The Lecture

/ Opening

The Alliance for French & American Relations shall be constituted as hereinafter provided and shall have for its objects the establishment of confidence and friendly relations among the nations of France and the United States, in securing unity of action and sympathy in matters of common interest among them, and the building up of an Alliance that recognizes mutual assistance in the honorable labors and aspirations of life, devotion to the cultivation of the intellect, unsullied friendship and unfaltering fidelity, as objects worthy of the highest aim and purpose of associated effort.

Liberté, Tolérance, Indépendance

Western Front Exhibitions is pleased to present The Lecture, an exhibition by Vancouver-based artists and collaborators Dan Starling and Rachelle Sawatsky, on behalf of the fictional group, the Alliance for French & American Relations.

The Alliance for French and American Relations aims to promote reconciliation between the two nations, with an emphasis on the exploration of their mutual concerns. For this installation, The Western Front will become the temporary meeting room for the Alliance, where one can view archival footage of a recent lecture and information session on the history of conflict between France and America. This lecture aims to promote a potential reconciliation between the two countries through a greater appreciation of post-war art. The Alliance’s most recent newsletter, which features articles from some of its best-known members and long-time supporters, will be available to take home, and the organization’s mural, which through iconic images, tells the story of the emergence of the Alliance, and related ephemera including a carved wooden sculpture inscribed with the Alliance’s motto, transcribed above, will also be on view.

The exhibition and recreation of the Alliance’s meeting room calls upon the Western Front’s own former history as a secret society—the building is formerly home to another fraternal organization, the Knights of Pythias.

This exhibition is representative of Sawatsky and Starling’s ongoing interest in the ways in which unbridled artistic self-expression undergoes processes of legitimization in contemporary art. The Lecture follows the Alliance’s successful 2006 publication, How to Write a Book Of, available through Projectile Publishing.

Rachelle Sawatsky is a Vancouver based artist and writer who graduated from Emily Carr Institute in 2005 where she received the Helen Pitt Award. She has exhibited her work in Vancouver, Montreal and Barcelona and has written articles and interviews for C Magazine, Artspeak Gallery and Access Artist Run Centre.

Dan Starling graduated from Emily Carr Institute in 2005 and has shown his work in Montreal at Articule and Werner Whitman, and in Vancouver at Access and the Vancouver Public Library. He has published articles and interviews inPyramid Power magazine, and has recently contributed an artist Index to the Fillip Review. His solo show Malcolm X / J.D. Salinger is on view at the Richmond Art Gallery from March 8 – April 20, 2008.