NO JOB MORE DANGEROUS – AN EXHIBITION ON TWO SITES
June 17 – August 1, 2015
“Being” is sometimes seen as an automatic state requiring little effort. We exist in an age where technology and excess have lulled some into the delusion that living a life is easy. Granted, with a reduced effort required for providing safe shelter and avoidance of death from starvation and hostile forces, modern living has allowed many of us the opportunity to occupy our time with ever greater numbers and types of distractions. From the ubiquity of electronic babysitters to pursuits such as running away from imaginary hostile forces on treadmills and trails or moving balls around various types of combat fields, we occupy ourselves with busy work. This privileged conceit is neither universal nor guaranteed, but in our world of Canadian excess it seems to be common. We buy and do, like and surf, tweet and gram all the world around us while becoming increasingly disengaged from our own perceptual and emotional existence. There is a sense that we are very good at existing and far less good at being.
What does it mean, then, to strive towards meaningful engagement as a life’s pursuit? How would one go about chasing the depths, rather than the surface sparkle, of a life on an ongoing and committed basis? What would it be like to feel ones way through the world, nerve endings raw and open, and to try to influence others to live their lives in similar ways? Risking emotional and existential connection, creating opportunities to be found wanting and in adequate, taking risks and failing, getting hurt and truly feeling the wounds before concealing and ignoring them: these are the lessons of living a life. These are the concerns of Royden Mills’ No Job More Dangerous – An Exhibition on Two Sites.
Living, Creating, Inspiring and Teaching are cornerstones of being for Royden Mills, a near lifelong Edmonton area artist and instructor in Art and Design at University of Alberta. Mills had been trained in a school of rigidly formal ideology, has kept some of that dogma as true to him and opened himself to the influences of other mindsets. He has nurtured generations of young people in art and creativity and has been as available to learning from them as he is eager to teach. Mills has placed himself in the dangerous position of living, rather than existing, with all the joy and hurt that entails. Mills worked for British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, was admonished by him for making things well yet leaving out the riches of his own life and experience, and made choices to forge his own path through the wilds of a creative practice.
Royden Mills has shown widely across North America and has public and private artworks placed in London ON, upstate NY, California and throughout Alberta including upcoming public artwork in Edmonton’s Terwilligar Park on the river valley. He continues to learn and share with young artists at University of Alberta, and mentor them into successes long after their formal relationship is done. Mills has won national teaching awards and seen his students receive prestigious awards and exhibitions at the International Sculpture Centre and Franconia Sculpture Park in Minneapolis MN.
We are thrilled to be able to present, in conjunction with Royden Mills’ work, a parallel group exhibition of Mills’ past students from the U of A curated by Justine Hartlieb-Power and graciously hosted by Epcor Tower.
INSTALLATION IMAGES – ROYDEN MILLS