Set against luminous prairie landscapes, Amalie Atkins’ multi-layered films present bittersweet sagas of grief, joy and transformation that linger in the memory like half-remembered fairy tales. Characters in the guise of wolves, bears, owls and other creatures populate her imaginative worlds and engage with human protagonists, enacting scenarios that are both everyday and otherworldly. In her most recent project, we live on the edge of disaster and imagine we are in a musical, Atkins introduces an all-female cast of characters, including two-headed sisters, a troupe of roller-skating Valkyries, braid harvesters, and a set of oracular twins. With a background in textiles, Atkins’ films have an immediate tactile appeal, which is manifest in the handmade fabric costumes and props, as well as in the intimate felt pavilions which she has created to house her projections. This catalogue, the first to focus on Amalie Atkins’ work, features more than fifty colour illustrations of her films, photographs and installations, as well as insightful essays by Timothy Long of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Grace Kehler of McMaster University, and award-winning poet Sylvia Legris. Together they create a conversation around gift-giving, craft, DIY aesthetics, and the wish for places to belong in a mobile world. A special feature of the book is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the artist’s studio-garage where Atkins’ visions come to life.
Timothy Long is Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan and has been responsible for a series of landmark exhibitions of Saskatchewan art. His interests include the mimetic theory of René Girard, and interdisciplinary approaches to ceramics, film, dance and performance art.
Grace Kehler is an Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, with a specialization in the Victorian era. Her ongoing research includes affect theory and trauma, contemporary Canadian literature (art), and the vexed relationships of Victorians with the physical, the sensate, and the evolutionary.
Sylvia Legris is the 2014 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Saskatchewan Artist Award, and 2012 recipient of the Victor Martin Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding achievement by a mid-career artist in writing and publishing. Her work has been published in such places as The New Yorker, The Capilano Review, and Conjunctions.