Friday, June 28, 2013

Loop's Summer Correspondent Sarah Letovsky visits ESP

 

 
Beth Stuart, Teens in Tight Jeans (detail)  (2013)


BETH STUART at ERIN STUMP PROJECTS


Sarah Letovsky

Beth Stuart, But a Weak Smile (2012)
When you first enter “LOUD.BROWN.SHROUD”, Beth Stuart’s new show at Erin Stump Projects on Queen Street West at Dovercourt, you’re greeted by a melange of work - paintings, sculpture, hanging objects. It’s also a playful mix of textiles - linens, leather, tile, paint, gold leaf. Stuart’s forte doesn’t just lie in one mode of creation - she thrives on the complex conversation created by a diversity of objects.Too Bright Light (2013), the large painting that greets you when you enter is a strange play of warm colours, oblique shapes, and bananas. Next to it is Teens in Tight Jeans (2013), a long, skinny, tiled pole, with a green arc resting on top, with large hoop earrings on either side. It’s a strange placement of objects, but they seem to be having a conversation.

Stuart, who was shortlisted for the 2010 RBC Canadian Painting competition, clearly works from a very conceptual place, and her work is rooted in cultural and literary references. At the front of the gallery is her artist’s statement, in which she writes, “as the three push on and pull off, they look, they consider their affinities and their conflicts, they tease their fractious symmetry. There is a shuffling dance to recommit the balance in their reflections, to adjust for change”. It’s certainly cryptic, but this is part of Stuart’s modus operandi; she plays on the edges of abstraction and figuration, a constant oscillation of meaning and reference. She leaves clues for us, maybe even red herrings, and let us consider, infer, or invent our own interpretation of her pieces. 

There’s also a definite sexual overtone to this show. Each piece in itself might not be overtly sexual, but together they tell a different story. Rode Hard, Put Away Wet (2013) is a marbled ball, suspended from a long leather string attached to the wall, reminiscent of a Louise Bourgeois-era of abstracted sculpture referencing the body. Another piece, But a Weak Smile (2012), is a large piece of grey linen suspended in the wall, its shape a double entendre- a coy smile, and a distinct hint at the female reproductive system. I definitely read the bananas differently as I passed by on the way out.

“LOUD.BROWN.SHROUD” closes on July 14th, don't miss it!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reception Saturday June 22, 2 to 5 p.m.: Catherine Carmichael and John Ide




Opening Saturday June 22, Catherine Carmichael: Elasticity, Fracture and Flow and John Ide: How Paper Remembers

The exhibitions continue until July 14, 2013.

Catherine Carmichael, Elasticity, Fracture and Flow (with Column) (detail) 2013

John Ide, Composition Yellow (detail) 2013
Continuing a tradition of performative and unconventional object making, Carmichael presents a trio of wheeled sculptures in Elasticity, Fracture and Flow. These decidedly non-utilitarian creations fuse crude reclaimed materials including industrial concrete, nail polish, wire, and discarded paper into remarkably fragile and contemplative arrangements. Stationary, but ripe with the potential for movement, these curious accretions are both sculptures and poems on wheels.
Carmichael is a Montreal-based performance and installation artist who has exhibited internationally. Her work can be found in public and private collections across Ontario, including the Donovan collection in Toronto, and the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound.
***
How Paper Remembers is about forgetting and remembering. Throughout his career, Ide has borrowed images from family archives, the art of the past, and modern commercial media to explore confluences of personal and collective memory. In this body of work, this imagery fades into the background of thousands of cross-hatched lines which he erases and redraws, to create patterns of light and dark that randomly remember bits and pieces of what was there before.
Ide is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited widely. He created filmic works earlier in his career but returned to drawing in the mid-2000s. Recent exhibitions include “Process” at Toronto’s Gallery 1313, and “Time, Shadow, and Light” at Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Loop's Summer Correspondent Sarah Letovsky visits Cooper Cole



Body builder (Vintage photo) (2013), Gina Beavers

Gina Beavers & Devin Troy Strother

Sarah Letovsky


Cooper Cole Gallery isn’t known for playing it safe, and their latest exhibition of work by Brooklyn based Gina Beavers & LA based Devon Troy Strother is definitely outside the box -  both metaphorically, and literally.

Gina Beaver’s half of the show is a series of cropped, monochrome, three-dimensional male abs. Beavers builds up layers of acrylic paint to give her pieces a structural element, placing the work somewhere in between painting and sculpture. Beavers, whose previous show “Palate” (2012) was based on Instagram photos of food, clearly thrives on playful, tongue-in-cheek comments on cultural cliches and topical references. This new work is definitely in the same realm, with a mix of sarcasm, immediacy, and fetishization.

THAT MATISSE SHIT, STILL LIFE INTERIOR WITH MASHANDA, "GUUUUUUURL I'M SO SLEEPY THO" (2013), Devin Troy Strothers


Similarly, Devin Troy Strother has created a body of three dimensional, playful pieces. Strother has gained recognition for his strikingly unconventional mode of work, which combines paint, crayon, marker, glitter, and construction paper in a colourful depiction of little figures and scenes, often popping out of the frame. Because of his artistic decisions, these have a naive, amateur quality (he usually signs them in the bottom-right corner in the manner of 12-year-old art projects), but are matured by their strong composition, intentionality, and often sexual subject matter. We’re clearly having an adult conversation with Strothers. His work is a kind of new Fauvism; mocking and reinventing old modes of art and re-appropriating them in new ways. The titles of the pieces are, to my mind, just as important as the work itself, and reveal a more layered conversation on race, art history, pop culture stereotypes, and Ebonics. One piece, a clear rendition of a Matisse, is discovered later to be called THAT MATISSE SHIT, STILL LIFE INTERIOR WITH MASHANDA, "GUUUUUUURL I'M SO SLEEPY THO" (2013). For art buyers, it definitely rolls off the tongue.

This exhibition is on until June 29th, so check it out before it closes at 1161 Dundas Street West, just down the street from Loop!

(Images courtesy of Cooper Cole)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


A visit with Kim Stanford

Can you talk about your relationship to the materials you use?

I work both conceptually and intuitively, so the material I work with needs to have a symbolic potential to reference mundane, taken-for-granted practices as well as have a capacity for playful sculpting. For example, steel wool has been a great material for me: as it invokes tedious domestic labour and can be manipulated through a variety of techniques. 







What is “a day in the life” of your studio routine?

Iʼm quite disciplined in my studio practice. It is my job. I start with an hour or so of ʻbusiness,ʼ then four hours or so of art making. I usually have more than one project on the go, so if Iʼm creatively gestating with one, I can work on another. 




Does collaboration play a role in your practice and if so what has it taught you?

Iʼm generally a pretty introverted artist. However, I am beginning to explore collaboration with academics who do qualitative research into taken-for-granted experiences of work/life.




Can you tell us how these ʻmundane momentsʼ you talk about influence or inspire your art practice?

This refers to the conceptual part of my practice which grew out of the critical theory I studied in my graduate degree. I draw upon poststructural ideas of power and discourse, the constitution of multiple subjectivities, and possibilities for activism. It ends up a tangled nexus, with more questions than answers, but that is great for art, to complicate beyond a didactic message.
Simply, I propose the repeated, tiny, taken-for-granted moments in our lives are pivotal in how we understand ourselves and our relationships. Iʼm interested particularly in the strategies people employ to make meaning within the doldrums. Although Iʼve recently found inspiration in my own frustrations with the domestic roles of wife and mother (such as the ʻloadedʼ task of picking up other peopleʼs dirty socks over and over), there is a multiverse of such instances out there to be explored. 



 



Whatʼs pulling you creatively next?


Iʼm still enjoying working with used socks,   and thanks to the press and therefore abundance of donations I received, I can work with socks for years to come! I will continue to expand the two pieces recently exhibited: Yes Iʼm trying to pick you up (2013) and Weʼre all just doing the best we can in this crazy mess called life (2013). However, I have two more sock pieces that Iʼm itching to get started on.
I also have a series of mutating steel wool carpets on the go.


Thanks for the visit Kim!
www.kimstanford.com/

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Opening June 22: Catherine Carmichael 'Elasticity, Fracture and Flow' and John Ide 'How Paper Remembers'

Catherine CarmichaelElasticity, Fracture and Flow

John IdeHow Paper Remembers

Opening Reception: Saturday June 22, 2013, 2 to 5 p.m.
Opening June 22, show continues to July 14, 2013

Catherine Carmichael, Elasticity, Fracture and Flow (with column) (detail) 2013
Continuing a tradition of performative and unconventional object making,Carmichael presents a trio of wheeled sculptures in Elasticity, Fracture and Flow. These decidedly non-utilitarian creations fuse crude reclaimed materials including industrial concrete, nail polish, wire, and discarded paper into remarkably fragile and contemplative arrangements. Stationary, but ripe with the potential for movement, these curious accretions are both sculptures and poems on wheels.

Carmichael is a Montreal-based performance and installation artist who has exhibited internationally. Her work can be found in public and private collections across Ontario, including the Donovan collection in Toronto, and the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound.



John Ide, Composition Yellow (detail) 2013
How Paper Remembers is about forgetting and remembering. Throughout his career, Ide has borrowed images from family archives, the art of the past, and modern commercial media to explore confluences of personal and collective memory. In this body of work, this imagery fades into the background of thousands of cross-hatched lines which he erases and redraws, to create patterns of light and dark that randomly remember bits and pieces of what was there before.
Ide is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited widely. He created filmic works earlier in his career but returned to drawing in the mid-2000s. Recent exhibitions include “Process” at Toronto’s Gallery 1313, and “Time, Shadow, and Light” at Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

David Jager reviews Eric Farache's Quixtopia

David Jager from NOW Magazine recently gave Eric Farache's Quixtopia exhibition at loop a stunning four N's! Make sure to read the rest of the piece here.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Loop's Summer Correspondent Sarah Letovsky visits O'Born Contemporary



 Edith Maybin, The Girl Document, Untitled # 1, Chromogenic Print, 90 x 60 inches, 2013; gallery documentation. 
(Photo courtesy of O'Born Contemporary.)

Edith Maybin at O’Born Contemporary

Sarah Letovsky


Do you remember what it feels like to be an adolescent? That painful state of burgeoning sexuality, lingering childhood, chipped nail polish, and embarrassing sex ed classes? I remember it vividly, and so does Edith Maybin. I had the good fortune to catch her exhibition at O’Born Contemporary, “The Girl Document,” just before it closed on June 8th.

O’Born Contemporary is located at 131 Ossington, right next to Crafted coffee and across from Bellwoods Brewery, a ten minute walk from loop. It’s a great place to pop by for a dose of contemporary art in between coffee runs and vintage shopping.

“The Girl Document” is a series of large photographic prints, or “documents” as Maybin labels them, concerned with that specific time in a girl’s life where she suddenly becomes caught between binaries of childhood and adulthood. We see snapshots of an adolescent face, a piece of birthday cake, mirrors, and star-shaped glitter.



Edith Maybin, The Girl Document, Untitled #2, Chromogenic Print, 2013. 
(Photo courtesy of the artist.)
Upon deeper investigation, this imagery has a saccharine sweet quality of excess and a threatening undertone; the swirling saturated colours, the hints of broken glass, pieces of fur, blood. It’s an unsettling fracturing of childhood and of identity. Despite moments of overt representational symbolism in Maybin’s still life arrangements, “The Girl Document” is still very much defined by its particular formal and technical framework which, curiously, is rooted in abstraction and distortion.

O’Born's Associate Director, Rachel Anne Farquharson, spoke to me about Maybin’s process, which is done  in-camera, by wrapping a piece of silver mylar around the lens. This reflective silver bends the light, effectively creating a swirling portal around the edge of the photo. It’s a visual manifestation of the lens itself, a voyeuristic snapshot of puberty from the outsider's perspective of a mother, watching her child experience the pain and confusion of growing up.

"The Girl Document" proves to be a collection of work that is at once celebratory and also threatening and fearful - a deeply self-conscious examination of the relationship between mother and daughter.

Maybin's work can be seen on the O’Born Contemporary website at http://www.oborncontemporary.com/exhibitions/2013_Edith_Maybin_Solo.html or on the artist’s site at http://www.edithmaybin.com/. O'Born Contemporary’s next major exhibition is “Backscatter”, a series of work by Kate McQuillen. The opening reception is friday june 21st from 6-9, and runs until july 27th. Don't miss it!

(All images courtesy of O'Born Contemporary)