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January 23–June 19, 2016
Curated by Patrick Macaulay
Abstraction, whether it originates from something representational or is formed from pure geometry or gestural markings, is no longer a mere genre of mainstream art making and correspondent to a need for divergent visual interpretation. Abstractionists are involved in a fully immersive elucidation of ideas and creation that realize vision, conception and formation. No longer needing to contextualize abstraction to understand it or place it alongside representational art for evaluation, the viewer is conscious of coherent form.
This exhibition highlights the work of eight artists whose work is fully immersive in abstraction and originating with methodical mark making. It is an opportunity to see the work of contemporary artists who find answers to creative inquiries within the freedom of abstraction. For these artists the necessity of art making lies in creating new descriptors, which push beyond surface realities to elemental certainties of colour, line and space.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts
In my studio-based practice, I make colourful drawings and paintings. I’m curious about how colours react with each other and am interested in images that hold both tension and harmony while drawing in the viewer to something unexpected, yet strangely familiar. Working on the cusp between abstraction and figuration, I use experimentation and improvisation to catapult into unknown territory. My medium – water-based inks, gouache, Flashe and markers on cardboard and paper – makes it almost impossible to rework and correct. I have no plan as I dip my brush into my colour, and trust the depth of my mind’s picture bank. I put down marks and react to them, much in the same way that I jam with other musicians – playing off each others’ ideas – carving out new sounds.
– Ruth Adler
Born in Winnipeg in 1957, Ruth Adler lives and works between Toronto and Tel Aviv. She is a Canadian artist who works in painting, digital works on paper, animation and textiles. Her work has been exhibited internationally since the 1980s. Adler is well-known as a gifted colourist and has received many art and design commissions from institutions such as The Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Petach Tikva and the Iroquois Hotel in New York. Her work is represented by Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York and the Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto.
Manuela De Medeiros
My recent body of work utilizes the processes of ink transferring and layering. Each piece is created by transferring ink from a ready-made image onto a new surface. The intrigue of ink transfer comes from its unpredictable nature and how this can bring an element of chance to the work. By using a ready-made image, the colours and composition are predetermined, thus removing my ability to make these decisions. Each transfer is sealed with wax in order to preserve every mark. As each additional layer builds, it forms a history of the process.
– Manuela De Medeiros
Manuela De Medeiros studied studio art at the University of Guelph. She has since shown her work throughout Toronto. De Medeiros is the director of Gallery 1132, a small pop-up space that promotes the work of emerging artists within Toronto. She was invited to guest lecture at McMaster University in spring of 2013.
Growing out of a combination of structure, freedom and play, these objects can be recombined in an almost limitless, improvisatory manner. The coherence of modular language in complex models creates a sense of intelligible structure, even when our eyes are too lazy to untangle and articulate it. (In fairness, Dear Viewer, you might be more diligent here than I am.) The sculpture is made from the point of view of a student who keeps looking out the window. Without specific references, Lesson Plan suggests all of the things in the post-Bauhaus world that shares its modular language. The strings also imply how provisional and precarious that world is.
– Libby Hague
Libby Hague has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1972 with over 55 solo exhibitions. These include: Inventing Hope at the Idea Exchange (Cambridge, ON), Be Brave! We are in this together at YYZ (Toronto), Sympathetic Connections at the AGO, and One step at a time at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Her group exhibitions and spectacles include Monster Child (Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto); Biennale internationale d’estampe contemporaine de Trois-Rivières; Xylography – Stylistic Matrix at Galati Visual Art Museum (Romania); International Print Center New York; Miner for a Heart (Melbourne, Australia); International Paper Art Exhibition at Chung Shan National Gallery (Taiwan) and L’Arte E Il Torchio at The Civic Art Museum (Cremona, Italy).
Circle Game was made on a computer by animating two drawings of circular drafting templates.I was interested in the chance animation that results when two or more layers of these transparent circles interact with each other, causing new visual shapes and patterns.
The film emerges from my research and interest in moiré patterns, Arabic geometry and ‘minimalist’ music (where repetitive musical patterns are overlaid, creating evolving resonances). By moving the circular templates across each other I created a shimmering, visually hypnotic effect. Trying out different combinations of layers and angles of movement, I worked intuitively to create the movie. As the film progresses, the imagery builds, becoming denser and denser, before returning, full circle, to a shot of the two templates at the end.
A musical soundtrack was added to the finished film. The score, composed and performed by Paul Intson, accentuates the visual patterns of the film.
– Patrick Jenkins
Patrick Jenkins is an award-winning artist, animator and documentary filmmaker. He was a Special Guest Filmmaker at: the 2013 Melbourne International Animation Festival (Melbourne, Australia), the 2012 London International Animation Festival (London, UK), and in 2011 at Anima VI, the Córdoba International Animation Festival (Córdoba, Argentina); screening his movies and conducting workshops in animation. His film Circle Game (2014) was shown at Le Festival Heure d’Été à Bruxelles (Belgium) and numerous international festivals. His film Labyrinth (2008), a surreal detective story, won first place in the Independent Short category at the 2009 KAFI Animation Festival (Michigan).
The representation of humankind has captured the imagination of artists since the beginning of time. The Body Mimesis series reframes both the individual and society through abstract portraiture and challenges us to examine the varied facets of our lives. Body Mimesis: Tertiary speaks to the human spirit’s irrepressible drive to make meaning of our surroundings. Vibrant orange is a colour long-associated in many cultures with creativity. I work with solid colours that reflect a purity of energy and are grounded in universal qualities. These specific tertiary colours form a prismatic triad in relation to one another. The three Euclidean shapes are recurring elements in my work. They allude to the basic building blocks from which all matter, including human beings, are formed.
– Heidi McKenzie
Heidi McKenzie is a Toronto-based ceramic artist, art journalist and curator. In 2009, McKenzie returned to her father’s ancestral home of India to apprentice in ceramics. She holds an MFA from OCAD University (2014) and Diploma from Sheridan (2012). In 2011, McKenzie received the Emerging Artist Award at Toronto Artists Project and, in 2012, exhibited at the Toronto International Art Fair. In 2013, she was funded by the OAC to create work in Jingdezhen, China, and Bali, Indonesia. This work stems from her residency at Guldagergaard, Denmark, in 2014. McKenzie has also exhibited in Romania, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia and the US.
wHerKnowing ? (76 words)
Then. A long time ago, wHer between eolith and artefact, near geoglyph: Local, one observant, located toward > image. Their nascent: locale, one, object and surface, sequenced about ensemble- about a curious notation toward > preference.
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Richard Sewell co-founded Open Studio in 1970; continued as artist, printmaker, publisher, and collaborator in: dance, music, and performance; taught with several Canadian colleges and universities; retired professor emeritus from Sheridan College in 2008. Mr. Sewell exhibited in, staged and/or curated presentations in Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Europe, South Korea, Japan, and recently with KWAG, AGO, Open Studio, and Loop Gallery. Now imageologist, Mr. Sewell pursues wHer, geoplasticimage: gpi, and locusethics, a 3-part work/query about one located curiosity called image. Mr. Sewell lives in Grand Bend, Ontario.
These four small, acrylic paintings are part of my ongoing investigation into the expressive possibilities of abstraction and non-objective painting that I have been pursuing for more than 50 years. These untitled canvases are part of an extended series that were made in 2015 and relate to my large-scale and intimate paintings and drawings that will be shown in my solo exhibition from January 9 – February 6, 2016 at the Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. With attention to the dynamic, though restrained integration of colour, shape, media, process, and material-pictorial support, I have sought to create an expressive object that invites sustained contemplation. In these works, I intend to offer a convincing perceptual experience that embodies conscious planning, improvisation, formal specificity, and critical discernment.
– Ron Shuebrook
Ron Shuebrook is an artist, writer, and educator whose work is in more than 60 public collections and represented by the Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto, among others.
Shuebrook is Professor Emeritus and former President and VP Academic at OCAD University. Other positions include Professor and Chair, Fine Art, and founding Coordinator, MFA Program, University of Guelph; professor and Chair, Studio Division, NSCAD. He has received such awards as Honourary Doctorate, OCAD; the Art Administrator’s Award of Distinction, National Council of Art Administrators; and a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. He is former President, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; past President, Universities Art Association of Canada; and currently Senior Artist in Residence, Boarding House Arts, Guelph.
Various media and ideas meet in my practice where the studio process and resultant detritus are embraced. Through investigations of location and scale, in allowing for the unexpected and utilizing the unintentional, engaging situations are possible.
The vitrine insert, leftover from my previous installation for Historiographic at Harbourfront Centre (spring 2014), emptied of its original intent, but not its inherent qualities and, with lighting still in place, dominates my studio. For over a year it has been a site for building and compiling, setting the stage for an evolution of ideas through the play of materials and light. Nothing is considered foreign to the process.
The work intentionally confounds the perception of scale for the viewer through an ambiguous or skewed context. The constant is the sequential, the back and forth, the ricochet of ideas and process.
– Lynne Wynick
Lynne Wynick studied at the Ontario College of Art from 1966-69. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions, including Gallery TPW (Toronto), Harbourfront Centre, Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre (Kingston) and Union Gallery, Queen’s University (Kingston).
Wynick’s books and multiples are represented in the bookwork collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the AGO, and numerous private collections. Her multiples are represented by Art Metropole (Toronto). Wynick is co-founder and co-director of the Wynick/Tuck Gallery (Toronto).