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Divya Mehra
Winnipeg, Q
Neighborhood: Flatbush


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September-12-2010 – September-17-2010

Hendershot Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Digression, a group show featuring works by artists Chitra Ganesh, Liz Magic Laser, Simone Leigh, Divya Mehra, Justine Reyes, Kenya (Robinson), and Mary A. Valverde. Digression marks the inaugural show at Hendershot Gallery’s new location on the Lower East Side at 195 Chrystie Street. The exhibition will be open to the public from September 12 to October 17, 2010, with an opening reception on September 12 from 6-9pm.

In everyday speech, digression is often something we apologize for, as it is construed as a problematic accident, a divergence from the main point that takes away meaning and dilutes the concentrated ‘essence’ of a lecture, a sermon, an interview, a musical theme, or a work of visual art. However, in literature and formal public oration, digression is traditionally defined as an intentional change of subject, an anecdote, for example, that is marked by its exceptionality in the context of a larger, more linear narrative. As linguist Sandra Schor wrote in her essay “Reclaiming Digression,” digression is “something we encounter along a formally composed, carefully networked route of discourse [that] takes hold of our attention, attracting us not by how adroitly it contributes to the development of the argument, for it is rarely an element of argumentation, but by how powerfully it arrests us in its own form, its own point, its own argument within an argument. Imagination is evident when we devilishly wander off to enjoy an element for its own sake and not for its immediate service to the larger work.” Just as a map does not always bring us to the most exciting place, digression can thrust us into a space of the unknown, the unfamiliar, a place that is unexpected and perhaps even a bit frightening simply because it is alien. Within digression lie the hidden stories, those that only come to light by an act of moving away from ‘the subject at hand’ — whether that is a conversation topic that one wishes to avoid or the entire accepted canon of literature or fine art.

In post-modern fiction, authors use digression as a way of distancing the reader from the fiction and creating a greater sense of play. In the same way, the artists in this show each use digression in their work as a means of preventing the traditional linear functioning of fiction’s illusions and as textual and literary modes of approach to cultural and feminine analysis. The exhibition Digression at Hendershot Gallery takes its title from an interview with artist Kara Walker in which she says “I’m sorry. I just digress. That’s all I do.” The artists in this show access the hidden stories of their cultures and their identities through digression, pulling their viewers away from the fiction inherent in social norms and enabling us to interact, even play, without the proverbial map. We follow their alternative paths away from the general and end up somewhere we never expected to be: surprised, destabilized. Schor makes the point that “generalizing is an act of aggression. In fact, the connection between digression and aggression is often more than incidental; every digression violates the reader’s” –or, in this case, the viewer’s—“habit and intent, at the same time that it fulfills the possibility of a rendezvous with the devil.” We invite the viewers of Digression to be flexible, imaginative ‘readers’ of the show, to take pleasure in the danger and risk of “limitless aside,” to “arrest and apprehend ideas hitherto unconnectable, [to act] out of an unconscious indiscretion that is a kind of exhilarating free fall in an otherwise determined universe.” Digressers are like dreamers, creating imaginative acts without censors. Here, in the realm of digression, anything is possible.

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September-10-2010 – October-16-2010

With TURF WAR., Divya Mehra veers away from the performance video she’s become known for and furthers her ongoing critique of cross-cultural appropriation, this time through disemboweling signs of wealth and power. This concise exhibit showcases an exploration through sculpture, text work, and installation, revealing the economic underpinnings of personal and cultural interaction. Who gets to benefit from which territory? Who gains access into which lands? How does this power transfer from one side to the next? And who is on whose side anyway?

Divya Mehra is a multimedia artist who recently earned her MFA from Columbia University, New York, and BFA with Honors from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art. In her practice Mehra explores issues of cultural displacement and hybridization, deploying a humorous perspective in the execution of the projects. Mehra’s work has been included in a number of exhibitions and screenings across North America and overseas, most notably at Plug In ICA, Queens Museum (NY), The Images Festival, and A Space (Toronto), Groupe Intervention Video (Montreal), and Gallery OED (Cochin, India).

The exhibition, TURF WAR., by Divya Mehra has been commissioned by PLATFORM with financial assistance provided by Winnipeg Arts Council’s New Creations Fund and is curated by J.J Kegan McFadden.

Please join us Friday, 10 September for the opening reception of TURF WAR. beginning at 7PM, refreshments will be served.

PLATFORM acknowledges the support of its membership, Board of Directors, staff, and partners in presentation. Operating and project assistance for PLATFORM programming is provided by: Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, The Winnipeg Foundation, and The W.H. & S.E. Loewen Foundation.

For more information about this exhibition or other PLATFORM programming, please contact the Centre directly:

PLATFORM | 121-100 Arthur Street [Artspace Building] | Winnipeg, Manitoba | R3B 1H3 | 204.942.8183 |

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