By Penelope Smart
The moment at evening
when the pictures set sail from the walls
— excerpt from “Cargo” by W.S. Merwin
Pictures on the wall in Jennifer Murphy’s The Shadow of Sirius stand tall and still. In the gallery, jewel toned birds, moths, dragonflies, frogs and flora of human-scale have migrated from a dream-like state or have been grafted from the pages of a children’s storybook. Except—as in a Grimm’s fairy tale—prettiness tends to couple with death. Murphy’s exquisite creatures came to life within our new countdown: one in which our time-frame for saving the planet can be counted in months (131), not years. As an exhibit that was mounted in the autumn of 2019, a few weeks after Iceland held its first funeral for a glacier and a few months before Australia’s skies turned red from its burning shorelines, Murphy’s silent gathering of animals, insects and flowers—borne from love, anxiety and heartbreak—take on the power of a silent vigil. Read More
by Daniella Sanader
If you’ve spoken to me recently, I may have told you my (unresearched and unsubstantiated) theory about dreams and déjà vu. I usually proceed to explain that while I rarely remember my dreams, I am regularly struck with quietly disorienting bouts of déjà vu, something like once or twice a month. I like to speculate about these things as if they exist on a spectrum of cause and effect—the idea that sublimated dream imagery, while consciously inaccessible, bubbles up elsewhere in one’s perceptual life, grafted briefly onto shapes and colours and other structures of the world we move through. (1) That uncanny doubling, a sudden familiarity: it’s a sensation we all recognize, but one that quickly dissolves the very second you try to focus on it, let alone attempt to put it into language.
By Zach Pearl
The mid-century modern across the street, now composed, perfectly centered within the window of the storm door, appeared angelic and fantastically distant in its miniature state. (1) Unassuming power poles and trees were mirrored in the wetness of the street, and they seemed to extend forever, piercing the top and bottom of the frame. Paralyzed there, like a moth under glass, the image of the house was a reality unto itself. All power lines and branches led back to its door, its half-open windows. “Thus, in minuscule, a narrow gate, [had] open[ed] up an entire world,” in which details were all that mattered. (2) The silhouette of a radio, a spider plant descending in pairs. This was all I could focus on as I came face to face with the Intruder. Read More
By Chris Andrews
The day before visiting Cairo-born artist Nadia Gohar’s Mudstone at Erin Stump Projects, I read in the news that Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically-elected president of Egypt, had died in court—or rather, was forced into living in prison conditions that may have led to his early passing. Morsi had eventually betrayed the same democracy that brought him into power, and with it, the hope that many had following the events of the Arab Spring. As if in response to this symbolic event, though only a timely coincidence, Gohar’s exhibition uses material as an embodiment of democracy. Through this keen interest in objecthood, an environment is created where every being, every thing, is granted a voice, and the importance of each material radiates. It is through this material vibrancy that Mudstone gestures toward the role of humble objects: the exhibition is a call for democratized symbols, vernacular value. Read More
By Ricky Varghese
In the Right of Inspection, Jacques Derrida wrote of the medium of photography in these terms: “You could speak of…[a photograph] as of a thinking, as a pensiveness without a voice, whose only voice remains suspended.” I was reminded of this evocative description when I saw Sandra Brewster’s show Blur, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario from July 24, 2019 to March 29, 2020. The association between Brewster’s work and Derrida’s thinking was brought on by those very final words in the latter’s statement—“…voice [remaining] suspended.” (1) In fact, suspension—or rather what it means to be suspended, to be seen in a seeming state of frozen arrest, both within the frame and, perhaps, beyond it—seems to be an apt way of understanding and talking about the artist’s new work. Read More
By Rebecca Casalino
Before entering Arezu Salamzadeh’s Fortune Flavors the Bold you must take off your shoes. Sock-footed, you are greeted by glittering red foam installed over the floor of Xpace Cultural Centre’s Project Space. Dark teal walls enclose the gallery, framing crates and shelves of items for sale. Fresh mandarin oranges are available to purchase as snacks, there’s also ginger and colourful ceramic casts of salty fish inside large glass jars. Salamzadeh stands by the cash register (a children’s toy brightly coloured with large cartoonish buttons) tattooed with lucky cats, selling art and chatting with visitors. She wears gold which compliments the New Years pouches decorating the walls and plinths in large blocks of red. Behind her, a gold sign with small red lights reading FORTUNE hangs above a gumball machine. On the other side, a large lucky cat about the same size as the viewer squats beside, as if to snap a picture. Read More
By Lucas Regazzi
Capriccio, or Caprice—as it’s been anglicized—refers to a historical genre of painting developed over the 16th to 18th century. Artists of the genre proposed, for the first time in Western history, that ruination architecture be ushered from background to subject. Immediately preceding this, architectural depiction in the Roman tradition of painting was relegated to ceiling frescoes, illusioning space to elicit divine wonder in God’s house. With this understanding of symbolic potential, artists began fantasizing architecture—assembling disparate buildings and monuments in pictorial space, or imagining new buildings and circumstances altogether—as a sort of visual poetry. At the genre’s height, the most notable caprices depicted dilapidation. Read More
By Jessica Baldanza
At first glance, the titular Animal Love of Catherine P.’s solo exhibition at Egret Egress is puppy love—the kind of sanguine affection one feels capable of in the early days of a new romance. This impression is gleaned from Catherine P.’s saccharine artist’s statement, as well as the soft textile wall-works of naively articulated pups batting lashes and touching noses. And yet, the works inspire a palpable dis-ease, the source of which reveals itself only when one makes themselves vulnerable to the works, so as to reflect the circumstances in which they were made. Read More
By Chelsea Rozansky
In 1933, Sophie Rosenbaum packed her things and left her native Berlin to go to Argentina. Among her possessions was a collection of postcards, one side bearing pictures of celebrities popular in Germany when Rosenbaum was a kid: famous singers, movie stars, directors. On the other side were autographed signatures and the street address of the home Rosenbaum was to leave behind. They must have been important to her, the postcards. Presumably, she could only take with her the essentials and valuables. Read More
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.