COOPER COLE is pleased to present Hey Mars, a two-person exhibition featuring the work of New York-based artist Rachel Eulena Williams and Toronto-based artist Scott Treleaven.

Rachel Eulena Williams works at the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Her reconfigured canvases unbind painting from the stretcher, avoiding conventional support systems and imagining a myriad of spatial contortions. Some works in this exhibition take this to the extreme: sprawling across the walls resembling assemblages more than canvases. In others, Williams pulls these shapes back into the frame, creating sculptural works that push out of the two-dimensional plane. Williams’ vibrant use of colour represents a critique of, and liberation from, Western art history’s ‘othering’ of colour, and its categorization as unruly, foreign, and vulgar. The artist embraces those colours marginalized by the chromophobia of the West, which defined them as both dangerous and superficial.1 Williams’ distinctive works question these restrictions placed on colour and shape, as well as how virtuosity is defined.

Scott Treleaven’s work is engaged with themes of perception, embodied mysticism, and queer and psychological alterity, aiming to re-locate abstraction as part of a transcendental, rather than purely formal, tradition. Using established aesthetic prompts, from pop psychedelic gestures to the arrangement of Neolithic stone sites, Treleaven’s paintings act as portals into ecologies of visual language and symbology, conveying ideas of sublimity and the ecstatic.

Williams and Treleaven share an interest in questioning the formal boundaries of painting. Through their own distinctive approaches to the medium and its history, both artists search for that which is not easily defined, fixed, or part of the visible, earthly world. Instead, they delve into the imagery of the ulterior.

1 David Batchelor. Chromophobia. London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2000. pp. 23.

 

Rachel Eulena Williams (b. 1991, Miami, Florida, USA) earned her B.F.A. from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York in 2013. Her work has been exhibited internationally at Loyal Gallery, Stockholm (2019), Ceysson & Bénétière, Sainte Etienne (2018), Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2018), Derek Eller Gallery, New York (2018), Cooper Cole, Toronto (2018), The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017), Mass Gallery, Austin (2017), SomeTime Salon, San Francisco (2017), and Center Street, New York (2017). Williams has held the SIP Fellowship at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, New York (2019), 68 Projects, Berlin (2018), and NY Studio Factory, Brooklyn (2014). Rachel Eulena Williams currently lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.

Scott Treleaven (b. 1972, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 1996. A noted figure in 90s queer independent film and zine circles, his publications have been included in historical overviews such as ‘In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955’ (JRP|Ringier 2009), ‘The Magazine – Documents of Contemporary Art Series’ (MIT Press 2015), and ‘Showboat: Punk, Sex, Bodies’ (Dashwood 2016). Treleaven was included in the FRONT International Triennial in 2018 and La Biennale de Montréal in 2007. Solo and group exhibitions include: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2018); XYZ Collective, Tokyo (2018); MOCA Tucson, Arizona (2018); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2018; 2017); Invisible-Exports, New York (2018; 2015; 2013; 2011); The Suburban, Milwaukee (2017); 80WSE, New York (2016); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2014); ICA, Philadelphia (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); and ICA London, UK (2012), amongst others. Scott Treleaven currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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