GREAY MATTER

COOPER COLE is pleased to present, GREAY MATTER, a solo exhibition by Ryan Foerster. This highly anticipated solo exhibition of sculptural photography and video works marks the artists first solo presentation at the gallery, and first solo exhibition in Toronto in over a decade.

The following text written by Ryan Foerster accompanies the exhibition.

GREAY MATTER OR GRAY MATTER OR IS IT GREY MATTER THIS SHOW IS ABOUT GRAY. MY NEW FAVORITE COLOUR, OR COLOR. I USED TO BE MORE OF A CYAN MAGENTA YELLOW TYPE PERSON, NOW I TRY TO DO A SHOW ALL ABOUT GRAY. I LIKE TO THINK OF GRAY AS A IN BETWEEN ZONE, A TRANSITION PASSING THROUGH. I USE AND STILL DO LITERALLY COMPOST MY WORK.. AS IN ONE THING GENERATING THE NEXT THING AND EXAMINING THE IN BETWEEN MOMENTS. THIS WAS MOSTLY EXPLORED THROUGH USING PHOTOGRAPHY TO DOCUMENT THINGS AROUND AS I GO ABOUT. THE VIDEOS, BOOKS, SCULPTURES AND DRAWINGS ALL CAME THROUGH A SIMILAR FEELING OF WANTING TO EXPLORE THINGS AND TO TRY TO DOCUMENT THEM.. THIS SHOW INCLUDES SCULPTURES I MADE OUT OF SHAPES FROM CUTTING OUT HVAC UNITS. I RECONFIGURED THE STEEL INTO SHAPES I FIND INTERESTING. THERE ARE ALSO ELECTRICAL JUNCTION BOXES WITH PLANTS GROWING THROUGH THEM. SOME PHOTOGRAPHS I TOOK, SOME I MADE WITH OBJECTS ON TOP OF THEM EITHER IN THE DARKROOM, ON MY COMPUTER, OR IN THE YARD. ALSO SOME PRINTING PLATES THAT HAVE COME IN AND OUT OF MY WORK OVER THE YEARS FROM DIFFERENT BOOKS AND ZINES I MADE. THE VIDEOS I MAKE ARE LIKE DOCUMENTARIES TO ME. PHOTOS OR VIDEO I TOOK COLLAGED WITH FOUND FOOTAGE WHILE LOOKING AT THINGS ON THE INTERNET. THE SOUNDS ARE USUALLY RECORDINGS I MADE ON MY PHONE WHILE PLAYING MY ORGAN OR LISTENING TO THE RADIO. I CAN WORK ON MANY DIFFERENT THINGS IN ONE DAY AND I DO. I DRAW IN MORNING. MAYBE I FIND SOMETHING WALKING ZIGGY AND THINK OF SOMETHING. MAYBE I TAKE I PHOTO, OR GET SOME BACK, AND EITHER LIKE THEM OR TRY TO DO SOMETHING TO THEM SO THAT I LIKE THEM. I’M NEVER SURE WHEN I’M WORKING ON ART. I DON’T HAVE A STRUCTURE AND I DON’T KNOW WHEN SOMETHING WILL HIT. IN THE PAST, I’VE REACHED A POINT WITH ONE WAY OF WORKING, AND THEN EXPLORED IT FOR A WHILE, MAYBE EVEN YEARS, BUT THEN I STOP AND MOVE ON. IT’S NOT CLEAR WHEN, BUT I KNOW WHEN I’M SICK OF IT AND SWITCH. I LIKE WORKING WITH HANDS AND BEING OUTSIDE. SOMETIMES I WISH I HAD MORE STRUCTURE IN WHAT IT IS I DO. BUT WHAT THE HELL, IT’S ALL MADE UP. I’M AN ANARCHIST IN MY APPROACH TO MAKING ART. I FIND ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING AND HEATING/COOLING SYSTEMS INTERESTING. I LIKE HOW IT SEEMS LIKE THEY KNOW THE BEST WAY TO GET FROM HERE TO THERE. I ALSO LIKE WORKING IN THE UNKNOWN AND FOLLOWING DOWN PATHS THAT CREATE OTHER THINGS. IT SEEMS LIKE IT’S IN THIS GRADIENT AREA WHERE LINES ARE BLURRED, THINGS OVERLAP, CIRCLE BACK, AND GO OFF ON DIFFERENT ANGLES. I THOUGHT GRAY MATTER WAS AN INTERESTING TERM TO USE AS FAR AS MY THINKING OF WHAT MATTERS. WHICH MATERIAL, WHAT SITUATIONS, WHAT THE FUCK? SO HERE I AM TRYING TO EXPLAIN IN ENGLISH WHAT IT IS I WAS DOING HERE. I’M BEST AT EXPLAINING THE PROCESS OF EACH THING BEING MADE, WHICH I THINK IS VALID TO KNOW EVEN THOUGH EACH PROCESS CAME FROM A SITUATION THAT YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT SUPPOSED TO DO, SO WHY NOT USE LIGHT SENSITIVE PHOTO PAPER AND CORRODE IT WITH TIME, RAIN, AND PRESSURE FROM POTS ON IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. WHY NOT WATCH A PLANT GROW THROUGH A LEFTOVER JUNCTION BOX AFTER YOU LEARNED TO INSTALL LIGHTS ON YOUR HOUSE AND LAUGH TO YOURSELF ABOUT IT. WHY NOT ASK THEM AT oTHE HVAC PLACE FOR THEIR CUT OFF STEEL THEY CAN’T USE ANYMORE AND TRY TO MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF IT? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF AS I GO ABOUT DOING THINGS. A FEW YEARS AGO, JOSH AND I MADE A BBQ OUT OF A FOUR DECKER FILING CABINET AND COOKED HOT DOGS IN IT. I LIKE THE COMPARISON OF STRUCTURE USED TO ORGANIZE PAPERS INSTEAD BEING CONVERTED INTO A STRUCTURE TO COOK FOOD, ESPECIALLY FOOD LIKE HOT DOGS WHICH ARE A MASHUP OF BITS OF EXCESS MEAT. THAT’S SOME OF THE INTEREST I’VE HAD WITH HOT DOGS OVER THE YEARS, EVEN THOUGH AS I KID I THOUGHT THE BEST JOB WOULD BE A STREET HOT DOG VENDOR. I WOULD STILL DO THAT. I WOULD DO A LOT OF THINGS, AND I DO TRY A LOT OF THINGS, SO THIS SHOW IS SUPPOSED TO BE SOME SORT OF CELEBRATION OF GRAY MATTER AND WORKING THROUGH THINGS.


Ryan Foerster
(b. 1983, Newmarket, Canada) is a Canadian visual artist recognized for his zines, photographs, videos, and sculptural installations which frequently incorporate found objects, salvaged materials, and natural elements. The artist’s reuse of discarded materials to create new artworks is a generative process of discovery and transformation integral to Foerster’s practice as well as a reaction to excessive waste.

Foerster is a recipient of the Artadia and New Art Dealers Alliance Award, Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts awards. Foerster has widely exhibited internationally, at such spaces as Kerry Schuss, Printed Matter Inc., White Columns, Martos Gallery, Swiss Institute, New York, USA; CLEARING, Brussels, Belgium; Art Metropole, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Canada; Museum of Fine Arts, Split, Croatia, Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China; amongst many others. His work can be found in collections such as MoMa Library, Yale Library, Whitney Library, Brooklyn Museum Library, SFMoMa Library, New York Public Library, Carnegie Mellon University Library, Oxford University Library, Celine Paris, Rubell Museum. and Southeastern Community College Iowa. Foerster currently lives and works in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, USA.