Psychic Friends

Andrew Harwood

March 20 - April 18, 2009

Automatiste Mandala #6
Installation view
Psychic Friends #2

Automatiste Mandala #6

Automatiste Mandala #6 , 2009
hot glue, sequins, glitter
6/20 unique works
diameter 24 inches

Psychic Friends is part installation, part performance as well as image-based works. This show deals with notions of celebrity, questions of spirituality, social connection as well as formalist considerations.

There are sequin-covered portraits of celebrities who have turned into psychics as their careers in the limelight have faded. There are also psychics who have become celebrities due to their "talents". Such celebrities portrayed with sequins in Psychic Friends are Dionne Warwick, Latoya Jackson and Canada's own Jo Jo Sevard. All are featured prominently in this show.

Harwod has produced a short video called Depression Era Hypnosis using found footage shot directly from broadcast television featuring a little girl and a lot of hoola hoops set to an instrumental version of Madonna's Everbody. The work is a kaleidoscope of colours, but is also reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis in parts. The other video work is called Happy Sparkle Hope and uses footage of the stage and lamps from the Academy Awards.

Mdme. Zsa Zsa, The $2 Psychic is a character Harwood has developed for an ongoing series of performances. Mdme Zsa Zsa gives "psychic readings" to the public as a kind of drag social relativist performance, saying "I tell people that I am 3% psychic and generally just give common sense advice - I make it pretty clear that I am not really psychic. Yet people tend to suspend their disbelief at this point and carry on as though this were an actual reading. This performance is more about making connection and is in measure social experiment, unconventional therapy and sometimes confessional."

This work will be performed at the opening reception as well as Saturday afternoons during the run of the show.

"The installation component of Psychic Friends will consist of lots of light coloured tulle stapled to the ceiling and walls. Dark purple sequined wallpaper, black lights and a variety of types of purple lights from Xmas lights to the newer energy efficient bulbs (coil shaped) in purple, as well as the use of neon colours (in some of the art) that will create an atmosphere of an alternative drag salon, one where a psychic drag queen could channel the universe."

"I am interested in exploring the paradox of what might be considered, in spirituality, a "con" by some and by others the "truth" and the differences and similarities between con-artist and artist. I am also questioning my own time in the limelight, so to speak, and turning myself into a "celebrity psychic".

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council through the Exhibition Assistance Program.

Andrew Harwood would also like to personally thank the following individuals, organizations and businesses for their inspiration and support of this show. FASTWURMS, Allyson Mitchell, Kate Monro, Randle & Teresa Harwood, RM Vaughan, Margot Keith, Carla Garnet, A Space Gallery, Deborah Hahn, John McLachlin, Paul Petro, Nick & Sheila Pye, Andrew Cecil and Woody's/Sailor for the loan of the amazing holiday lights!

Andrew Harwood 2009