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
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.
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.