The Penticton Art Gallery is pleased to present Chance Operations², an exhibition comprised of a series of collaborative drawings, prints and collages created in tandem by Rodney Konopaki and Rhonda Neufeld. The two have worked together since 2007 exploring the act and meaning of collaborative art making through projects that involve sharing, interfering, walking, observing, recording, reflection and dialogue, both in the studio and in a variety of outdoor settings.
The indisputable main theme of Chance Operations² is collaboration, which isn’t something that typically comes to mind when thinking about the solitary working life of artists. This exhibition explores the element of chance in the work of making art. Literally working together they work hand in hand as they explore their environment documenting their journey together through their collaborative drawings and prints that distills visual art down the basic elements of the creative process, mark-making.
Underlying Konopaki and Neufeld’s collaboration is the fascination with the balance between conscious aesthetic decisions and ‘chance operation’ interpreted perhaps most famously by John Cage, but reaching back to Dada and Duchamp. Their works evoke a number of questions about the very nature of making art, authorship and the role that both chance and determinism play in the final image. These works are totally dependent on the physical interaction each has with the other and maps out both their physical and intellectual journey they have shared over the past five years. In doing so they form a diary of their lives exposing an intimacy and sensitivity that pushes the boundaries of collaboration and our understanding of the creative and collaborative process. .
Over the course of their collaboration they have completed two residencies at the Banff Centre in 2008 and 2009 and at St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s, NL in 2010 and have exhibited across Canada. This exhibit serves as a jumping off point and will be an interesting document to come back to as this relationship continues to move forward. It will be interesting to see how this creative collaboration continues to evolve, as does their personal relationship. In our rush to become an ever technologically dependent society the idea of language and communication is being stripped down and personal interaction has been replaced by an increasing number of barriers and devices that serve to only further take away the need for the physical relationship. As time goes on the importance of this exhibit will be come increasingly clear both as a experiment and a societal milepost marking an important point of departure not only for the artists but us as a society.
Rhonda Neufeld is a print media artist who is equally comfortable with lithography, relief, intaglio and screen printing. Her primary investigations are in intaglio, although she also works in drawing and installation. She brings a sensitive approach to her prints and installations which disclose a deep commitment to and love of the land. Her unpretentious and natural approach to making art is rooted in the land of her home near Armstrong, BC and her considerable experience as an apiarist. Her undergraduate degree is from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and her graduate degree is from the University of Regina. Rhonda has taught at the University of Regina, Thompson Rivers University, Kwantlen University College and Alberta College of Art and Design.
Rodney Konopaki explores print media, painting and drawing to create work that he often grounds in anonymous pop culture. These works usually begin with images taken from historical sources, mass media and even material “stolen” from his friends that all find new meaning in unpredictable collisions with new elements. He has been committed to making art in collaborative ventures for his entire life. Early on he performed nationally as a rock musician with a group that also received commissions from the NFB and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. For eleven years, he worked as a Master Printer at Tyler Graphics in New York. His work is included in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, Alberta Foundation for the Artsand the Saskatchewan Arts Board. He is a faculty member teaching print media at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design.