Roses are blue, violets are…?


by Faith Rahman

Stumbling upon the dimly lit room unawares, at first glance the average passerby may find themselves intrigued or impassive – or strangely enough, somewhere on a spectrum between both. Here, the curious are rewarded by increased curiosity.

Greeted by a seemingly ordinary yet exceptionally eclectic and compelling collection of objects and videos, the exhibit evokes an eerie nostalgia, presenting complexity of emotions and self-discovery in all of its unadorned, unadulterated glory.

Duct taped high on a wall are colouring pages of a coconut painting on a beach. In the centre, lays a drum set embellished with the original Disney characters. Tucked into the back corner is a rack of clothes, each piece with its own unapologetic personality. The back wall features snippets and chapters of an unfolding story through multiple videos, the recurring items found in the room highlighted on screen. The room next door plays the final chapter in a feature film. To the left in the main gallery, a neon dolphin sign, a mysterious blue liquid sitting in a cocktail glass, and a bowl of fortune cookies, await amongst other souvenirs, beckoning the visitor to listen to the whisper of their stories and daring them to question it all.

The Impossible Blue Rose, an installation-meets-feature-film by Lisa Lipton, is divided into nine chapters and held at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG), revealing its secrets as much as the visitor probes.

Transporting visitors to a universe where blue roses exist, the artist along with her alter ego, portrayed as Frankie on screen, embark on a journey both physical and emotional over three and a half years. Both artist and visitors to the exhibit travel to Los Angeles, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, and Kailua in Hawaii to name a few, through various video performances including a variety of drumming, dancing, and theatre.

Hailing from the Maritimes, Lipton is currently in Calgary and has presented her works internationally.

As art always does, this one invites interpretation as the emotions are as much part of the art as the objects themselves.

The Impossible Blue Rose along with Lipton’s solo exhibition Chapter VI: Greysville showcased separately at Hamilton Artists Inc., will be open until Oct. 27, 2018.


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