Category: Review

An Unexpected Intimacy: Marika Vandekraats’ performance ‘Washing Hands with Soap in the Shape of my Mother’s Hands’

Review January 30, 2019

By Ella Adkins

 

The impermanence of our physical bodies is a reality that humans must constantly deny. For many, the so-called “degradation” of our physical selves through processes such as aging and sickness is something to be hidden, denied by lotions and serums, or frantically ‘cured’ by pills, medicines and procedures. There is an undeniable anxiety surrounding the act of decay that is living, since it is a reminder that regardless of our spiritual human experience, we can be reduced to a mass of muscle and bone that will slowly and inevitably decompose. Read More

Folly

Review January 17, 2019

By Chris Andrews

 

A water-misting system attached to the ceiling of VIE D’ANGE gallery sprayed the subtle, unobtrusive artworks of Abbas Akhavan’s exhibition, Folly. Untitled (2018) is a homogeneous arrangement of materials comprised of an erratic boulder, a vintage fur coat and a plastic shopping bag. From a distance, the fur coat looked like moss on the rock, as drops of water hitting the hair of the vintage garment eventually rolled off onto the pill-yellow bag sourced from a local fruiterie. The misting system above was precariously tacked on, and held itself almost apologetically to the space’s gruff ceiling—as if an uninvited dinner guest. Sheets of glass leaned against a wall across from the sculptural installation, with inkjet-printed images sourced from the Internet taped to their verso, thus protected from the threatening mist. On the wall next to the sheets of glass, a broom furnished from a cedar branch leaned. Entitled Study for a Garden (2018) its flat, scale-like leaves brushed the cold floor. Everything was safe, but imperiled—something could slip or burst, and the sensitivities of the materials overwhelmed; upsetting Folly’s graceful negotiation of permanence and impermanence. Read More

how does a .jpg feel against your skin?

Review January 3, 2019

By Shauna Jean Doherty


By what metrics can you measure a digital object when it is situated in physical space? How (much) does it weigh? How does a .jpg feel against your skin?

In this exhibition, first-time collaborators Sophia Oppel and Blair Swann presented a curated repository of images that link together, often abstractly, in what culminates as a contemporary account of Hito Steyerl’s poor image rooted within the aesthetic milieu of the post-Internet.
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A Poetic Gesture: Night Shade by Claire Christerson

Review December 18, 2018

By Karina Iskandarsjah

 

The night-time is when we accumulate and ruminate on all of our thoughts, feelings, and memories—whether we like it or not. It is when the darkness of the world pools with the dark parts of our nature; our scars and internal struggles. Claire Christerson’s multimedia solo exhibition, Night Shade, tells us to embrace the convergence of these difficult emotions in the dark. Read More

Speculative Methodologies: Veils of a Bog at the Western Front

Review December 13, 2018

By Gillian Haigh

 

Just beyond the small reception area of the Western Front, a black doorway called to me. Inside, a chorus of echoing crickets and croaks harmonized with an unworldly drone. The noise beckoned me into the tenebrous space, pulling me through the doorway into a cloth hallway cloaked in total darkness. The room opened up to reveal a dimly lit space with three large metal mobiles laden with collections of fabric, moss, dried leaves, flowers, photographs, and other found objects. The materials hung, some sweeping the floor or wall as they slowly rotated on chains. These strangely figurative compositions, coupled with the otherworldly symphonic hum of the soundscape, welcomed visitors to sink into the bog.

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A Body Knots: Laurie Kang at Gallery TPW

Review November 28, 2018

By Jenine Marsh

 

I view Laurie Kang’s A Body Knots on my phone, as images. I’m on another continent, missing the show. But feeling that I know her and her practice pretty intimately makes up for some, though not all, of the texture and spacing that the real thing provides. At Gallery TPW in Toronto, a steel skeleton wall of studs and flexible tracking marks a new—albeit permeable—barrier through the two adjacent gallery spaces. In the second and larger gallery, four analog photograms of un-fixed, thickly applied darkroom chemicals on overlarge paper hang loose and heavy from the studs. Although forever halted in the jpgs, these photograms’ chemicals will continue to develop and change, reacting slowly, subtly, to the light in whichever space they occupy. Tiny silver spherical magnets hold the prints in place. Read More

History is a Passive Translator

Review August 2, 2018

By Lauren Lavery

 

The history of a space is burdened. When looking at a space, these histories become apparent, but they also go into hiding. When I consider of the history of a building, I first think of the material it is made of: clay bricks, concrete, wood, plaster. But what about the non-visible elements, such as the individuals come and gone, the events hosted and the objects held within? The history of such abstract, in-between space is then what cannot be documented by the past alone, it must be translated into another form altogether, be it the written word, a photograph or a story. But these methods are often biased, and when it comes to art, not always as clear as they could be. Read More

Sounds Not Heard: Sound Sculptures by Adam Basanta

Review June 13, 2018

By Shauna Jean Doherty

 

Adam Basanta’s compositions (whether material or sonic) possess a resonance that deconstructs the foundational principles of acoustics: his work sees sound, composes silence, and locates melody in the din of a hum. Through the creation of sculptures that oscillate between the absence and presence of sound, Basanta reflects on a contemporary climate saturated by noise, proposing strategies of feedback and silence as methods to counteract a deafening modern landscape. Through this technical finesse his creation of sound-based systems intervenes in the social, material, and spatial processes inherent in auditory experience.

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Painting and Obstinacy

Review May 9, 2018

By Andrew Witt

Last year a number exhibitions, events and talks addressed the state of contemporary painting in Vancouver. The following essay is a belated survey of these exhibitions and events but also an analysis of the blind spots, clichés and missed opportunities that have stood out during the discussion. Paying close attention to the works on display, ‘Painting and Obstinacy’ attempts to short-circuit the dominant currents and tendencies of the debate by thinking through how the artworks themselves, through their formal manoeuvres and political content, shore up a new vocabulary for the reception of contemporary painting in the present.

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The Beautiful Corpse: Tamara Henderson’s Season’s End: Out of Body

Review April 25, 2018

by Christine De Vuono

 

Approaching Tamara Henderson’s Seasons End: Out of Body exhibition in Oakville’s Centennial Gallery, one is greeted by a display reminiscent of an ethnographic collection of an ancient culture’s esoteric regalia and artifacts. The collection of robed figures stand in a dense, haphazard formation, curiously pulling the viewer into their maze-like world. Dimly lit with tempered overhead lights of blue, magenta and green, the costumed figures impede the viewer’s ability to examine the exhibition as a complete entity. Tamara Henderson’s final rendition of this ever-changing, internationally-shown installation draws the viewer into a dreamlike world of talismans and detritus, impermanence and demise, each holding equal status within the display. Henderson attempts to create an exhibit of otherworldly and spiritually infused artifacts created from her personal reference points, ultimately rendering them with uneven success. Read More