Anne Milne

Story by the artist.

I moved to Hamilton from Toronto in 1984. I had already been a member of The Photographers’ Union for several years and had participated in a number of Photo Union exhibitions and several field trips put on by the Hamilton One-Day School of Photography (Love Canal in February 1983 and Upper Ottawa Street Dump in June 1983). In 1993, I also helped to organize an exchange show between The Ed Gallery in Guelph and the Photo Union Gallery. Though I had roots in writing and photography, I had been employed as a broadcast technician since the late 1970s and I continued to work at TV Ontario after I moved to Hamilton. I was also connected with Impulse Magazine in Toronto (1978-1980) and Ed Video in Guelph (1980-1985).

My work in broadcasting translated well to video art and it was really from a video art perspective that I first became aware of the visual arts community in Hamilton. I had met Mike Cartmell, Jewel Foster, and Ted Haines of Zone Cinema prior to moving to Hamilton but was mostly connected to The Photo Union because I liked their open acknowledgment of the relationship between art and politics, and because I love street photography. Several other artists I knew from Guelph also settled in Hamilton in the mid-1980s: Lisa Celotto, Matthew Budden, Joe Wyatt, Nora Hutchinson, and Ray Cinovskis. Though I had stopped making video art, I worked as a production assistant on Peter Karuna’s video, Black on White (1994) and I promoted video, film, and experimental music programming at the Hamilton Artists’ Inc., supporting the real efforts of Ray Cinovskis to represent and grow the media arts in Hamilton. This interest in promoting media arts informed my commitment to archiving recent Hamilton art history. I interviewed Jewel Foster about the history of Zone Cinema (excerpts from the interview were later included in the Defining the Site exhibition in 1995) and I embarked on what turned out to be a very ambitious curatorial project to record the history and activity of the Photo Union Gallery and the founding of NIIPA (Native Indian and Inuit Photographer’s Association). This culminated in the exhibition Photo Re:Union: processing a history at the Hamilton Artists’ Inc. in 1993. I am still grateful for all the help and support I received from the Hamilton Artists’ Inc., the Ontario Arts Council, The Canada Council, and former Photo Union members like Alene Alexanian, Bob Barkwell, John Farr, Jill Glessing, Peter Karuna, M. Simon Levin, Yvonne Maracle, Lynne Sharman, Peter Stevens, Cees Van Gemerden, and many others during this time.

“'The Hamilton One-Day School of Photography Saves the Red Hill Valley' Group Photo", Photo Re: Union, 1993, Hamilton Artists’ Inc. James St. N. Photo by Cees van Gemerden. Front Row: Anne Milne, Cees van Gemerden, Annerie van Gemerden, Nora Hutchinson, Ray Cinovskis, unknown. Second Row: Peter Karuna, Lyn Macintyre, John Farr, Alene Alexanian, Don McLean, unknown, unknown, Jim Riley, Mary Ebos, unknown, Ted Haines. Back Row: unknown Don Gordon, Savitri Dindial, Chris Sankey, unknown.
Installation view of the 'Photo Re: Union' exhibition, 1993. Hamilton Artists’ Inc., James St. N. Photo courtesy of Anne Milne.
Installation view of the 'Photo Re: Union' exhibition, 1993. Hamilton Artists’ Inc., James St. N. Photo courtesy of Anne Milne.

My own artwork in the 1980s was largely satirical, and focused on media rhetoric (Newsmakers, 1981, and “At Love Canal the Mice began Waltzing”, 1983 are good examples). In the 1990s, I was no less interested in media and rhetoric, but began to foreground feminism. “Just Like the One in Sudbury” (1991), “A Discourse of Grammar” (1992), “Rotisserie” (1992), and Heather Locklear’s Knees (1996) reflect this. I also published fiction during this period. Because I had started a PhD in English at McMaster in 1994, my involvement in the Hamilton art community diminished towards the end of 1990s, though I continued to take photographs as always and participated in members exhibitions at the Inc. and other group exhibitions. I served as a member of the curatorial committee at OWAHC (now WAHC) in the late 1990s. I don’t remember much about this, just that they held a lot of meetings, and that the director, Renee Wetselaar was supportive and advocated for the participation of local artists and for the principle of art as work. It was around this time that Peter Karuna and I started creating work under the name, “Careless Servant Woman”. The turn of the century was mostly significant in terms of my academic achievements as I graduated from McMaster in the fall of 1999 and began teaching English literature as a Sessional Lecturer at Mac in January 2000.

Anne Milne. "Just Like the One in Sudbury”. 1991. Installation view, McMaster University. Courtesy of the artist.
Anne Milne. "A Discourse of Grammar". 1992. Fabric collage on cardboard. Approx. 12 x 9”. Courtesy of the artist.
Anne Milne. “Rotisserie”. 1992. Photo, wax paper, vinyl net bag. Approx. 12 x 9”. Courtesy of the artist.
Anne Milne. 'Heather Locklear’s Knees' at Broadway Gallery. 1996. Photos, photocopies, lace trim on paper. 20 x 16”. Courtesy of the artist.

Significant Visual Art Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects 1985-99
– Heather Locklear’s Knees, Broadway Gallery, Hamilton, 1996.
– Homes, Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Guelph (curator), 1994.
– Photo Re:Union, Hamilton Artists’ Inc., Hamilton (curator), 1993.
– “Kissing at the Bottom of the Wentworth Steps,” Stairwell Project # 5, part of M. Simon Levin’s Echoes from the Basin, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1993.
– “Just like the One in Sudbury”, Beneath a Canopy of Blue?, McMaster University Art Gallery, 1991.
– During this period, my video, Newsmakers (made at Ed Video in 1981), was screened at a number of venues across Canada and in Bolivia, Jamaica, and India. I also participated in all of the requisite group/member exhibitions at the Inc. and a couple of big city-wide exhibitions – one at the old library on Main St. and one at the old train station on John St. N.

Selected Reviews and Publications 1985-1999
– His Ex-Wife’s Skirt”, Kairos 10, 1998 (fiction).
– Jeff Mahoney, “Memory, vans and knees,” The Hamilton Spectator, September 28,1996, (review of Heather Locklear’s Knees): “Anne Milne’s show…is salty and inventive, by turns funny and provocative, and always full of concept”.
– “Transcripts Towards an Experimental Film: an excerpt from an unedited interview with Jewel Foster, re: Zone Cinema” and “Studio Visits to BAAWA Members, December 9, 1995”, Defining the Site. Hamilton Artists’ Inc., 1996, pp. 46-47; p. 51, (exhibition catalogue).
– Karen Knights, “Ed Video on Commercial Street 1980-1986”, Distinguishing Features: 15 Years of Artists’ Video at Ed Video Media Arts Centre 1976-1991, pp. 16-18, 1994 (exhibition catalogue): “Anne Milne’s 1981 Newsmakers,…develops a complex overlay of conflicting information…. Despite the implied diversity in ethnicity, education, occupation, and class, all interviewees are levelled through form and medium. Skillfully playing all characters, Dave Lamb, as a white male…mirrors the authoritative voice of broadcast as it has always been defined. His unchanging physical presence reinforces the sense that on television, complex concepts are simplified, made homogenous and uniform”.
– “What Tools? Why Build?”, Homes, Ed Video, Guelph (catalogue essay), 1993.
– Photo Re:Union: processing a history, Hamilton Artists’ Inc., (catalogue essay), 1993.
– Jeff Mahoney, “Stepping into the Stairwell,” The Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday December 22, 1993 p. D1.
– Clive Robertson, “Shuttling Subjects Through Space Histories,” FUSE, May/June 1993, pp. 31-4 (review of Photo Re-Union): “Photo Re:Union acts like a magnifying glass, reflecting back recognizable details for all those who have worked in or for an artist-run centre: the fights and pains, and the hindsight view of some of the dry humour of a collective’s shared lives”.
– Paul Benedetti, “A Commitment to art,” The Hamilton Spectator, March 6, 1993, p. W5, (review of Photo Re-Union).
– “The Women of Hamilton” What!, No. 33, pp. (fiction).
– “A Good Beef and Kidney Pie”, Rampike, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1992, pp. 35-37 (fiction).
– Elaine Hujer, “Art and Nature Explored on Campus”, McMaster Courier, June 18, 1991, p.9 (review of Beneath A Canopy of Blue?)
Beneath A Canopy of Blue?, curated by Kim Ness, McMaster University Art Gallery, 1991 (exhibition catalogue).
– “There was or there was not”, Impulse, Vol.14. Nos. 2&3, Summer 1988, pp. 172-178. (fiction).

Grants/Awards 1985-1999
– 1996,1991,1990 Ontario Arts Council (Exhibition Assistance)
– 1993 Canada Council (Explorations)
– 1992,1990,1988 Ontario Arts Council (Writers’ Reserve)

Archive of Artist Works:

Credits and further reading

Hamilton Arts & Letters: Anne Milne

University of Toronto: Anne Milne