Call and Response Art by Frances Hahn & Alisa McRonald

Call and Response Art by Frances Hahn & Alisa McRonald

August 3 – 26, 2019

Frances and Alisa have been working on a call and response project for several years. Starting with a succession of two distinct visual pieces and culminating in co-creating several collaborative mixed media pieces. This form is borrowed from music, most notable in historical work songs and originates at its most basic from human communication. It has been used widely by artists as a means of discourse.

The artists set out with very few parameters; only that they each respond to the other’s mark making. Sometimes ideas and works in progress are shared, other times final works are revealed as complete. In the final phase this call and response project, they are working back and forth on the same piece, contributing small areas of colour and/or texture at a time.

During the course of the project, any sense of linearity has been lost and the pieces are cross-pollinating beyond the initial structure of the project creating a visual dialogue, as well as a private inter-personal dialogue.

Alisa McRonald is a devoted maker of things. Art school was not her thing and she left in 1995. Since then, and among other things, she has studied tapestry weaving under Ixchel Suarez and handspinning and textile dyeing techniques at the Haliburton School of Art.

She was one-half of dynamo, a multi-disciplinary textile, performance, animation, you-name-it duo from 1997-2008. She was the mayor of dynamo-ville, in actuality a shop/installation/performance space located in NYC from 1997-1999. Dynamo went to Tokyo in 1999 and 2001 for two large-scale performances at HaNNa Gallery before establishing themselves in LA from 2001-2008.

She has exhibited and performed both nationally and internationally including a solo show of art dolls based on female musicians at Capacity 3 Gallery (2017), a community earth loom project at the Guelph Enabling Garden (2015), yarn bombing the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto (2010). Her work has been featured in several publications including “By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art” (2006, Princeton Architectural).

In addition to maintaining her art practice in Guelph, Alisa also acts as a creative mentor and teacher/facilitator via various organizations including Art Not Shame. She unites her entrenchment in pop culture with her unparalleled sewing/sculpture/story-telling skills. She is inspired by other handmade items such as quilts and afghans for her, these items have a feeling of nostalgia and comfort to them. In addition, Alisa often uses recycled materials to lend to the nostalgic feel as well as fit with her philosophy of re-using what she has.

Frances studied English Literature and Art History at McGill University before teaching for a year in Italy where she fell in love with design. A graduate of Environmental Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Frances worked in architectural offices from 2003-2012, on large scale commercial and broadcast design. Currently, Frances teaches at OCADU in Environmental Design and works in the field of interior design. Her artwork is in private collections across Canada, the US and UK and part of the public collection of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Frances’s visual work is either figurative or abstract landscape. The common subject is imagined memory. Future, past and fantasy have equal weight. The lens of nostalgia casts a foggy dream-like appearance. The subtext comments on play, pastime and gender. In this vision, figures are simplified or distorted so as to emphasize gesture as if in a memory.