Monday, December 11, 2017

Camosun College artist in residence compares moshing men and fish

August 28, 2015 by Tori Dmytar, contributing writer

Interesting things are always going on around Camosun’s campuses; this year’s artist in residence exhibition is sure to be a good example of that. Current Van den Brink resident Ishe Barrett is a 2014 Camosun Visual Arts graduate and was selected from students and alumni to put on an exhibition.

Barrett’s project is based in photography, which is her main medium. However, she says that if she were to be representing something three-dimensionally, she would be using ceramics. She says that diversity is one of the many tools Camosun gave her to succeed.
A sampling of Ishe Barrett’s work, on display at Camosun (photo provided).

A sampling of Ishe Barrett’s work, on display at Camosun (photo provided).

“I think the main thing for me,” says Barrett, “and one of the reasons the Visual Arts program was so valuable, is that it helped me to develop a skill set that allows me to execute an idea in whatever medium will best communicate the concept I’m working with.”

Her project Alpha Male/Betta Fish is about the similarities between the body language of men in mosh pits at concerts and the aggression of betta fish. This is all part of a larger concept Barrett has been working on about how society views men as a culture and how they are depicted in photography, she explains.

“There is a visual similarity between the repetitive and ornamental nature of the movements of a betta fish and those of men who participate in mosh pits at punk and metal shows,” says Barrett. “By presenting these photos and the accompanying video work, the models are presented for the viewer’s gaze in a way that hopes to mimic the experience of watching fish in a tank.”

Barrett says she has always had an interest in visual culture, ideas, and how humans express themselves. She ultimately decided to go to school for art because she spent a lot of time working in jobs that didn’t satisfy the need to express herself.

“I was older when I made the decision to leave the workforce and pursue an art education, and it has been a really positive experience for me,” she says. “I am excited about the goals I am setting for myself and the new way I get to interact with my social and academic communities.”

There are two artist in residence opportunities at Camosun. One is the Artist in Residency program, which allows professional artists to come work in Camosun’s studios, and the other is the Van den Brink residency, which is available to second-year students in the Visual Arts Program or to any alumni from the past three years. Barrett had to submit a proposal for the project that included a portfolio, a timetable, and a budget.

Barrett has described her time at Camosun as “life-changing” and says she can’t wait to continue her education in September at the University of Victoria.

“I came into the college atmosphere as a person who really didn’t understand the value of the academic experience and just how amazing it can be,” she says. “The faculty and staff have been so generous with their support; they have challenged me to reach beyond my comfort zone.”

Alpha Male/Betta Fish
6-9 pm September 8-11
Room 116, Young Building, Camosun College Lansdowne campus



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