July 20 - September 9, 2017

Exhibition Text

Opening reception: Friday July 21 2017, 6-9pm

COOPER COLE is pleased to present a 2-person exhibition with Tau Lewis and Curtis Santiago, Through the people we are looking at ourselves.


I want to know where they locate value.

I want them to have comfort and I want access to them. I want to bring them together sometimes. I want to do things with them, and document it. I want to know the owners and see where they locate value.

I am thinking about landscapes inside.

He is always asking questions about the past and drawing how he imagines it, based on what he knows. Me, I am looking at a more immediate past. These are relics of personal healing. Hers are portraits of personal and historical trauma. He imagines people and I use memory. I want it to feel like memories have jumped into a time machine and come out in jumbles.

We are fractured in the world.

I don’t want to talk about diaspora anymore. I want to create spaces to think about it. Mobility is necessary and luxurious and peculiar given our past. We care about where things go. We don’t want these objects to be feeding those systems. This is a site of intimacy and vulnerability- that is in our portraits. His presence with vulnerability bridges. The contradictions should be visible.

I want the contradictions to be visible.

I don’t know whether her wisdom is perceptible through unrooted techniques. Her care is so deep it is incorruptible. She is present in those portraits, some people understand more than others. My portraits are precarious, maybe because they look like me. We are looking at ourselves in these cases. We haven’t been educated that way, maybe it limits our mobility but I still want to resist.

They dive inward.

Our interior is ancient and its poetry potent. This watersource is next to a potted plant nurtured by the spiritual woman and surrounded by barbed wire. Some think of silent indifference when they see the surrogates, but seems to me they might come alive at any moment. Maybe that is an antidote to how others might die at any moment. What is ‘imaginary?’ The imagination can map new materiality, dismantle exteriors and exceed construction. The formal can necessitate; transform, translate outward:


Tau Lewis / Curtis Santiago

/ Magdalyn Asimakis

Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto, Canada) is a Jamaican-Canadian sculptor whose work combines natural and synthetic materials to create simulations of living organisms. Her material practice is influenced by her surrounding environment, and the conceptual framework of her sculptures investigates black identity politics and African diaspora. Recent solo and group exhibitions include New Museum, New York and Night Gallery, Los Angeles, USA. Forthcoming exhibitions include a group show at the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada. Lewis currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Curtis Santiago (b.1979, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a former apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Santiago has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows including at the Studio Museum, Harlem; Rachel Uffner, Hunter College, New York; Perez Art Museum, Miami; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, USA; the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga, Canada. Following his artist-in-residency at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, USA, he recently participated in a residency with Gallery MOMO, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, Africa. Santiago is included in the current group exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, USA. Santiago lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.


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