By Kate Kolberg
In 1914, Giorgio de Chirico, a founder of the Metaphysical art movement, painted the well-known proto-surrealist work Le Chant d’Amour (The Song of Love). The painting shows the face of a Classical bust hanging on a wall beside an equally large rubber glove. It is a simple enough painting but, true to surrealist tendencies, even though the forms in the painting are well-articulated, their sense is incoherent. It makes you question how this “timeless,” disembodied face of kanon-like (1) perfection feels about this generic, flaccid rubber glove beside it. Or, if this is a love song, who sings it? What do they yearn for? Revel in? Le Chant d’Amour is now over a century old, but Peggy Kouroumalos’ recent exhibition Snakes Under My Bed at Main Street in Toronto had me turning in similar spirals. Consisting of two paintings of bedroom scenes and a collection of ceramic sculptures that look as if they spilled out onto the surrounding floor, the work all felt rather familiar—yet embodied an incoherence that forced me to wonder about who was meant to dwell within them. Read More
By Zoe Koke
In 2018, artist Mat O’Hara modified an adjoined section of his MFA grad studio into an ad-hoc project space called PS311. The space opened with Untitled (eyelids), a video installation by Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik. eyelids was created in the throes of Jordan’s final MFA year, and it bears the marks of this experience—its talk of poison, its intense introspective focus, its peculiar saturninity illustrated by a bubbling cauldron of slime. If you theorize something like MFA aesthetics, I’m sure it would include a healthy dose of suffering. But eyelids doesn’t stop at suffering; it moves through its own breed of catharsis, and from that surfaces the potential for something else. It plays with internal anguish, following a wave until the feeling changes. This is why I’m drawn to it, why I wanted to write this. Jordan and I—long-term friends and new collaborators—share a desire to make something heartfelt. We often ask ourselves why this seems so inane in the current art climate. Or just in our culture, where oversharing or letting your guard down isn’t palatable, it’s to be avoided, ironically mainly in the realm of making. The awkward uncoolness of intuition and sincerity (and a privileging of distancing tactics) is enforced by context cues, groupthink, but never explicitly, for that would be too insensitive. Read More
By Brennan Kelly
They’re all turned away; faces pressed against the wall. The wood frames circumscribing their borders evince this rotational reversal, displaying the typically undisplayed—incidental flecks of paint, v-nails clasping mitred joints, hardware insets, and vacant nail holes. Despite their reversed orientation, each frame is still performing its principal function, framing (and thereby demarcating) a discrete composition. In this dualistic state of front-and-yet-also-back, a question arises: Are these works, as individuated units of frame and composition, exposing something previously concealed? Or are the frames themselves merely turned away? Read More
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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