By David Court & Shannon Garden-Smith
In an essay on disgust in The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Sara Ahmed asks: How can we tell the story of disgust in a way that works with the complicated relations between bodies, objects and others? (1) Considering the exhibitions of Katie Bethune-Leamen and Catherine Telford-Keogh at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG), we encounter similar questions: How do disgust and pleasure go together in desire and consumption (understood as both shopping and eating)? How do we compose ourselves in relation to the ineluctable intimacy of consumption as contact, contamination, and in/digestion? What is composition other than a proposition about taste and desire, about the proper discernment of value and waste? At UWAG, an oblique dialog takes place along these lines, between these exhibitions, approached together, separately. What seeps across the boundary between these bodies of work are shared engagements with the activity of composition as the ongoing activity of managing the messy material and symbolic relations of insides and outsides, bodies and boundaries, of compulsory consumption.
By Kate Lahey
My grandmother grew up living off the land in Taylor’s Bay, on the southern coast of Newfoundland. This means she grew up guided by hands and the things they make. Stitching, kneading, scrubbing, salting, holding, harming—a soft mechanics passed down to me, with all the knowledge they carry and all the feeling they cannot. Hazel May Eckert’s exhibition, Over Time is also curious about this intimate texture between generations. Like me, she is concerned with the knowledge that is regenerated across generations.
By Parker Kay
How am I going to get to The Junction to see this show?
As I think about the various routes I might take to arrive at Sibling, I realize I am staring blankly at my phone, whose screen has since locked. I find myself in what I have learned to identify as social paralysis, the experience of the body locked in stasis when confronted with social planning—it happens a lot.
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