Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Correspondent Sarah Letovsky on loop's new shows

Catherine Carmichael, Elasticity, Fracture and Flow (with column), 2013

Catherine Carmichael and John Ide at loop Gallery

Sarah Letovsky

Perched at the front of loop Gallery is Catherine Carmichael’s odd and colourful sculpture, Elasticity, Fracture and Flow (with sphere) (2013), a large transparent sphere standing on concrete legs, expelling colourful flowers at one end and a mouth-shaped Veuve champagne box at the other end. Although it’s a wild mix of inanimate objects, they all seem to act together as bodily extensions of one animal; it looks as if it’s about to stretch its wobbly legs and take off, like an animated creature in a Miyazaki film.

Another piece, Elasticity, Fracture and Flow (with slope) (2013), a whimsical desk-like creature, presents four cryptic closed paper bags sitting next to one another in four uniform papier-mâché boxes. Underneath the sculpture lies a little collection of crystals, each sitting on a piece of unintelligible paper. Carmichael’s work is mysterious, and feels like a dream I might've had once, or a different world dreamed up by Jim Henson. Her creations are things that almost resemble real creatures or objects, but pull back from representation into a semi-abstracted alternate reality. Carmichael’s show stimulates your imagination, and reminds you of a place you visited and forgot, or maybe never visited at all.

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

John Ide’s show, “How Paper Remembers”, is a testament to his emphasis on process-driven work. Speaking to him about his upcoming show a couple weeks ago, he shared with me that as an artist, his focus has shifted from the conceptual side of creation to the formal side, in a search for more artistic control of the product itself. 
John Ide, "How Paper Remembers" (Installation shot)
His work is a collection of almost exclusively abstract drawings created by repeated crosshatching, with circles and squares emerging through thousands of meticulous pencil marks, and the occasional silhouette of a face. You sense that there is layering, that other objects or images are hiding and emerging from behind each other.  As Ide phrases it in his exhibition statement, it’s both “forgetting and remembering”. Ide’s work is a play of binaries, and a push and pull of light and darkness. Most of all, you can see the artist’s hand in the work - a sense of repetition, a repeated gesture, and an acute awareness of the immediacy of the medium.

Catherine Carmichael and John Ide will have their work up at loop until july 14th, so drop in and see the show before it finishes!