Saskatchewan Maritime Museum
May 23 - September 16, 2017
Kenderdine Art Gallery
Exhibition: June 16 - August 19, 2017
Artist residency:May 23–June 15
Artist Todd Gronsdahl will be working in the Kenderdine Art Gallery on a site-specific installation that will unfold from May 23 -June 15. Visitors are welcome to engage with the artist during this process.
Leah Taylor, Curator.
Friday, June 16, 7:30 Pm
Thurs, June 8, 12 Noon, Gordon Snelgrove Gallery
Todd Gronsdahl’s interdisciplinary practice challenges truth, fiction and the construction of historical narratives. Saskatchewan Maritime Museum is an immersive installation, employing irony to highlight the randomness of museum and archive logic. By playing, tampering and reconfiguring archival documentation, Gronsdahl intentionally legitimizes mythologies, loosely retracing residual marks of past events.
Utilizing pragmatic materials, Gronsdahl’s vernacular expresses a prairie folk-art sentiment. The conflation between the art objects, real archival materials and the invented artifacts, evokes a subtle interplay between truth and fiction. A thin veil of distrust and exaggerated conspiracy theory lingers throughout the “museum,” ultimately problematizing the selectivity of written historical knowledge.
Saskatchewan Maritime Museum focuses on three mythological stories conspired from the local surrounding waterways (versus the sea). Gronsdahl proposes specific ahistoricities, chock-full of contradictory evidence suggestive of aquatic adventures. Consequently, it is imbued with skepticism, sarcasm and humour, and ultimately one is left to contemplate the need for the Saskatchewan Maritime Museum to even exist.
About the Artist
Todd Gronsdahl is an artist from Saskatchewan, working primarily in sculpture, installation and drawing. Through the use of humour and narrative, Gronsdahl's work complicates official histories and works to legitimize mythologies. Informed by folk art and self-taught art practioners, Gronsdahl treats his subject matter with a rural sensibility. Through a practical repurposing of vernacular forms and found materials, coupled with an intuitive approach to building, his work often has an unrefined or pragmatic aesthetic. Gronsdahl's sculptures and drawings are charged with narrative potential. Each project emerges from invented stories and colorful characters that speak to his experience. His artwork is an enactment of these elaborate fictions with his sculptures, in particular, functioning not unlike museum replicas or artifacts. This work is a Canadian heritage moment gone wrong, or perhaps, righting the official record through a bit of mischief and humour. Beneath its charming folksy veneer, this work also touches on a history of rural alienation-a deep distrust of government, and a legacy of commodification of the Canadian west.