved since its beginnings.
“The technology at the time seemed really primitive and I wasn’t very interested in that route, so I became a traditional painter for about 20 years,” says Hathaway. “Glass Art — Traditional Arts — Graphite — Pen and Ink — Acrylic Painting — Oil Painting. I followed glass for almost 20 years, then a good friend of mine, who was a artist who greatly admires his work, suggested I get into a computer. He said, ‘You’re going to get high, Carmen.’ He was right. I – just like that,” she said modestly.
She notes that it was in 1997.
“The first computer was all two gigs,” Hathaway continues. “My files are now two gigs – a lot of my graphics, videos, etc. ! But it was a wonderful, long journey of learning, and it continues to be. It turned into animation. I started in 3D digital modeling in 2010 and keep evolving. I know the next route I’m going to take, but I won’t divulge that quite yet, but that’s also in the digital realm.
Hathaway says it’s a virtual exhibit.
“I had a solo show here in 2011, which was a multimedia show,” says Hathaway. “And I had a giant video projected on the back wall, which is huge. I think it’s 14 by 26 feet, or something. It’s not quite the same as view on a virtual platform. This is an eight minute video that I was was awarded a grant for last year in July. The Manitoba Arts Council graciously funded this project. Support for this grant was an offshoot of the provincial government’s investment in Manitoba in March 2021. There was a $6 million investment in arts and cultural sustainability, and that aspect of arts projects was administered by the Manitoba Arts Council. When I saw the news about it, I was like, “Well, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring.” And that was interesting, too, because it was a month-long delay. Usually, if you apply for a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council, it’s a t three months.
She points out that this isn’t a show you’ll have to go to the gallery to see. It’s completely online.
“I will have the appropriate link for you to go to the page where there will be an active link from April 1,” adds Hathaway. “This will take you to the virtual exhibit. You’ll see a little turquoise bar about 3/4 of the way down the page, and click, and you’ll be in. You can leave it running. It’s in high- def, so I recommend you watch it, if you can, in 1920 by 1080 (resolution), and you’re good to go. You can also watch it on a phone. I’ve done it on a number of monitors different and everything looks great.”
Hathaway notes that there’s usually a night for the show where the artists meet people and discuss their work, but that’s done through the media, like with this news article.
“‘Art of Centricity: COVID-19’ is the name of my presentation,” adds Hathaway. “This is my story – my journey – like everyone else has been, through the pandemic since, basically, 2020. All the artwork started to reflect my anxieties, my aspirations – as if everyone world was feeling what was happening. It was happening, and I channeled all of that into my art, mostly with stills. Some of them might be the 60″ by 40″ piece. It might be printed as small, like 8 by 10, but most of my stills will print on average 40 square inches or more – – that sort of thing. So I was like, “Well, you know”, since this opportunity came up with the Manitoba Arts Council to put on an exhibit, I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I do this? ?’ The idea of centricity focused on the pandemic – my experience of the pandemic. And I’m an optimist, because in part (I’ll give part of it) I said my optimism prevails.”
She explains, if you’ve never seen a presentation like this, “Have a pop or a coffee, or whatever – whatever suits you – get a decent sized monitor and come for a spin For people who already had a taste with me, the exhibition team told me what I managed to do, it was to recreate this discomfort that we all experience overnight: “ What’s going on? The chaos, the iterative nature of the pandemic, of all the pandemic issues – the funding, everything that people were going through.”
Hathaway notes that animations are involved.
“A lot of my work now is in animation, and it’s in various forms,” Hathaway continues. “It’s really hard to describe. You have to see it, and I think it’s kind of like unwrapping a present. You just want to let it flow. It’s a fun video. It’s eight minutes. It’s definitely animated. There’s a part where you’ll see a whole display of stills, but it’s all framed and contained in other animation. It’s a journey. It’s an experience, and I can’t wait. people leave comments on the channel because it will be on a YouTube channel under Prairie Fusion Arts And there is room for comments — yes or no?
She says more screenings like this could very likely follow.
“It’s the first and I love that premise,” adds Hathaway. “It’s an exclusive first. It lasts three months. So it’s a pretty nice extended stay.”
As a journalist, I had the chance to see art, and it was both haunting and extremely artistic, while still having this sense of hope, as Hathaway explained. It was just the perfect length to watch, and I think it should win some real short film festival awards! You won’t forget it after viewing the work.
Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment gallery operations manager Lee Beaton says there have been several virtual exhibitions during the pandemic, but this one is different.
“Carmen did everything instead of us having to put the artwork, take pictures and put the artwork on the virtual platform,” says Beaton. “Carmen has recreated her own virtual exhibit. We’re really excited to share it with people. I mean, people are going to have different reactions when they see it and watch it, and we want to hear those reactions. We want to hear :” know, or give us a call or stop and say, “Hey, you know what? I watched that and that’s what I felt.”
She notes that they will share this information with Hathaway so she knows how her work has impacted others.
Beaton adds that for any artists who think outside the box without, necessarily, a painting on the wall, and who perhaps think more digitally, there is definitely potential for other similar exhibitions to come.
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