Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, October 5 - November 2, 2018.
Carving out a space for alternative modes of representation, Dude, where’s my phallus? negotiates new understandings of perception, alienation, and presence, highlighting the power dynamics at play in online and physical spaces. Pulling in multiple directions, Jazmine V K Carr, Jennifer Chan, and Xuan Ye take a wide angle view of post-truth and zero sum ideology that profoundly impacts our society, emphasizing cultural colonialism and appropriation, while also addressing isolation and hybridity. In confronting these themes, the works in this exhibition meditate on collective trauma in many forms, and engage in a call to action.
This exhibition will examine relational concepts of the Self and Other within the context of virtual and corporeal spaces through idiosyncratic and self-referential means. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction or inspiration, Carr, Chan and Ye see their work as essential to challenging established thought and realizing a more equitable culture. Dude, where’s my phallus? will create new ways of imagining society and citizenship—rooted in the belief that artists play a profound role in transforming their time and shaping their future. The diverse works use ideas of resistance and refusal to reject inherited policies, politics and social norms. For the artists, the very act of making is an act of disobedience. The exhibition weaves together complex threads of identity formation and presence, through which alternative frameworks of thought and meaning can be explored.
An opening night performance by Xuan Ye will occur around 8:00pm.
Forgetting, Losing, Looping
CP Projects Space, 132 West 21st Street, 10th floor, New York, NY, September 26 - October 9, 2018.
Playful in process and form, Forgetting, Losing, Looping constructs a dialogue surrounding the role of popular culture in contemporary life. Through varied material and theoretical considerations, the works of the four artists in the exhibition form a larger narrative concerning psychology, mythologies, voyeurism and the human condition. They offer an incisive social and psychological portrait of our times, exposing the inherent tensions between the public and private, the body politic and the body.
Forgetting, Losing, Looping creates a new world, one of wonder, romance, mystery, and tragedy through which the viewer can contemplate the underlying darkness of the contemporary human condition.
Through her varied multimedia practice, Cole Lu explores complex issues of fragmented identity in the era of digital communication. She articulates an account of queerness and alienation through text, installation, video and sculpture. Molly Soda works within a feminist critical framework to examine how vulnerability and self-identity are expressed online. The artist’s video and web-based performance works explore mass media and popular social media culture, using the Internet as a deeply personal yet highly visible language for expression. Marianna Peragallo uses humor to investigate the tensions and boundaries inherent in our relationships with the self and others in contemporary society. Loneliness and companionship are important threads in Peragallo’s work, as our connections with other people dictate how we live our lives. Inspired by consumer goods, Cristina Tufino assembles and translates a broad system of associated cultural references in her multimedia works. Here, her ceramic sculptures expose an indulgent population who live for material goods. In Forgetting, Losing, Looping, these four artists offer critical reflections on the implications and anxieties intrinsic to our fast-paced digital economy.
Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, May 10 - June 4, 2018. A Feature Exhibition with Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Co-curated with John Elammar.
Press Release -
Façades aims to negotiate new understandings of public and private space in relation to community, class, and gender. Not unlike an ethnographic researcher, Brittany Shepherd seeks out and captures poetic happenings and patterns in the city, selecting materials and imagery that serve to elevate the mundane to the realm of fine art. In the process, boundaries between “high” and “low” forms of image and culture are dissolved, offering the audience a new critical perspective on the “class” of images.
At Bunker 2, Shepherd, immerses viewers in the exhibition as the images, sound, and sculptures begin to meld and fold into one another. Signifiers of deterioration (stains, rips, smudges, and sun damage) lend the images the illusion of having once existed in an urban environment, activating liminal spaces where the binary between subject and object dissolves and meaning becomes contingent on encounters. An honest representation of the materiality of advertisements, Façades brings disparate realms together through isolated moments, serving as an impetus to look inward.
Not Too High, Not That Low
Division Gallery, January 25 - February 24, 2018
Press Release -
Division Gallery is pleased to present Not Too High, Not That Low, a group exhibition featuring works by Tammi Campbell, Myriam Dion, Bea Fremderman, Eleanor King, Wanda Koop, Brittany Shepherd and Angela Teng (courtesy of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver). The seven exhibiting artists present varied material and theoretical considerations of balance and barriers through the manipulation of surface. In this exhibition, the exploration of surface unveils a dual, conflicting purpose — acting as both a container for illusionistic space and an obstruction that rejects the appearance of depth. Here, surface and materials are used as content, not simply as the vessel to convey a message. Not Too High, Not That Low further points to the various themes explored in this exhibition: taste, class, consumption, as well as mobility, repetition, and the construction of composition.
These seven artists use their chosen media in unexpected ways, reshaping our perception of art, news and the body by defying our understanding of the way familiar materials and techniques are used.
Challenging the traditional process of painting, Angela Teng performs an unlikely form of weaving in which paint, rather than being applied to a support, becomes a support unto itself. Teng crotchets pre-prepared acrylic into wool-like surfaces that evoke both hard-edge abstraction - a traditionally male language - and textile work - a traditionally female one.
Myriam Dion cuts and interleaves newspaper pages and Japanese paper in a genre-defying hybrid of weaving and collage. Created in the context of our media-saturated, post-truth era, her hypnotic tapestries reframe news not with a political agenda, but to place greater emphasis on the human element inherent in world events. The piece in this exhibition is Myriam’s first to indulge in fake news, her swirling, ornamental vegetation perfectly camouflaging the improbability of a New York Times piece about a fallen unicorn.
Brittany Shepherd’s delicate sculptures examine how physical material is transformed by the social purpose it serves. Evoking domestic and public spaces, Shepherd’s polyurethane gloves suggest either frumpy dishwashing tools or the evening-wear of an elegant socialite. Eleanor King’s bathing suits, cast in paint using roller trays, are similarly ambiguous, poised between sleek swimwear and studio labour. In both instances, a single, deceptively simple material resonates with a litany of associations, implying the many roles an object, or a body, can assume.
Vaporous and intangible, Wanda Koop’s Still series suggest fine mists of prismatic light. Koop has managed watercolour-like gradients using acrylic paint, showing us what we come to learn are brilliant skyscrapers iridescing in a rainbow of delicate hues. The ambiguity of her materials, and her destabilizing use of negative space convey the wonder of these grand buildings, reframing them not as impersonal monoliths, but as beacons of technology and progress.
Like Koop’s skyscrapers, Tammi Campbell’s subject hides in plain sight. That subject is paint - its history, its versatility and its fragility as it is pushed into new, unexpected forms. Campbell has fashioned cardboard, tape and bubble wrap out of acrylic paint in an elaborate trompe l’oeil. What are, on the one hand, high realism reproductions of plastic and paper on canvas, are also ersatz ready-mades - elaborate sculptures posing as bland packaging. As such, the paint references in equal measure the Modernist zip paintings of Barnett Newman, the appropriation of Marcel Duchamp, and the behind-the-scenes packing, shipping and storage that constitutes the lifespan of any artwork.
A poetic consideration of surface, Bea Fremderman synthesizes the organic and the inorganic into unique sculptures of consumption, excess and desire. Familiar in form, these fruits have a dual nature - the wonted apple imbues a sense of knowing - while the foam core bite suggests unknown material currents that go wayward.
In bringing together works representative of a wide range of medias, Not Too High, Not That Low explores the ways in which these seven artists have revelled in the materiality of their chosen mediums. In each case, their mastery of the medium is integral to the investigation of their subject.
take your legs and your shoes
The Drake Hotel, July 24, 2017 - December 17, 2017. Co-curated with Tamara Hart.
Press Release -
Playful in process and form, 'take your legs and your shoes' constructs a dialogue surrounding the role of materiality in art. Featuring site-specific installations by Erika DeFreitas, Annie Descôteaux, Bijan Ramezani and Kendra Yee, this exhibition focuses on the ways in which materials become witting actors in the artistic process and entangle viewers in a web of curious encounters, misconnections and unfixed meanings.
Erika DeFreitas is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist based in Scarborough. Drawing on personal and cultural histories, DeFreitas explores the influence of language and loss within the context of identity formation. In her new video work, the artist documents a relational exchange between herself and her mother through a clever rumination of performative actions. Incorporating textile-based works composed of repurposed fabrics, DeFreitas reconfigures domestic objects in an attempt to make the impermanent permanent, emphasizing gesture, process and exchange.
Annie Descôteaux is a Montreal-based artist who uses bold abstract forms and employs simple objects, sharp colours and flattened pictorial planes in her installation, drawing and collage work. Reinforcing her connoisseurship of art and design, Descôteaux’s Formes lentes applies a different set of methodological tools to examine the intrinsic playfulness and performativity of objects. Her subtle humour forces viewers to construct their own meaning of objects and to attribute metaphorical significance based on encounters.
Bijan Ramezani is a Canadian-Iranian artist who lives and works in Toronto. Ramezani’s mixed media installations examine the limitations of found objects and re-contextualize archives of both public and personal material. The artist’s installation GIMMICKS repurposes discarded construction debris and presents a portrait of a convenience store shoplifter, while MERCEDES BENZ and JAGUAR feature digitally scanned police signatures from parking tickets. These unlikely assemblages of unfinished images remix social and cultural memories, creating new indexes of meaning.
Kendra Yee is a Toronto-based artist, illustrator and designer. Her work consists of mixed-media paintings, ceramic sculptures and narrative illustrations. Yee’s site-specific mural combines playful objects with cultural artefacts to reveal curiously intimate, multi-dimensional narratives. Chains act as links to ethereal landscapes, sweeping the viewer into an obscure myth inhabited by nondescript portraits and uncanny objects. Activated by the viewer, Yee’s installation creates a speculative space based on interactions between matter and bodies.
Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, July 15 - August 5, 2017.
“The octopus is the only animal that has a portion of its brain (three quarters, to be exact) located in its (eight) arms. Without a central nervous system, every arm thinks with total autonomy, and yet, each arm is part of the animal.”
— Chus Martinez, “The Octopus in Love”
“If all we are is matter, and if the matter of which we are made is neither originated nor controlled by us—as persons or as a species—then what sense can it make to speak of human beings as critical, creative, or free?”
— Melissa A. Orlie, “Impersonal Matter”
In celebration of the primacy of process and matter, “Impersonal Matter” is defiantly opposed to the anthropocentrism that would privilege the subject over the object. Speculating the agency of matter, the work steers a path between scientific naturalism and social relativism. Drawing attention to things at all scales, the exhibition puts things (rather than human beings) at the heart of studying what it means to exist. The work asks of it’s audience, what is an object? Or rather, where does the object end and the subject begin?
Responding to the idea of material agency, the exhibition features works framed by their physical properties of growth and process based transformation: a rubber that grows when it’s in contact with water; dried alginate sculptures that take their form from the location where they’re poured, solidifying into atrophied versions of themselves; and cyanotype painted onto found materials that is then exposed as a photogram.
Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, April 8 - May 7, 2017. Co-curated by Tamara Hart.
Press Release -
growing sideways explores the ways in which the politics of alienation inform the construction of the ‘self’ within identity formation and subject/object relations. The artists in this exhibition examine forms of alienation through contrasting lenses of expression, ultimately reconciling diverse sites of tension.
Madelyne Beckles’ "Endless Scroll" works within a feminist critical race framework to examine the ways in which power is exercised across gendered and sexualized bodies. The artist’s found objects and video work critique the capitalist commodification of female experiences and employ humour to reject sexist tropes that often occupy online platforms. Beckles addresses the ways in which identity and technology exist as a mutually reinforced system and critiques the alienating models of ‘successful femininity’ as she reflects on virtual landscapes as an extension of the self. Her work analyzes racialized female oppression under capitalism through an exploration of the self and the psychology behind constructed online identities.
Idiosyncratic and self-referential, Dahae Song’s site-specific installation, "how to fill a void," examines human existence and identity formation within the context of virtual and corporeal spaces. Song’s raw canvas works transform their surroundings through disjointed limbs, impulsive patterns and subliminal brushstrokes. The abstracted forms construct a deeply personal aesthetic system; one reflective of incoherent memories, isolated emotions and pathological experiences. Song’s amorphous shapes are dictated by subconscious impulses; attempts to visualize psychological states and feelings of estrangement from internal and external worlds. The process of creating becomes a mechanism of control and provides a contemplative account of the ‘void’ that is a continual expansion of soul, mind, and emotion.
A poetic investigation of colour and form, Hannah Spector’s installation, "people are all different temperatures all the time," explores themes of identity and consciousness. Drawing on Nietzche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a philosophical foundation for her work, Spector affirms that we must remove ourselves from society to overcome self-alienation. The artist’s minimal, non-hierarchical structures form a fluid space where the binary between subject/object dissolves and meaning becomes contingent on encounters. Spector’s spatial interventions weave together complex threads of existence and consciousness, allowing the viewer to dissolve into subtle abstractions and reconnect with the alienated ‘self’.
Bring Me Bread, and Above All - Dignity
Upcoming collaboration with Esmaa Mohamoud and Bunker 2. Durational performance series scheduled for 2019 at Arsenal Contemporary in Toronto.