Inner Landscapes, Alternate Worlds

Review April 20, 2016

By Genevieve Michaels

Jordan Westre and Kaz Simpson’s works inhabit a common universe. There’s the same sepia-toned nostalgia to Simpson’s marbled photo backgrounds, and the vintage landscapes that form the basis for Westre’s collage. From radically different approaches, they explore a common ground. Both artists give the sense of looking in on a frozen moment, a story as it unfolds.

Simpson describes his work as focusing on “the ambivalent nature of social cues” – his faces seem about to speak, caught in thought before a crucial moment. Westre’s work is less close, but still intimate – it feels like looking in on scenes that are fantastical, or perhaps metaphorical. “We are both very focused on the contrast between how one is seen, or understood, and how they are really feeling – their true selves,” says Westre. “When I saw Jordan’s work I felt like we were both trying to describe a certain idea,” Simpson adds. “The idea that a person’s face, has many features …each having almost landscape-type qualities.”

The range of work “Inner Landscapes” will display is remarkably diverse for a two-artist show. Westre blends together modern and vintage source material for her analog collage, creating a play of context and comparison. Westre is fascinated by landscapes and also cites music as an inspiration, often incorporating lyrics as her piece titles. Simpson also draws inspiration from outside of visual art – he tells me that “written work is a far better source of inspiration …as I want to address the unseen.” He will be showing an interesting array of material including oil paintings, gel photography transfers, and kinetic mirror sculptures. He also hand built all the frames for his pieces.

Inner Landscapes is a one night show happening this Friday, April 22nd in Chinatown at Skylight Gallery, 163 E Pender Street from 7-11 pm. Moving forward, keep an eye out for Simpson’s work at the Underground Railway Studios open house on May 13th.