Domestic Brew: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Domestic Brew: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Shake-n-Make (Liss Platt and Claudia B. Manley)

August 31 – September 16, 2017
Opening Reception: August 31, 7:00 – 9:30 pm

Domestic Brew: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall is a craft/sculpture/installation/billboard project that seeks to provide audiences with an opportunity to reconsider the social function of beer, approach beer as an art medium, and reference, re-work, and contrast home hobby crafts of the ‘70s (domestic, debased, amateur, feminine) with minimalist sculpture (public, vaunted, professional, masculine).

While beer, as a social lubricant, can lead to volatile situations, what isn’t commonly known is that beer can actually be chemically unstable. For Domestic Brew Shake-n-Make has home-brewed some of their beer to heighten volatility as a way to explore themes of stability and instability and the hidden danger in the ubiquitous and seemingly benign. The wall of beer in plexiglass boxes will appear monolithic, stable, and under control. In actuality, any of the bottles could erupt without notice, and the beer wall will change over the course of the exhibition. Visitors will be confronted with something that seems both benign (familiar brown beer bottles in hand-made cozies) but imposing (a wall of 99 plexiglass boxes) and question why some of the bottles are broken and some remain intact. Viewers might even witness an explosion. Part kinetic/ephemeral sculpture, part science experiment, and part home hobby craft, the installation component of Domestic Brew challenges viewers to reconcile the precious and comforting (plexiglass display cases featuring bottles adorned with crocheted cozies) with the violent (post-explosion shards of glass and beer-soaked yarn) and imposing (a massive wall formed by the stacked plexi-glass boxes).

The summer heat in the courtyard at Hamilton Artists’ Inc. will maximize the potential for exploding beer while simultaneously referencing a beer garden, a place that suggests a particular engagement with beer. The beer garden theme extends to the billboard, which provides a ‘garden’ of beer-cap flowers, transforming and monumentalizing the bottle caps. The billboard will provide audiences and passersby with an opportunity to reconsider familiar and commonplace objects while encouraging them to find aesthetic pleasure in materials destined for the landfill. Part of referencing ‘70s bottle cap art (used to decorate hats, coasters, and furniture) is to connect the environmental and economic concerns of that time with our contemporary cultural moment.

For more information on the Cannon Project Wall installation, Domestic Brew: Craft Beer Garden, presented alongside this installation, please click here.

This exhibition is accompanied by a critical essay written by Stephanie Vegh, which can be accessed HERE.

Shake-n-Make is a queer art collective (members Claudia B. Manley and Liss Platt) based in Hamilton, Ontario that endeavours to elevate home hobby crafts from the 70s into a playful and critical contemporary art practice. Shake-n-Make’s first solo show, I Can’t Stop This Feeling: Crisis, Comfort, and Craft was exhibited at MKG127 in Toronto in 2009. Since then, the collective has exhibited at numerous venues in Ontario, including The Art Gallery of York University (Toronto), Rodman Hall Art Gallery (St. Catherines), b Contemporary (Hamilton, ON), and The Artists Newsstand (Toronto). Shake-n-Make has also participated in A Handmade Assembly in Sackville, New Brunswick, as well as Supercrawl and TH&B2 in Hamilton and received two visual artist grants from the Ontario Arts Council. Shake-n-Make is represented by MKG127 in Toronto.

Shake-n-Make would like to thank the following volunteers for their contribution to this project:

Lisa Bicum
Anjanette Bunce
Deb Jonckheer
Trisha Lavoie
Julie Nelson
Céline Sibley
Abi Slone
Acrylic Display
Shake-n-Make would also like to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Arts Research Board, McMaster University, and Collective Arts for the donation of bottles for the project.

Stephanie Vegh is an artist and writer who studied Studio Art and Comparative Literature at McMaster University, and completed her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited her work in the UK and Canada, and publishes art writing and criticism both locally and nationally. She maintains an active profile in regional arts advocacy, and currently serves as Manager, Media and Communications at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. 

© 2020 Hamilton Artists Inc. All rights reserved.