Friday 16 January 2015

SMAC Fest 2015/SHIFTERS artist profiles part two: Luke Grandmount and Michael Burtch


 b. Sault Ste Marie,1983 
Studied English at Laurentian University/Algoma U campus 
graduated with Bachelor of Arts (honours) in 2006
went to Thunder Bay in 2007 to study Film Production,
graduating from Confederation College in 2009.
From 2010 - 2013 worked at a camera equipment manufacturing company (Cinevate) in marketing, creating instructional videos and going to trade-shows.
December 2013 left that job to go back to freelancing and have the freedom to re-focus on storytelling and creating films


Hodid you get involved in SMAC Fest? 

I'm a founding member of an arts collective in Thunder Bay (North Light Media Colelctive) that benefitted from the same Ontario Arts Council funding that got SMAC its start, so I've been following the group's progress since they started it. I'm thrilled to be able to take part in the event now that I'm back home (more or less). 

 Tell me about the film you'll be showing this weekend.

I've been pretty fortunate so far with this film and the festivals it has been accepted into. It has shown
in film festivals in Canada, the United States, and overseas in Scotland and Romania, but I wasn't yet able to screen it back home - until now.
The Last Straw is a hybrid live-action and animation short film set on a farm in Northern Ontario. The film combines live action elements with puppeteering and digital animation. The short received CTV Best in Shorts Best Animation award in the 2013.

What's the film about?
Scarecrow stands guard with his only friend, a crotchety old crow, perched at his shoulder. The unlikely duo are in breach of Scarecrow’s duty to protect the field, and their friendship hasn’t gone unnoticed by The Farmer. With his crop at risk, The Farmer erects a newer and much scarier scarecrow to ward off crows. Fearing forced retirement, Scarecrow takes matters into his own hands to deal with the new threat. Will Scarecrow find common ground with the new guy or will this be the last straw?

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently in post-production on my next short film, The Maltese Guinea Pig. This will be completed in the coming months and I'm hoping to find success in the film festival circuit again. Although modestly budgeted, I was able to get some funding via crowdsourcing online with Indiegogo (


Retired Curator/Director of the Art Gallery of Algoma,
Research Associate with Nordik Institute at Algoma University
Sculptor and Sound Artist
Solo exhibition May-July 2012 at the Art Gallery of Algoma
Extensive exhibition history
Allied Arts award-winning Sault Waterfront Sound Sculpture:

Burtch has published articles and catalogues on artists including:
J. Barry
David Bierk
Ken Danby
John Howlin
Curatorial Essay in the Art Gallery of Algoma’s “One hundred years of art in the Sault”
Author of ‘Hymn to the Sun’, a book on the subject of artist Jack Bush’s early work,
which accompanied a national tour of the artist’s work.

Currently involved in a major research project w/ Gary and Joanie McGuffin,
a film on the Group of Seven; produced by White Pine Pictures, to be released by TVO

 Artist Statement:

My work revolves around the concept of the human body as an extension of consciousness,
consciousness as an extended, infinite field,
 consciousness as the generative force of all being.
The implicit interweaving of mind, matter, spirit, body, and consciousness
informs existence and permeates our experience of being in the world.
Replication, entropy, the mirror image and light as a metaphor for consciousness underscore my visual and my sonic explorations.
I am fascinated by the primal aspects of physical gesture as archetypal symbol,
simultaneously personal yet universal.
In many ways the sculpted bodies are topographical entities, landscapes,
blurring the distinction between nature and culture, male and female, self and other.

from the artist's website:

Throughout human history, 
the body has been the most resonant yet enigmatic symbol of our innermost being.
 It evokes fear, awe, pathos, the knowledge of mortality and our search for immortality, sexuality, sensuality and all the complex layers of meaning that lie between. 
Our fascination with the representation of the human figure 
is rooted in its ability to hold a mirror to our shifting, fragmented notions of self.
 It offers an elusive and unstable connection

 between the primal self and the public persona.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, 

the difficulty in locating the figures' precise significance 
in our dedicated understanding of existence, 
the figure still holds, and will always hold, its obsessive power.

My work is a continuing search for the physical signs of our spiritual state. 

The nude is both a timeless and time bound vehicle for that search.

details and full view of "Bodies in Motion"

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