The knives are out at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery and over 130 people showed up on opening night.
Winnipeg artist Jodi Hildebrand’s first solo show – Women Wielding Knives: Exploring Power in Domesticity opened on Nov. 28 for a seven week run. The size of the show, with several dozen new and older paintings, is a departure.
“I’ve only really ever had two or three works in a show,” explains Hildebrand.
“Depending on the painting”, says Hildebrand, “it’s a range of different issues. A critique of consumerism, gender roles, domesticity. The power that lies within, agricultural practices.”
Hildebrand’s colourful and distinctive acrylics are invariably peopled with hard-working women. After all, women are in charge of our food choices, notes Hildebrand (and you can’t help but notice the only male portrayed in the show is eating a hot dog).
Jodi Hildebrand and curator Jaimie Isaac have paired the paintings with recipes and historic snippets gleaned from the Mennonite Heritage Centre’s archives, ranging from famine menu to midwifery to preserves. The famine menu sticks in the mind: “dried pumpkin, dried beets, chaff, dried weeds, ground-up corncobs, dogs, cats, gophers, remains of processed linseed.”
Hildebrand received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba in 2000. Becoming a mother in 2008 drove her awareness of women’s continuing role in food choices. Her women almost always seem to have a knife in hand, if not a garden hoe. Hildebrand’s work has been featured in several group shows, including The Art From the Heart Show and Sale between 2006 and 2013.
On the second level of the Gallery, artist Chantal Mierau’s A Thread, a Thought, a Knot is running concurrently. Mierau uses string, yarn and fabric as a component in her image making. This Winnipeg multi-disciplinary artist “seeks out parallels between knotted thread and thought patterns.”
Women Wielding Knives will be at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery till Jan. 17, open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The Gallery is located in the “south” campus (south side of Grant off Shaftesbury).
Looking ahead, Hildebrand is showing small works at Tara Davis Boutique in the Exchange, opening Fri. Dec. 5. She is also planning to be at Art From the Heart, which has been pushed back from its normal November time slot. It is now reported to be scheduled for February.
All photos by Greg Petzold