May 3 at 7.30pm *at Expessions Cafe – 544 Ward st – Artist talk: Ian Johnston, visual artist and City of Nelson Cultural Ambassador
May 10 at 7.30pm – Book launch: Nicola Harwood, Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired! with special guest Michael V. Smith
May 11 at 7.30pm – Artist talk: Mitchell Scott, writer and publisher of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine
May 18 at 7.30pm – Crime Time in Nelson presented by mystery & crime fiction authors Sam Wiebe, Deryn Collier, Dietrich Kalteis, Linda L. Richards and RM Greenaway
Oxygen Art Centre is pleased to present an eclectic line up for its latest presentation series, Art Space Series, that begins in May. Visual artist and City of Nelson Cultural Ambassador Ian Johnston will open the series on May 3 at 7.30pm. Johnston who is a stalwart of the Nelson art scene; a founder of Blue Night, chair of Oxygen’s exhibition committee, mentor to many and a role model for professional art practices, will share his latest art adventures and discuss his new body of work called Fine Line.
The next three presentations are of the literary persuasion. On May 10 at 7.30pm the illustrious and multi faceted Nicola Harwood returns to Nelson, this time to launch her new book Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired! Joining her is Michael V. Smith a writer, filmmaker, performance artist and teacher of creative writing in the interdisciplinary program of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan. On May 11 at 7.30pm Oxygen is thrilled to present Mitchell Scott, writer and Editor-In-Chief of the award winning Kootenay Mountain Culture and Coast Mountain Culture Magazines. Then on May 18 at 7.30pm Oxygen will host Crime Time in Nelson, an evening with five of BC’s best mystery & crime fiction authors: Sam Wiebe, Deryn Collier, Dietrich Kalteis, Linda L. Richards and RM Greenaway.
Art Space Series wraps up on May 20 at 7.30pm with an Artist talk by the multi talented Rhoneil Eurchuk. Both musician and visual artist, Eurchuk will discuss her new work Nature//Cosmos that tells the story of one lunar year of life, death, healing, and resurrection. The work, which includes a projected film component, will be touring this summer including a performance at Oxygen Art Centre in July.
Oxygen Art Centre is located at 320 Vernon street in Nelson (enter from the back alley). All events are by donation and everyone is welcome. (Recommended donation is $5.)
Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust and Nelson and District Arts Council, and organizational support from British Columbia Arts Council and Province of British Columbia.
More information and artist biographies:
May 3 at 7.30pm –
Ian Johnston is an artist based in Nelson, BC. Born in Moose Factory Ontario and raised in Ottawa, Johnston studied architecture at Algonquin College, and Carleton University in Ottawa and with the University of Toronto at Paris, France. Prior to opening his Nelson studio in 1996 he spent five years working at the Bauhaus Academy in post Berlin Wall East Germany. At the Bauhaus, together with two architects, he developed and facilitated a series of workshops around themes of urban renewal and public intervention in a tumultuous time of cultural transformation. His recent body of work, Reinventing Consumption, is comprised of three large-scale installations that explore our relationship to material culture. Johnston’s has participated in residencies and shown his work in galleries in Asia, Europe and the United States.
(About: Fine Line)
At the End of the Tunnel is the first in a new body of work by Ian Johnston called Fine Line. At the End of the Tunnel was an installation made specifically for the Dawson Creek Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada. The exhibition installed in the Illges Gallery is adapted to the space of the gallery that is vastly different from the original venue. In this iteration the acoustical qualities and scale of the work in relation to the viewer are further explored. The overall project explores the thin edge between normal and abnormal obsessive behaviours. This is a series that investigates seemingly benign behaviours like collecting, which mutate into devices of self-destruction such as hoarding.
May 10 at 7.30pm –
Nicola Harwood is a writer, theatre and interdisciplinary artist. Her plays and projects are often attempts to unearth the hidden histories of places, women and queers. and her work has been consistently engaged with the troubling notion of home and how its occupation is contested within the body, family, culture and landscape. Current projects include the launch of her memoir about queer family, Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired (2016), a production of her play, Buffalo Girls (2017) with Frank Theatre of Vancouver, BC and Temple of Our Madness (2014-2020), a series of interactive media and sound installations about women, animals and girls. Recent projects include High Muck-a-Muck: Playing Chinese (2014), a 10 artist collaborative interactive media and installation project which she initiated and directed, The Squaw Hall Project (2009-2011), a community engaged theatre and media project which she initiated with urban ink productions of Vancouver and Salmon Row (2011-13), a site-specific play commissioned by Mortal Coil Performance Society of Vancouver. Nicola is a former Executive Director of the artist run Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC and has facilitated many art, writing and theatre projects with youth and within communities through arts organizations.
For full details see www.nicolaharwood.com
(About: Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired)
In the late nineties, Nicola Harwood and her girlfriend moved to San Francisco in order to be at the epicentre of queer culture. Shortly after arriving, they encountered an ad posted in the SF Bay Times
“Wanted: lesbian couple to foster wonderful eleven-year-old African American boy with gender identity issues.”
Impulsively, they decided to answer the ad and offer to foster Antwan, an eleven-year-old transgender child* who had been living in group homes since the age of six. Suffering from post-traumatic stress, numerous disabilities and behaviour issues, Antwan turns out to be not only a severely challenging child, but also an irrepressibly honest and funny one.
Outrageous, sad and very funny, Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired follows the couple as they attempt to build a relationship with Antwan and his world. As the three start to connect across an abyss of trauma and abuse, a relationship develops that challenges each of their notions of race, family and commitment.
Michael V. Smith
Smith’s first novel, Cumberland (Cormorant Books, 2002), was nominated for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. In past years, Smith won the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Award, a Western Magazine Gold Award for Fiction, a number of short film prizes, and was nominated for the Journey Prize. His recent memoir, My Body Is Yours, was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award.
His videos have played around the world, in cities such as Milan, Dublin, Turin, London, New York, Toronto, Paris, Geneva, Berlin, Glasgow, Lisbon, Beirut, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, SF, LA and Bombay. Smith is an MFA grad from UBC’s Creative Writing program.
(About: My Body Is Yours)
My Body Is Yours is a memoir about fathers and sons, breaking out of gender norms, and reconciling with a dangerous childhood. Michael V. Smith is a multihyphenate force of nature: a novelist, poet, improv comic, filmmaker, drag queen, performance artist, and occasional clown. In this, his first work of nonfiction, Michael traces his early years as an inadequate male―a fey kid growing up in a small town amid a blue-collar family; a sissy; an insecure teenager desperate to disappear; and an obsessive writer-performer, drawn to compulsions of alcohol, sex, reading, spending, work, and art as a means to cope and heal.
As an artist whose work focuses on our preconceived notions about the body, Michael questions the very notion of what it means to be human. He also asks: How can we know what a man is? How might understanding gender as metaphor be a tool for a deeper understanding of identity? In coming to terms with his past “failures” at masculinity, and with an aging father he is only beginning to come to know, Michael offers a new way of thinking about breaking out of gender norms, and reconciling with a dangerous childhood.
May 11 at 7.30pm –
Over his 20 year career as a creative professional, Mitchell Scott has worked as a writer, editor, director, creative director, and producer across a number of different genres including magazine publishing, film and web content marketing. He is the acting co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Mountain Culture Group, which publishes Kootenay and Coast Mountain Culture Magazines. He currently lives in Nelson, BC.
May 18 at 7.30pm –
Crime Time in Nelson
Join us for an evening of crime fiction as five of BCs best crime fiction authors share their recent works.
Sam Wiebe’s novel Last of the Independents won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and an Arthur Ellis Award, among other distinctions. His second novel, Invisible Dead, is due for publication this June from Random House Canada. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and SubTerrain, among others.
Deryn Collier is the author of the Bern Fortin novels Confined Space, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel, and Open Secret. Originally from Montreal, she is a graduate of McGill University. After a short career as a federal bureaucrat she ran away to the mountains of British Columbia where she has been ever since. She has worked in a log yard, a brewery, as a doctor recruiter and a communications consultant. She lives in Nelson.
Dietrich Kalteis’s third novel, Triggerfish comes out June 1st, and his fourth, House of Blazes is due in October. His debut novel Ride the Lightning won an Independent Publisher Award, and the National Post calls his second, The Deadbeat Club, ‘a breakout for Kalteis, doing for Vancouver what George V. Higgins did for Boston, and Jean-Claude Izzo does for Marseille.’ Over forty of his short stories have been published internationally, and his screenplay Between Jobs is a past-finalist in the L.A. Screenplay Festival.
Linda L. Richards
Linda L. Richardsis publisher and editor-in-chief of Self-Counsel Press and the author of seven acclaimed novels and five works of non-fiction. She is also the founding editor of January Magazine, one of the Internet’s most respected voices about books and publishing. She lives in Vancouver.
RM Greenaway has worked in nightclubs, darkrooms, and courthouses. She writes the B.C. BLUES crime series, wherein an unharmonious pair of RCMP officers — Dave Leith and Cal Dion — often clash, sometimes cooperate, and usually get the job done. Her first novel, COLD GIRL, winner of the 2014 Arthur Ellis Unhanged award, hit the stands March 2016.
May 20 at 7.30pm –
Rhoneil is an exMontrealer that is now living and making art/music in Nelson, British Columbia. Rhoneil left Montreal to focus on working closely with nature to capture the sonic resonance of wild spaces in her visual art, compositions, recordings, and performances. Rhoneil has toured her original compositions to eight countries, limiting her performances to natural stations, samplers, live percussion, saw, harp, and field recordings of natural sonic
Nature//Cosmos tells the story of one lunar year of life, death, healing, and resurrection – an hour-long piece with thirteen songs. Unlike Rhoneil’s previous two albums, Nature//Cosmos was recorded in a paired down, raw format in her home studio. Rhoneil acted as her own sound engineer and producer, recording one song per lunar cycle for 13 cycles. Rhoneil will be touring the piece, along with a projected film component, during the summer of 2016. The film features the changing landscapes and skyskapes of one lunar year in the Kootenays. You can pre-order the limited press album/songbook at http://invisiblefriends.ca