Geoff McFetridge featured in The Star

May 29, 2020

Geoff McFetridge is featured for his positive work in The Star with an article by Deborah Dundas.

Geoff McFetridge’s painting shows how we can build a positive future together

Together we can create change. And, with incremental change, together we can build a positive future. It’s an idea as true when we’re looking for new ways to approach climate change, inequality, or living with each other during — and after — a pandemic.

In this painting, “A Positive Future Built of Incremental Change,” Canadian artist Geoff McFetridge has positioned the people depicted in such a way that we can’t help but think of it as a metaphor for what can be achieved through collective action and support. The image — representing that positive future — is only possible with all of us, as individuals, playing our parts, acting together.

The individuals are stylized — McFetridge is both an artist and a graphic designer. Many of his images, including this one, echo or incorporate graphic design elements and patterned formations. There’s a familiarity to them that’s attractive and instantly communicates to us. “It should feel like something, rather than look like something,” he says.

His work waxes poetic on the human condition. Figures are arranged against flat tonal surfaces, often forming simple shapes in their solidarity. They lean on one another or melt, become one; they leap through space using heads as stepping-stones.

McFetridge was born in Calgary in 1971 and studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design and the California Institute of the Arts. Although he now lives in California, he’s represented by the Cooper Cole gallery in Toronto and exhibits around the world, most recently with a solo presentation of his work in New York at Independent 2020.

His most recent work consists of a series of paintings and drawings directly responding to the pandemic. He’s posted some of them on Instagram (look him up: @mcfetridge). In one image, as people walk by each other at a good distance, their shadows still touch, giving the effect that they are holding hands. “The distance between us (6 feet!) Is also measured by our thoughts and love for each other,” McFetridge posted.

We’re all in this together.

Discover more about McFetridge, and other artists at the gallery at coopercole.com. The physical gallery is open for viewings by appointment only.

– Deborah Dundas

 

To view the full post visit The Star.

For more information about Geoff McFetridge please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Shawn Kuruneru and Walter Scott Reviewed in Cornelia Magazine

May 12, 2020

Shawn Kuruneru and Walter Scott’s solo exhibitions at COOPER COLE are reviewed in Cornelia Magazine by Margaryta Golovchenko.

 

Shawn Kuruneru,  Emanata,  2020. Installation view: Cooper Cole Gallery.

 

As I step into Cooper Cole, I feel an overwhelming sensation of lightness and openness that is partially conditioned by the physical space itself, with its white walls and bright lights. I’m reminded of the similarly white and bright simulation in The Matrix where Morpheus brings Neo to show him that reality is fluid, dictated by the mind rather than the body. This analogy, as well as the idea that the body is not as solid nor as “fixed” as we tend to believe, is apt for the two solo shows on display—Shawn Kuruneru’s Emanata and Walter Scott’s Extension of Doubt—which share an interest in exploring the process of constructing the self.

Of the two exhibitions Kuruneru’s comes across as the more physical one. Exploring the potential of drawing as a medium Emanata deals with not only the body and speech but also sense perception. The body’s physical agency and capabilities prove to be insignificant compared to both supernatural and natural forces, as the clenched figure in Fool’s Wish issue 2 page 12 (2019), from Kuruneru’s self-published comic, reminds us. Clutched by a giant hand that recalls a tree trunk, à la J. R. R. Tolkien’s Ents, the male figure can only yell out in discomfort before being dropped; his falling silhouette is shown in the bottom-left panel of the piece. Kuruneru plays with the format of the comic book and its ability to slice and divide individual identity literally with the help of panels. Although the corporeal body is only seen in its entirety in one panel from the pages on display, its presence is always felt, with thought bubbles an indication of the presence of a consciousness.

Shawn Kuruneru,  Fool’s Wish issue 2 page 12 , 2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

Shawn Kuruneru, Fool’s Wish issue 2 page 12, 2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

Kuruneru’s large monochromes from 2017 at once recall the color field painting of artists like Barnett Newman while his breathy application of paint and splatters of black also resonate with the large photograms of Wolfgang Tillmans.  The results suggest sunlight streaming in through colorful curtains. A more recent series of black-and-white abstractions take the question of a dissolved corporeality even further by refusing to offer single, easily comprehensible forms. I spent quite some time in front of Kuruneru’s Emanata 1 and Emanata 2 paintings (both 2019), at first charting the outline of a skull and the profile of a soldier’s head, respectively, and then working hard to unsee these representational contours. More than merely an exploration of the elements and traditions of drawing, the diverse works brought together in Kuruneru’s exhibition make viewers aware of how the body is represented in different artistic traditions, from the mimetic approach in comic books to the deconstruction and abstraction in Cubist painting. The exhibition also surfaces how we have been conditioned to seek representation and meaning in the images we see, and the discomfort we feel when images deny us this opportunity.

Shawn Kuruneru,  Emanata , 2020. Installation view: Cooper Cole Gallery.

Shawn Kuruneru, Emanata, 2020. Installation view: Cooper Cole Gallery.

Walter Scott,  Extension of Doubt , 2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

Walter Scott, Extension of Doubt, 2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

This willingness to let go of meaning holds true for Scott’s exhibition, Extension of Doubt, which forms the more subconscious, psychological half of the two exhibitions (a quality spatialized in its installation in Cooper Cole’s smaller subbasement exhibition space). The unifying thread through Scott’s work is a cerebral interest in exploring, in the words of the exhibition text, the “doubt that surrounds the art object during its display and creation,” yet the surreal and unsettling nature of his multimedia drawings begs a more immediate and emotional, as well as a more personal, form of engagement. The toxic greens and yellows in The Writer’s Table (2019) filled me with eerie discomfort even before I took in the representational content of the image, the ghostly expression and disproportionate features of the figure heightening my unease.

Walter Scott,  The Writer’s Table,  2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

Walter Scott, The Writer’s Table, 2019. Courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery.

The semiautobiographical figures in satirical scenarios in Extension of Doubt feel like the art-world equivalent of quizzes purporting to reveal what magical creature or fictional character you are that many, myself included, have enjoyed over the years. In Scott’s works, these “archetypes” test the viewer’s preconception of what it means to hold yourself together and how this work is often conceived of as body-centric. In Reading Kathy Acker (2019), the twisting of the figure’s jelly-like limbs, as well as the violent red outline that surrounds her, contrast with the ripped-up pieces of text that seem to flock around her like birds, invoking the sensation of feeling torn apart on the inside and the sheer willpower that is sometimes required to prevent our body from following suit. Similarly, Spectre of the Subject (2019) touches on the fact that the mind and body often exist in different states when one experiences overwhelming emotions like fear or anxiety, resulting in out-of-body sensations that we are still often discouraged from showing in public, forcing us to become corporeal ghosts.

Kuruneru’s work occupies the main and upper floor of the gallery, whereas Scott’s is displayed in the basement. The two exhibitions are in dialogue with each other, working in tandem to examine how we think of our corporeal and psychological existence. The dichotomy of elevation and submersion, physically enacted in the visitor’s movements up and down stairs to view Kuruneru’s and Scott’s work, recalls the daily decisions we make in determining which parts of ourselves to make visible to the public and which to bury. While it may initially appear that the physical body is always on display while the mind is hidden, Kuruneru’s and Scott’s exhibitions disrupt this convention by reminding visitors that our identity, our bodies, and even our emotions are assemblages that we constantly add to and rewrite, and that acknowledging that we might not always be as in control of this process as we would like to be is its own act of subversion.

To view the full article, please visit Cornelia Mag.

For more information about Shawn Kuruneru and Walter Scott please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

In Conversation | Jagdeep Raina on archives, Frieze New York, and Bhangra club culture

May 5, 2020

The terraced streets of Glasgow: driving past, 2016
Mixed media on paper
26″ X 40″

 

COOPER COLE artist Jagdeep Raina has an interdisciplinary practice that spans drawing, textiles, writing, and, more recently, video animation, photography and ceramics. This year, he was one of the recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award for Ontario and was going to have a solo presentation at Frieze New York this May.

We recently spoke to Jagdeep about the new work he made for Frieze New York. These drawings explore the phenomenon of Bhangra club culture during the late 1980s in the UK, Canada, and the US. Bhangra– music that remixed traditional Punjabi folk with hip hop and reggae– also represented a cultural fracturing of younger generations away from their immigrant communities.

Completed while Jagdeep was living in England during Brexit vote, this work also speaks to the crisis of gentrification and nationalism altering the way these same communities grapple with day to day life. The artist uses the medium of drawing as a way of exploring themes of historical memory through archival material.

For more information about Jagdeep Raina, please visit our website.

To stand there and smile, 2016
Mixed media on paper
22″ X 30″

 

Attentions mates! Why is our paki nationality not an outdated concept?, 2017
Mixed media on paper
22″ X 30″

 

The guitar solemnly strung, and life on the Broadway went on, 2016
Mixed media on paper
22″ X 30″

Factory grind, 2016
Mixed media
26″ X 40″

 

A tangible expression (Part 2), 2017
Mixed media on paper
19″ X 25″

 

Could you tell us a bit about these new drawings you made for Frieze New York?

These works on paper investigate an ongoing relationship I have with house music, specifically Bhangra music from the late 1970s, early 1980s and early 1990s. Bhangra—a form of Punjabi folk mixed with hip hop and reggae— was created by working class South Asian Migrant labourers who worked in the industrial factories of Britain, specifically Birmingham and the outskirts of London. I was inspired by how this music left Britain, and has travelled all across the globe to Canada, the United States, and even back to the Global South. 

 

What made you become interested in Bhangra club culture in the 1980s?

I’ve always been interested in clubs as being a space where people can strip themselves of the external markers of identity: gender, race, age, class, sexuality as a way of collective desire and self-pride. Bhangra is a form of music that I was always influenced by, especially looking at the history of the music and the relationship I had with it growing up. As I began studying the origins of this music, I never knew that it had such a political, and radical history. I was coming across anti-colonial, anti-racist, and feminist song lyrics like Kala Preet, Nirmal and Mohinder Kaur Bhamra and discovering the work of queer film-makers and DJ’s like Pratibha Parmar and DJ Rekha who were documenting Bhangra in their work by juxtaposing the self-affirmation that came with dancing to Bhangra music against histories of colonial and imperial carnage. I was also having conversations with people who lived through these moments- telling me that Bhangra was also a way to rebel against rigid and constraining ways of upbringing that was dominated by fundamentalism and a violent holding onto tradition. It was using and utilizing the archive that made me come across these powerful histories. I’ve also always been inspired by this piece of writing I came across by the DJ Honey Dijon:

 

“The politics of today are defined by gentrification which is also the biggest single obstacle for nightlife. Cities can become places where people only consume and do not create. Artists are pushed out to make room for high-rise apartments built for people with corporate jobs. They don’t want noise, they don’t want difference. There is no space for those who do not fit a prescribed agenda. And yet it is always the disenfranchised who fuel culture five years later.”

 

Nightlife is not just a scene for entertainment. Clubs are intersectional spaces free from the repression and struggles of everyday life. Or at least should be. Venues, promoters, DJs, and the people who come to dance— they need to stand against gentrification. Clubs should not just be places of monetary transaction. Clubs can bring people together of diverse sexual orientations, ethnicities, and backgrounds in ways that government never can. Being a DJ is a privilege; we allow people to connect and escape. The continued existence of nightlife is vital for our culture: in these times of division, it creates safe places for people to convene without fear.

 

What is your process for determining the content of your drawings? Are some from life or are they all from memory?

A lot of these drawings use archival material as a reference point, and slowly morph into memory, mark making, textured washes, and experimental writing: text phrases that I always lay out on top of the drawings.

 

Which archives do you reference?

To study the historical development of Bhangra music, I looked at documentaries, photographs, oral history interviews, album covers, and things like that. Personal archives are also important. For this body of work, I drew inspiration from conversations I had with people from the South Asian diaspora who came of age in the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as photographers and film-makers who were documenting the Bhangra music scene in Britain during the 1980s.

 

Visually, I was looking at film stills from news documentaries from the 1980s and early 1990s, the filmic work of Gurinder Chadha and Pratibha Parmar, the photographs of David Corio, and photographs of family and friends. I also did a two-hour interview with a film director when I lived in London, and drew from the audio I recorded with the film director.

 

You made some of this work while living in England in 2016, around the time of the Brexit vote. Did this affect your work?

Brexit had a huge impact on my work. It was devastating and powerful being in England during the summer of 2016. It was the first time where I stopped romanticizing and homogenizing what a diasporic community looked like. I realize that every community is flawed, including the ones I come from. 

 

Dismantling utopian ideas of what we want a community to look like is really important to me. I always try to operate from a place of being self-critical as well. I’m inspired by the writings of Adrian Piper, Stuart Hall and the work of Felix Gonzalez Torres who have helped me realize the importance of detaching from the social and standing outside of a community in order to learn and see more deeply. When I dismantle and tease apart notions of a fixed diasporic communal identity, I realize that the word “community” is also a double-edged sword: it is something that is constructed and not innate, and the very definition is exclusionary. 

 

Your lines are so strong, yet suggest a lot of movement. How does your visual language relate to what you are drawing?

Drawing is always at the core of my practice as an artist. While I am finding myself immersed in textiles, and now slowly photography, video, and film, drawing will always be at the core of my work to help me translate and develop my ideas through a visual medium. Drawing has helped me create an experimental writing-based practice as well. What has made drawing so important for me is that it has always unified all the threads of my work, without hierarchy. The quiet surface of paper and now the quiet surface of thread, fabric, and 16 and 35mm film echoes the fragility of the documents I work from. I’ve also always seen how easy drawing can be to transport: they be rolled up, tied together with string or an elastic band, and tucked lightly underneath my arm to travel where they need to go. Drawing has also always been an anchoring point for me to push myself in collage and writing: whether it’s incorporating text onto my work or collaging photographic image and archival material onto my drawings.

 

There are a few drawings in this series that are cityscapes. They appear to depict the same place; can you say a bit about these?

I’m interested in slowing down and creating movements of pause and contemplation in my work… the building of terraced houses, industrial factories, run down clubs and venues are a type of mark, a ghost or a soft presence of bodies and communities that cater together once. I’m becoming really inspired by the thought of creating cityscapes through the medium of video and film as well. That is my next skill set I want to build as an artist. 


¹ Honey Dijon On nightlife. Art Forum, Summer 2017.

 

For more information about Jagdeep Raina please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Sara Cwynar Reviewed in Frieze

May 4, 2020

Sara Cwynar’s exhibition at The Approach, London reviewed in Frieze by Sophie Ruigrock.

The Cognitive Dissonance of Sara Cwynar’s Media Haven

‘What do I need from you in order to complete myself?’ asks a man’s voice. He’s calm and cogent with the authority of a presenter on National Public Radio’s This American Life (1995–ongoing). A droning sound pulses beneath his words, sedating me. And, as the silver-tongued narrator delivers his script, dense with allusions to critical theory and cultural references – from the postimpressionist painter Paul Cézanne to philosophers René Descartes and Plato – delicious imagery unfurls: tight shots of red mouths, soft blonde whiskers on an upper lip, jewellery boxes, glossed cars, paint that ripples like chocolate in Lindt adverts.

Screened as part of ‘Marilyn’, Sara Cwynar’s first solo show at The Approach, Red Film (2018) was briefly installed in the gallery before being moved online, following the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. Shot in smudgy 16mm, with abundant footage of limbs and symmetrical faces, Red Film is beautiful. But its formal qualities are not pure aestheticism; rather, they serve to replicate the experience of existing on capitalism’s conveyor-belt, which holds us on an eternal loop of craving and consuming.

Having initially studied and worked as a graphic designer, Cwynar is well-versed in the tropes of advertising, which capitalizes on base desires and insecurities. In order to critique this language, Cwynar appropriates it, saturating Red Film’s imagery with marketing sleights of hand. Elegant fingers direct our gaze, imbuing the objects they touch with allure. This cognitive bias – the belief that an object is desirable because it is associated with something beautiful or good – is known as the halo effect. And, I’ll admit it, Cwynar’s trick works on me: I want that NARS blush compact on the screen. Its image brings back memories of the powdery smell of my mum’s makeup bag and Christmas gifts. Maybe, if I owned it, I would be like the woman holding it: complete. Maybe I would feel as safe and loved as I did in my nostalgic recollections. The narrator’s sermon, the thrum of the music, the revolving objects: this is the insidious trance of advanced capitalism.

In addition to Red Film, six, small silent videos line the gallery walls. They document a range of settings, including an Italian hosiery manufacturer (Pantyhose Factory, Italy, 2020) and a near-empty department store (Barneys New York, 2020). Less engaging than Red Film, these clips nonetheless make a point about the suffocating torrent of images many of us endure daily. In the gallery’s annex is a selection of Cwynar’s photographs. They’re as beautiful and tightly wound with theoretical references as her film, but fail to pack quite the same punch. Perhaps it’s because they’d look so good on a collector’s wall. I’m left thinking about their price point.

To view the full article, please visit Frieze.

For more information about Sara Cwynar please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Sara Cwynar Reviewed in the Financial Times

April 24, 2020

Sara Cwynar’s exhibition at The Approach, London is reviewed in the Financial Times by Chris Allnutt.


“These reds are not real,” insists the monotone narrator of “Red Film”, a video installation in Sara Cwynar’s latest show Marilyn. And yet the colour pervades the Brooklyn-based artist’s exploration of glamour and identity in the Instagram era: the reds of a lipstick, of a convertible, of a rose that seems neither entirely real nor entirely imagined.

Her work was due to be exhibited at The Approach, a small gallery in east London, but now features instead in David Zwirner’s online showcase of 12 London gallerists disrupted by coronavirus lockdown. Through photography, film and collage, Cwynar offers up both visual ingenuity and a lively rejoinder to commercialised influencer culture.

To view the full article, please visit the Financial Times.

For more information about Sara Cwynar please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Geoff McFetridge Visual Diary in the New York Times

April 23, 2020

Geoff McFetridge created a visual diary about the Covid-19 pandemic for the New York Times.

To view the full article please visit the New York Times.

For more information about Geoff McFetridge please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

 

Chrysanne Stathacos | 1-900-Mirror Mirror, 1993 – 2020

April 21, 2020

 

COOPER COLE will be presenting a new series of posts on our news feed in which we look at one artwork in-depth. For our first post, we chose Chrysanne Stathacos’ incredible 1-900-Mirror Mirror (1993-2020), which is part of our current exhibition There are more than four, curated by Jacob Korczynski.

1-900-Mirror Mirror is an interactive installation that was first presented by Stathacos at Andrea Rosen Gallery in 1993. After an extensive exhibition history that followed, it is now installed at Cooper Cole alongside work by Andy Fabo, Robert Flack, and Tim Jocelyn. Surrounded by mirrors hand-printed with some of the artist’s motifs including roses, hair and ivy, each individual encounters their infinite reflection. Provided with an opportunity to ask a question using tarot cards about the future through video-phone communication, it offered a means to look ahead at the height of the AIDS crisis. Through her groundbreaking use of early video-phone technology, Chrysanne’s engagement with the future also anticipated the contemporary context we find ourselves in, when we look towards the reflective surfaces of our screens not only to see one another, but also ourselves. For this presentation at Cooper Cole, Stathacos will adapt the work for the current conditions of the pandemic by engaging in a series of conversations online with various people connected to the exhibition and its four artists.

Thirty years later, and amidst a global pandemic, Stathacos was inspired to reflect back on the social history of this sculpture and remember her friend Robert Flack, who died from the AIDS virus and whose work is also included in There are more than four. She plans to use his favoured deck – The Tantric Dakini Oracle.

 

Photo Credit: Maxine Henryson

I  first presented the work in 1993 at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, at the height of the AIDS pandemic. I remember oceans of tears merged with snowstorms as I traveled between New York City and Toronto. Our friends and partners were dying. 1-900-Mirror Mirror confronted viewers with their own image in my infinity chamber, connecting me with the viewer by video phone as I sat in my Little Italy apartment with my tarot cards. What would they ask?  What would I answer as I picked a card? I hoped to create a transformative experience, hope and healing unfolding within the never-ending vision of one’s self, seen through my hand-printed roses, ivy, and hair. Now, during another pandemic, the work will again be interactive, but online.

Robert Flack and I used to read tarot together often back then, doing rituals with oils, candles, sage and secret objects on an Indian bed spread on the roof of my New York studio on Centre Street.  I have found a copy of the deck he used – The Tantric Dakini Oracle – which I will use now, thinking of him

 Robert Flack died in October, 1993, a few months before the opening of 1-900-Mirror Mirror.  Jorge Zontal of General Idea left us a few weeks after the project ended.    The sadness and tragedy of that time is still with me/us. Why were our governments and leaders not more proactive in the early 1980’s, when AIDS first appeared? So many could have been saved.  WHY remains the question.  Robert Flack, Tim Jocelyn, Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz, David Buchan and so so so many more should still be with us, that is the tragedy that will never die.

– Chrysanne Stathacos, 2020

 

To view more images of 1-900-Mirror Mirror click here.

For more information about Chrysanne Stathacos please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

 

Sara Cwynar is Included in the Pictures for Elmhurst Fundraiser

April 16, 2020

SARA CWYNAR is contributing her print Cami to the Pictures for Elmhurst fundraiser in Queens, New York.

 

Sara_Cwynar.jpg

 

Elmhurst Hospital Center has been overwhelmed during the pandemic and has devoted 95% of the building to Covid-19 patients. It is a “safety-net” hospital that serves predominantly low-income patients. The hospital notes: 

“The hospital has been flooded with Covid-19 patients and is struggling to keep up with demand for both medical personnel and PPE. The Pictures For Elmhurst project adds desperately-needed supplies for those on the front lines fighting this virus. It is inspiring to know that such talented photographers and artists ‘have our back’ and are keeping our staff and community in mind during this terribly difficult time.”

Cwynar is participating in this fundraiser with 186 photographers. Cami is available for purchase for $150 USD with all the proceeds going to Elmhurst Hospital Center. It is an open edition, time-limited for the duration of the fundraiser. The photographs are all printed by the Brooklyn-based Griffin Editions and will be shipped once non-essential businesses reopen.

Cami reflects Cwynar’s interest in the re-presentation of visual materials and tropes. Balancing on one foot as she ‘poses’ deadpan for the photographer, the physical precarity of the woman depicted mirrors the makeshift chartreuse yellow backdrop. Referencing retail catalogues and old art history textbooks, Cwynar’s visual assemblages meditate on how vernacular images shape collective world views, and how those ideals can change through time and contextual manipulation.

 

SARA CWYNAR (b. 1985, Vancouver, Canada) works in photography and film to explore the way that images accumulate, endure, and change in value over time. Her works involve constant archiving and re-presentation of collected visual materials, layering diverse imagery with references to art theory. Cwynar was one of the recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award. She received her Bachelor of Design from York University in 2010 and her MFA from Yale University in 2016. She has exhibited at international museums including the Museum of Modern Art (2019); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2019); Milwaukee Art Museum (2019); Oakville Galleries (2018); Minneapolis Institute of Art (2018); Museum für Moderne Kunst (2017); the Fondazione Prada (2016); and MoMA PS1 (2015), and international galleries including The Approach, London (2020); Foxy Production, New York (2017); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2016); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2015), M+B Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); and Fluxia Gallery, Milan (2014). In 2014, Cwynar was awarded the Printed Matter Emerging Artists Publication Series and published her first monograph, entitled Kitsch Encyclopedia, with Blonde Art Books. Her work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), SFMoMA (San Francisco), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas), Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Cwynar currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

 

To view the work and purchase prints, please visit Pictures for Elmhurst.

For more information about Sara Cwynar please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Sara Cwynar, Georgia Dickie, and Jagdeep Raina Announced as Sobey Art Award Winners 2020

April 16, 2020

Represented artists Sara Cwynar, Georgia Dickie, and Jagdeep Raina are among 25 recipients of the Sobey Art Award 2020.  Featured on National Gallery of Canada.

 

2020 Sobey Art Award Increases Cash Prize for Longlist Artists 25 exceptional Canadian artists will be awarded $25,000 (CAD) each

In the spirit of providing financial support to visual artists in Canada at a time when they need it the most, and when opportunities to generate income are limited, the overall 2020 Sobey Art Award program fund has been divided equally among 25 finalists.

Selected from one of the longest nomination lists to date, the 2020 Sobey Art Award’s 25 winners reflect the remarkable richness and range of contemporary art practices across Canada. Distinctly dynamic, resonant, and compelling, these artists’ works bring to view meaningful approaches to their materials and gestures. They create new relationships and vocabularies that value specificity with regard to personal, geographic, cultural, or socio-historical perspectives, yet open themselves onto broader forms of connection.

In this unprecedented moment, we welcomed the award committee’s decision to reconceive the award process so as to champion and support the practices of 25 artists. Selecting among so many candidates of exceptional quality was no simple task, but in working through an array of considerations, our conversations led us to recognize artists at different moments in their careers whose works we feel invigorate, innovate, and reframe wide-spanning areas of practice and discourse.

– 2020 Sobey Art Award Jury

To view the full article please visit National Gallery of Canada Website.

For more information about Sara Cwynar, Georgia Dickie, and Jagdeep Raina please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Vanessa Maltese and Michelle Grabner featured in Art Viewer

April 14, 2020

Vanessa Maltese and Michelle Grabner two-person show at MICKEY is featured in Art Viewer.

 

Artists: Michelle Grabner, Vanessa Maltese

Exhibition title: A View Without A Room

Venue: MICKEY, Chicago, US

Date: March 13 – April 26, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and MICKEY, Chicago

COOPER COLE is pleased to collaborate with Chicago based gallery MICKEY to present a two person exhibition, A View Without A Room, featuring the work of Michelle Grabner and Vanessa Maltese, curated by Simon Cole.

Michelle Grabner’s sculptural work employs familiar objects, arrangements, and patterns to explore the power structures that underpin everyday life. Investigating the political resonance of the concept of ‘order’ that traverses the boundaries of governance and visual culture, the artist asserts that even the most domestic patterns on textiles reverberate with political connotations. In Grabner’s plaster reliefs, crocheted compositions are embedded in, and removed from, plaster molds set in baking pans, revealing that color has leached from the from the textile into the plaster, and speaking to the ways that our environments condition us. Her wood reliefs that display screen printed lids and abstract gingham paintings invert the previously mentioned material strategy by means of building layers, drawing attention to the visual ordering that exists in domestic environments. The works in this exhibition exemplify Grabner’s interest in undermining the social power of ordinary objects and images; Instead of developing new forms and patterns, she intentionally extracts common and mundane motifs, recontextualizing them in sculptural work that makes their social functions hyper-visible.

Vanessa Maltese’s new paintings and sculptures explore processes of pattern recognition and viewer perception. In her paintings Hypothesizing coincidence no.1-no.8 Maltese employs klecksography, a process of making images from inkblots. The artist begins by making blot prints on drawing pads, groups them together according to similarities and relationships between shapes, and from there transfers the drawings onto the panel surfaces. Maltese’s process of making these works speaks to associative thinking, recalling the historical use of klecksography in psychoanalysis as a way of tapping into the subconscious. In her sculptural series Hook, Maltese continues her inquiry into human perception by creating cast bronze works that depict coat hooks broken in various ways, with the intention of resembling faces. Emerging from Maltese’s research on pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon in which recognizable patterns are identified in unrelated contexts, the title of these works refers both to the literal objects as well as the sensation of a pareidolic instance.

A View Without A Room places Grabner and Maltese’s work into an incisive dialogue around objects and visuality. Both artists are influenced by imagery that is workaday and easily overlooked, but is also laden with social, political, and psychological implications. Together, Grabner and Maltese’s respective practices use familiar visual patterns to reveal the structures that condition the way we see.

Michelle Grabner (b. 1962, Oshkosh, USA) holds an MA in Art History and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University. She joined the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, and became Chair of Painting and Drawing department in 2009. She is also a senior critic at Yale University in the Department of Painting and Printmaking. Her writing has been published in Artforum, Modern Painters, Frieze, Art Press, and Art-Agenda. Grabner also runs The Suburban and The Poor Farm with her husband, artist Brad Killam. She co-curated the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art along with Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer, and served as the inaugural artistic director of FRONT International, a triennial exhibition in and around Cleveland, OH in 2018.

I Work From Home, Michelle Grabner’s first comprehensive solo museum exhibition opened in 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland organized by David Norr. She was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art curated by Tricia Paik in 2015. Solo exhibitions of her work have also been held at INOVA, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Ulrich Museum, Wichita; and University Galleries, Illinois State University. She has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate St. Ives, UK; and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland. Her work is included in the permanent collection of Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; MoCA, Chicago; MUDAM, Luxemburg; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Grabner currently lives and works in Milwaukee, USA.

Vanessa Maltese (b. 1988, Toronto, Canada) holds a BFA from OCAD University. She is the National Winner of the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions across North America. Most recently, she has exhibited at Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, New York, Halsey Mckay, East Hampton; ITP Space, Jackson; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, USA; The Power Plant, Cooper Cole, Erin Stump Projects, Toronto; Carl Louie, London; Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada.  In 2018 Vanessa completed the Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence program in Dufftown, Scotland. Her monumental public artwork “subject to change” can be seen at RBC’s Waterpark Place in downtown Toronto. Maltese currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

To view the full article, please visit Art Viewer.

For more information about Vanessa Maltese or Michelle Grabner please contact the gallery:

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+1.416.531.8000

Georgia Dickie reviewed in Peripheral Review

April 14, 2020
Georgia Dickie reviewed in Peripheral Review for her solo show at Oakville Galleries.

As I walked through Agouti Sky, Georgia Dickie’s solo exhibition at Oakville Galleries, I kept hearing my dad’s voice in my head. “Let’s see what’s in inventory,” the phrase he habitually announces before hastening off to his basement workshop to find something. Though my father would argue otherwise, the room is shambolic, muddled with tools, his exercise bike and innumerable things. These things are of some mysterious origin, known only to him, and they’ve been saved as “inventory” for moments just like thisthe moment when “this might come in handy” is realized. So, as I came face-to-face with Dickie’s most conspicuous, centrally-placed piece, Reef (2019), a multi-part installation of found objects, my mind began swanning through the familiarity of it all: this was an inventory. Reef, in sum with the eleven other sculptural works in the show, is an assemblage of items: wooden boxes, satellite dishes, a leather belt, metal frames, cash registers, metal wiring, a tensor bandage, tubing, ropes, cut paper, candles and a baby seat. A jumbled group of things, with some mysterious origin, known only to her.

In the years I’ve observed Dickie’s practice, I’ve come to think that she must share the same methodology as my favourite sea creature: the xenophoridae, or, as it’s more commonly known, the carrier shell. The xenophoridae, a type of sea snail, collects small stones and shells as it travels along the ocean floor,  periodically cementing them to its own shell as it grows. Similar to the personalities and styles of people, their appearances range from tame to eccentric; some xenophoridae choose to affix small, unremarkable stones to their back, while others place outlandishly large pieces of coral that stand six inches tall. In kind, Dickie balances, props or fettles objects together in such a fashion that, in touching one another, form contingent synecdochal relationships—the small pieces each act alone to collectively make a whole. Within the spectrum of tame to eccentric, Dickie plainly and playfully careens towards the latter. In the creation of her sculptures, the gizmos, whatsits and doodads that Dickie collects during neighbourhood travels become her shellneatly articulated formations, wherein, at her appeal, the objects must reckon with their differences in order to create a cohesive singular identity. This negotiation is neatly articulated by the wall-mounted sculpture Myrtleherb (2019), which balanced a wishbone-shaped twig bedecked with rocks, a single red bead, an earring and a fish hook over the arm of a rusted gas meter.

I found it apposite to see that Frances Loeffler’s accompanying exhibition text, “Regarding Objects” similarly drew a comparison between Dickie’s practice and the animalistic. For Loeffler, Dickie works in the method of a bowerbird in how they both select, arrange and balance objects by shape or colour. Loeffler weighs the possible corollaries of this assimilationis it an exercise in control? An attempt to “bring some rationality to the madness of our current reality?” but it was her concluding hypothesis which, to me, was the most resounding. She proposes that perhaps this is Dickie’s method of regarding, of “seeing and valuing” the objects accruing around us, rather than simply “consuming and discarding them.” (1) To me, the productivity of this idea extends beyond determining Dickie’s artistic motivations, and helps to unravel why I enjoy this work. It is not a revelation, but rather a reminder, of how objects function for people as a method of assimilation. Similar to the xenophoridae, we bear objects, and the things we encounter, as a means to understanding our surroundings as our own. Consistently, we place and replace them, in personal configurations in the hopes that our external world will appear ever-so-slightly more like that of our internal one. Whether we are collecting or discarding things, we still evaluate them; we must subjectively consider how they fit into our understanding of ourselves and our needs of the past, present and future. This process is idiosyncratic and personal (even if I feel a certain kinship with Dickie’s decision to hand-stitch a scrap paper with the word “POUTINE” on it to a large satellite dish for Wendell Spinney (rainmaker) (2019)).  

There is something about the quote, un-quote object that keeps us entangled. The idea that reconfiguring “garbage” might allow it to become art has surely been made the point of satire in regards to the contemporary art world. And yet, it continues to provoke. An answer may rest in the latent artfulness of collections like my father’s: the particular, eminently personal, rhymes and reasons that go into their formation, making their resonance sublimely humanor, as the xenophoridae and bowerbird reveal, animalistic. This sentience and moxie is what I find calls loudest amongst Georgia Dickie’s assembly of objects, and, for me, it translates into comfort. This might be because of the dust: the thick layer of dirt settled onto and nestled into these objects in a manner that only time and neglect can incite. You can smell it, taste it and recoil in the reminder of how it feels to coat your fingers in that type of aged soot. These objects are familiaran inventory, a shellan organization of things that signal a person’s self-reflexive moments of regarding and valuation. Dickie’s methods of seeing the value in her inventory is a manner of looking into and appreciating the self; it is to lie in wait for that moment in time when a thing is just right.

  1. Frances Loeffler, Regarding Objects, exhibition text to accompany Georgia Dickie’s Agouti Sky at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square from 6 October 2019 to 5 January 2020.

-Kate Kolberg

To view the full article please visit Peripheral Review.

For more information about Georgia Dickie please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Vikky Alexander interviewed in Bomb Magazine

April 14, 2020

Vikky Alexander is interviewed by Alison Sinkewicz for Bomb Magazine.

Reflections of Desire: Vikky Alexander Interviewed by Alison Sinkewicz

Installations and photographs that investigate the self and consumerism.

Vikky Alexander’s photographs don’t let you forget about your problems, particularly if one of your vices is buying shit you don’t need. The artist, whose work is part of the Pictures Generation as well as the Vancouver School, dissects and reinterprets marketing imagery to usurp the myriad iterations of seduction. In doing so, Alexander doesn’t just expose marketing manipulations or critique institutions but exposes our struggle to curtail our consumerist impulses.

Alexander moved from Halifax to New York City in 1979 after graduating from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), then to Vancouver in 1992, followed by Montreal in 2016, where she now lives and works. In producing text, sculpture, and installation, she creates her art almost entirely offline, pulling imagery from various catalogs, magazines, and other print materials.

Alexander’s latest exhibition, Nordic Rock, at the Fonderie Darling in Montreal, follows closely on the artist’s first museum survey, Extreme Beauty, at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Like a surreal retail showroom, Nordic Rock presents an idyllic interior. Vistas and contemporary furnishings are paired together to create a dream-like condo. Alexander’s iridescent and minimal glass furniture nods to her own work like Glass Chair and Table (1990) as well as to the conceptual fragility and shortcomings of capital “M” minimalism as well as mainstream minimalist design which has now flooded fast fashion and fast design. But Alexander’s utilization of reflective surfaces and discombobulating scale doesn’t let viewers play house. She pierces the fantasy to expose it for what it is—a beautiful, elaborate ruse. And I want to buy it.

—Alison Sinkewicz

Alison Sinkewicz: Your new exhibition takes up luxury design and design marketing. Is your interest in the marketing of luxury real estate an extension of your interest in fashion marketing?

Vikky Alexander: I guess so. In the 1980s I had been looking at the commodification of sex; basically, sex is the thing that sells the luxury good. From that, I moved on to combining figure and landscape. I started to think about the commodification of nature: “the view” is a big part of architecture and what makes a place sell. I photographed places like the West Edmonton Mall where nature is incorporated to make it more of a pleasant environment. I’ve always been interested in that fusion, so it manifests itself in a number of ways.

AS: In works like Lake in the Woods (1996), you create vista collages that produce the kind of view that an architect would construct. Are you creating a space for desire?

VA: A lot of my work uses mirrors, which this exhibition does, so you are always projecting yourself into this idealized space. In the early 1980s, I used the frame as a mirroring device because the Plexi of the glass would be on top of the black mat, so it became like a black mirror. You would see yourself superimposed onto the model subjects that I was using.

Lake in the Woods (1986) is a piece that’s empty otherwise—you need the viewer. It’s like an eighteenth-century Claude glass, which is a convex mirror that tourists would use when they went to Switzerland. It was like an early selfie: you would see yourself projected into the sublime landscape behind you so that you could make it a more palatable composition, and it wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

AS: Luxury, glass interiors are idealized and slick and clean, but when you use them in your work that falls apart.

VA: Exactly. They are these stage sets. With the fragility of the glass, it’s not functional; it’s completely idealized. When I told Caroline [Andrieux, founder and general and artistic director of Fonderie Darling] what I wanted to do she said, “That’s perfect because there are all these condos going up around the Darling.”

AS: Glass high-rises have become the architecture of Vancouver, whereas in Montreal, it’s very different. I feel like the bearer of bad news when I say this could possibly be Montreal’s future.

VA: I know. But it’s also harder to see it here. In Vancouver you’re always going over a bridge; you have vantage points. Whereas here, I always feel like I’m below; and it’s freezing cold, so I’m not really looking up and observing.

AS: How do you manipulate or dissect images of consumer culture? Are there certain things that you’re looking for?

VA: The showroom series (Istanbul Showrooms [2013]) started because they were interior-design showrooms that someone had already staged. So I could re-stage the staging. With a glass window, the street becomes part of the stage. I think my photographs make you stand back. If you’re just the viewer, you project yourself into the scene. You think that could be my room, my handbag; but when you see yourself on the street, it removes you.

AS: Turning to The Design Office projects (1979–80) you made with Kim Gordon and which Leah Pires describes in an essay on your work in Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty as offering design “solutions” for artists’ “problems.” What’s funny to me is the postering of this service as a joke.

VA: Oh, was it ever. We didn’t make a dime. (laughter)

AS: And now it strikes me as something that people really actually do for a living.

VA: They do, definitely. We were both trying to make money, but we were both hopeless at it. We’re not really commercially oriented in that way. So we just started to have fun. And I can’t think of how that project got started because it was so long ago, but she was from LA, and I was from Canada, and it was a bit about meeting people? Not that we were looking for dates.

I was interested in design and architecture, and Kim was too. We liked the idea of design overlapping with art, and we didn’t really know how to be artists. I think we had a business card or matches, and that seemed to be our only legitimate thing. We’d say, “We can solve your problem!” and we’d go to people’s studios or lofts, and they’d go, “Um, problem. Yeah, I guess I don’t have really good light in here?” But, of course, those people didn’t have any money either, so it’s not like we could go to something like Inform Interiors.

AS: I’m wondering about the impact cities have had on your work. Do you feel any allegiance to certain ones that you’ve lived in or schools, like the Vancouver School?

VA: More so lately. You know, when you’re living it you don’t really think about it, but history makes it into more of a package. I met Dan Graham at NSCAD. Dan knew Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, and Rodney Graham, so I knew the Vancouver School before it was the Vancouver School. I thought it was a good idea to move to Vancouver because the photo labs were so good. In New York, they weren’t that good, weirdly enough. But the fact that there were so many female photographers working in New York was great. I didn’t even think about that until I got to Vancouver and thought: Why are there all these guys here? You got to be kidding me.

AS: Coming from New York to Vancouver, did you feel like there was a lack of a feminist discourse?

VA: I think there was the theoretical feminism in Vancouver, but I’m not that theoretical. (laughter) I’m not a headbanger in that way. There was a group, but they went to some seminar at a point and bonded. I’m not kidding. (laughter) Some Mary Kelly thing or something like that.

AS: Did your Vancouver Art Gallery retrospective, Extreme Beauty, make you think about your work in a different way?

VA: The things that tie it all together are interesting. I think that with most artists you just follow your nose. You don’t know if it will add up with the thing you did last time, or maybe it will make sense with what you did ten years ago. Obviously, I like shiny glass—like a magpie. But I also like what it talks about. I’m interested in materials that are self-aware, where you think: I’m at a gallery, and I’m looking at myself in a work of art. I’m not getting lost in the sublime.

Vikky Alexander: Nordic Rock is on view at Fonderie Darling in Montreal until May 10. (Fonderie Darling is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus.)

Alison Sinkewicz is a Montreal-based art and design writer. Her work has appeared in Wallpaper*DwellCanadian ArtAzure MagazineThe Editorial MagazinePitchfork, among other publications.

To view the full article please visit Bomb Magazine.

For more information about Vikky Alexander please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Brie Ruais Featured in The Los Angeles Times

April 9, 2020

Brie Ruais is featured in The Los Angeles Times for her work at Craft Contemporary.

 

la-et-cm-galleries-clay-biennial

Brie Ruais uses her body as unmediated tool too. Playing beside two wall-mounted, tiled installations is a video that chronicles how she works, kneeling on a mound of raw clay equivalent to her own weight and using heels, hands and elbows to spread and skid the clay into a large X, a crude but most authentic signature.

Nicole Seisler transforms the preparatory act of wedging clay (a kneading process to establish consistency and eliminate air bubbles) into a mark-making ritual, enacted on the wall rather than on a work table. Practice turned performance, the action endures — until the end of the show — as mural, a patterned weave of residual traces.

 

To view the full post visit Artviewer.

For more information about Brie Ruais please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Vikky Alexander Featured in Point Contemporain

April 9, 2020

Vikky Alexander’s solo exhibition at Fonderie Darling is featured in Point Contemporain.

 

 

In the wake of a retrospective in 2019 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vikky Alexander offers with the Nordic Rock exhibition   a precious installation full of fantasies, which contrasts with the raw and imposing room of the Darling Foundry.

This industrial setting shelters fragile sculptures representing in a very stylized way elements of interior design furniture, such as a bed, a chair, a bench. Made from dichroic glass, whose iridescent material reflects light in a spectrum of color, these minimal sculptures of extreme delicacy are presented on pedestals, a sort of islets arranged in space aimed at reinforcing their inaccessibility. Like jewelry or precious stones, capturing and returning light, these dysfunctional objects, which aim to seduce and stimulate desire, attract as much as they freeze the viewer. Their surface, both shimmering and transparent, plays subtly with the patina and architecture of the heritage building. Paroxysm of luxury,

Other structuring elements of the exhibition, two imposing murals arranged in staggered rows and made of vinyl from photographic collages are displayed opposite, on the full height of two sections of walls. Composed of images gleaned from magazines, these combine by the technique of collage, as many views of dramatic or sublimated landscapes as close-ups of textures, simulations of organic or vegetable matter.

By these immense windows which open onto fantasized horizons, by these distortions of scale and by these games of pretenses, the artist underlines the strategies of appropriation and substitution of nature used in marketing in the markets of real estate and interior design. It also poses the question of the author through the reappropriation and recontextualization of the images.

Vikky Alexander is a conceptual artist who questions consumer culture and her fantasies in her work. His works stand out for their ability to question the world of illusion and material desires by making use of the language of architecture and design, borrowing from the imagery of luxury fashion and design magazines to engage the subject of desire, commodity and the way society projects us into these unreal environments. Through minimalist interventions in photography and sculpture, using strategies that trigger impulses, the artist plays with reflective materials and optical illusions.

 

To view the full post visit Point Contemporain.

For more information about Vikky Alexander please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Sara Cwynar Featured in Another Magazine

April 2, 2020

Sara Cwynar’s solo exhibition at The Approach is featured in Another Magazine’s “Brilliant Things to Do at Home in April – Without Leaving the House”.

 

Sara Cwynar: MarilynInstallation view

Sara Cwynar: Marilyn at The Approach: online now

Sara Cwynar’s transporting photography and film are online now, thanks to London-based gallery The Approach. Cwynar uses collage, found photography, layering and intricate set design to build her image and film works, which, for the exhibition Marilyn, explore themes like desire and consumerism. In her work, Cwynar engages with fashion imagery – from clothing by Comme des Garçons and Prada to casting models seen on SSENSE’s online store – to create a captivating and astute study of today’s culture of consuming.

To view the full post visit Another Mag.

For more information about Sara Cwynar please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Paul P. Featured in Another Magazine

March 18, 2020
Tags: News, Paul P.

Paul P.’s solo exhibition at Maureen Paley’s Hove space is featured on Another Mag. 

What does beauty look like? In the world of Canadian artist Paul P., it is a particularly ghostly take on the queer. For him, this romanticised otherworldliness is an indicator of a history of personal desire and difference. His intimate paintings and delicate sculptures have garnered him steady, quiet success – with lauded shows at Queer Thoughts in New York, and spaces in the collections of MoMA and the Whitney in New York, the AGO in Toronto and LACMA in Los Angeles.

The young men he paints – often solely focusing on their disembodied faces – are all taken from vintage gay erotic magazines, specifically from the years between the advent of gay liberation in the 1960s and the awareness of the Aids crisis in the early 1980s. “Having been born in 1977, I’m indebted to the community of artists who operated throughout this mortal emergency, and the many who died in and around the early 90s as I came into my sexual and artistic awareness,” the artist explains. His paintings are in no way pornographic or exploitative but instead take these young men and raise them into icons of outlawed sexuality.

This week, an exhibition of his paintings is opening at Maureen Paley’s stunning Hove space, Morena di Luna (the gallery remains open by appointment only for now, but as with all art openings during the outbreak of Covid-19, please keep your eye on Maureen Paley’s Instagram and website for potential cancellations). The exhibition was made with the Georgian seaside location in mind: Centaurs on the Beach is comprised primarily of oil paintings; portraits mixed with non-figurative works and seascapes. These pieces are, as Paul describes them, somewhere between “landscape, architecture, and atmospheres”.

There is something innately fragile about Paul’s work, and not just in the subject matter. He is drawn to early 20th-century dandies, such as the Bright Young Things in London in the 1920s who took the effete as a rejection of post-World War One cultural values. A small work in the Hove show includes a collage on notepaper of a supine Stephen Tennant, “the poet prodigy turned recluse,” Paul explains. “Dandy poets like Tennant and Brian Howard, outspoken in their era of criminalised homosexuality, remind me of the imaginative and creative capacities of small and intimate milieus that have striven for, and plotted out, fantastical visions of civilisation filled with beauty, reason and freedom, at times when the world has been at its most hostile.”

Paul, who also lived in Paris for many years with his partner, the artist Scott Treleaven, has been increasingly drawn to global locations with a queer social history such as Venice, Italy and Venice Beach, California, for example – “both peripheral and water-bounded places haunted by their bygone licentiousness and allure to outcasts,” as he describes. Brighton fits perfectly with this attraction to liminal history. Like late 19th-century artists John Singer Sargent or James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Paul’s style has dreamy mistiness. A sense of non-time hovering around sunset or dusk, where shadows and those who live in them flourish.

Most of his pieces are small – an intentional comment on big, white, straight, male painters creating giant canvases. Even his scale is a comment on a different masculine image – instead, we are presented with “languid countenances and exhausted poses” that are on the edge of constant collapse. There is something autobiographical here; Paul is drawn back to the complexities of his own experience and discovery of sexuality. Yet there are also wider things going on where the politics of what the erotic looks like is reimagined. This is thoughtful work which deserves to be seen.

To view the full post visit Another Mag. 

For more information about Paul P. please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Tau Lewis Featured in Culture Type

March 4, 2020
Tags: News, Tau Lewis

Tau Lew is featured in Culture Type for her exhibition at Oakville Galleries.

FOUND AND RECYCLED TEXTILES are at the heart of Tau Lewis‘s practice. She makes labor-intensive sculptural portraits constructed with hand-sewing, quilting, and assemblage techniques. Her work explores memory, agency, and individual and collective trauma and healing. For example, recent works have considered the legacy of loss borne of the Middle Passage and what she terms “water as black geography.” For her latest body of work, on view at Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens, Lewis employs imaginative myth making. She evokes outer space, envisioning an “ancestral otherworld” where the possibilities of blackness are unbound.

Toronto-based Lewis is participating in Prospect.5 New Orleans in November. A self-described, self-taught artist, she presented her first solo show outside North America at the 2019 Yorkshire Sculpture International at The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire, UK. In December, Cooper Cole Gallery featured a solo exhibition of her work at Art Basel Miami Beach.

To view the full post visit Culture Type.

For more information about Tau Lewis please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Fin Simonetti featured on CBC Arts

February 20, 2020

Fin Simonetti is featured in an article by Veronica Zaretski on CBC Arts

For today’s generation of young artists, genres and labels exist only to be destroyed. Creative experimentation is the norm, not the exception. Just think of Billie Eilish or Lil Nas X, who catapulted to success with a transgressive approach to genre conventions, or Rihanna, who was already a music icon when she became a fashion and beauty mogul and added film work to her long CV. To be a nimble, collaborative and experimental workhorse is often part of a young artist’s DNA. Vancouver-born artist Fin Simonetti knows this well.

A multihyphenate creative talent, Simonetti recently landed on Cultured Magazine’s 30 under 35 young artists to watch in 2020 with a nose-to-the-grindstone multidisciplinary artistic practice — and a career that defies a conventional trajectory. Experimental film? Illustration? Stained glass installations? Stone sculptures? Music production? Simonetti has done it all.

“I’m a bit of a workaholic. There’s this quote I heard about the value of ‘rotating the crops’ and I really identify with that,” she says. “It’s like exercising different muscles, and beyond that, it’s such a pleasure to let your curiosity move you through different materials.”

Simonetti’s refusal to be constrained to one medium doesn’t just mark her as part of a generation more interested in uninhibited self-expression than labels; it’s also an approach that allows for nuanced ways to explore ideas through specific mediums. For an exhibition about masculinity and alienation, for instance, Simonetti decided to work with stone, a material that she notes is both rigid and fragile (“It just fit conceptually,” she says). Following her instincts has given Simonetti a career that’s defined by its range, with work that spans those scrupulously built sculptures to dark imagery of women in bold, red illustrations to intricate stained glass pieces that explore security and danger.

As a teen, Simonetti started developing experimental film projects that received awards at Cascadia and Burbank film festivals. And then there’s music — she released her debut album ICE PIX in 2016. Add to that a slew of collaborations — take, for instance, her custom work for clothing line Puppets and Puppets’ (like these egg-shaped stained glass earrings), which she loved doing for “the opportunity to try on someone else’s vision” — and you start to see how working and collaborating across different mediums lets Simonetti push her creative potential.

It’s also a hard grind that she’s kept up throughout her adult life. “It’s true my work can be gruelling or takes a long time to execute,” she says. “I do have a lot of stamina and resilience in the face of discomfort, which serves some of the more physical parts of my practice. But it’s not so much a hustle as it is that I just love what I do.”

Following her creative impulses means that Simonetti is also sometimes surprised by her next project — a process she learned to enjoy while completing residencies in Baltimore, China and Vermont.

“In my experience with residencies, I usually go in thinking I know what I want to do, and end up working on something else,” she says. “In Vermont, for example, I went in with drawing in mind, and once I got there I ended up working on music. In China, I thought I was going to work on music, and instead I made a series of videos. I think it’s really important to let the work dictate itself, and be open in your process. I have this little refrain: ‘Whatever the work needs, the work gets.’ It means I will override my expectations to respond to the work as it unfolds.”

For Simonetti, and a generation of artists like her, stretching creative tentacles opens doors and offers surprising twists and turns. Artists working in a range of genres today have the benefit of reaching diverse audiences on social media, generating various sources of income, expanding on their professional network or building on their brand. And then there’s the nebulous, extensive way in which information is shared online, which opens more opportunities for young, genre-bending artists than ever before.

Simonetti, meanwhile, can’t imagine a life in which she isn’t making art — one in which she follows her curiosity to explore ideas as they percolate, on her own terms. And she’s just as excited by what she calls the “cross-pollination” that happens when an artist works in different mediums. “I think of each show I do like an essay,” she says. “As opposed to just a collection of recent work, I approach my shows as a contained arena of ideas. I try to be precise. There is still overlap from one show to another because my interests are reoccurring.” Where will her creative curiosity take her next? Stay tuned.

To view the full article visit CBC Arts

For more information about Fin Simonetti please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Sara Cwynar featured in The Globe and Mail

February 17, 2020

Sara Cwynar is featured in The Globe and Mail for her inclusion in the Henie Onstad Art Center’s triennial festival.

From its own picturesque home, perched on a headland in a tony Oslo suburb, the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter has set out to take stock of contemporary photography. The museum opened a new triennial festival on Feb. 21 with the mission to showcase recent innovations in camera-based art practices. And among the 31 international artists selected for the inaugural edition rank two exciting homegrown talents.

The work of Calgary-born, Los Angeles-based artist Owen Kydd chisels at the categorical wall separating video from photograph. Sidling up to one of his screens, you could mistake his contributions to the triennial for simple snapshots. But what might initially appear like abstract photography, collage or Xerox art is complicated once you notice, for example, the small lawn sign in the corner of one work, flapping in the wind. Or, in another, the moving reflection of passing cars in the luxuriantly polished, deeply deconstructed auto body of a BMW.

He is interested, he says, “in the different ways cameras capture time”: frozen, slowed, elapsed. And how software allows us to reorganize these. Kydd calls the works “time collages.” His hybrids feel like an exceedingly contemporary form – the cousin of gifs, Boomerang videos and Live Photos. Meanwhile, triennial artworks by Vancouver-born Sara Cwynar consider the trade and saturation of images experienced everyday – both online and off. Red Film, a watershed work for the New York-based artist, makes a dazzling montage from scenes of dancers, flowers, consumer products and industrial manufacture, flexing the seductive powers of the ruby hue. Influenced by the film, the triptych photograph 96 Pictures of Sophie shows the eponymous Sophie, who models for a well-known Montreal-based online fashion retailer, recreating the three poses the website uses to display a garment. Over these are collaged dozens of the thousands of such photos of Sophie that exist online. It is an overwhelming mass of near identical images of one human being. And the reality, increasingly, of not just models, but anyone with a camera.

Cwynar’s art reveals a culture ever-more deeply, maddeningly in love with image. And for her outlook, Henie Onstad curator Susanne Ostby Saether calls Cwynar “one of the most interesting photographers of the millennial generation.”

-Chris Hampton

 

To view the full post visit The Globe and Mail.

For more information about Sara Cwynar please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
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Bjorn Copeland and Georgia Dickie featured in Art Viewer

February 13, 2020

Artists: Nicholas Cheveldave, Bjorn Copeland, Georgia Dickie

Exhibition title: Condo 2020: Emalin hosting COOPER COLE

Venue: Emalin, London, UK

Date: January 11 – February 8, 2020

 

To view the full post visit Art Viewer.

For more information about Bjorn Copeland and Georgia Dickie please contact the gallery:

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Tau Lewis Featured in Art Viewer

February 13, 2020
Tags: News, Tau Lewis

Tau Lewis is featured in Art Viewer for her solo exhibition at Oakville Galleries

Tau Lewis at Oakville Galleries

The practice of Toronto-based artist Tau Lewis is anchored in a spiritual imaginary, recuperating feelings, forms and landscapes often rendered unseen. Working primarily with found textiles and foraged objects, Lewis’ works take shape through slow, labour-intensive processes such as carving, quilting and scavenging, drawing on a material and psychic resourcefulness that has long been significant to black cultural production.

For Sparkle’s​ Map Home, Lewis harnesses a broad spectrum of seemingly modest materials to conjure a latent ancestral otherworld. Re-envisioning Gairloch Gardens as a scene from the cosmos, Lewis reflects on the possibilities of outer space as a locus of both a black past and a black future, one where that which is unbound—materially, spiritually and otherwise—is given license to take shape anew.

Tau Lewis​ (b. Toronto, 1993) is a self-artist whose practice is rooted in healing personal, collective and historical traumas through labour. Her recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include The Hepworth Wakefield, UK; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Shoot the Lobster, New York; Atlanta Contemporary; Cooper Cole, Toronto; and Jeffrey Stark, New York. Recent and forthcoming group exhibitions include MoMA PS1, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, New Museum, New York; Plug In ICA, Winnipeg; and Mercer Union, Toronto. Lewis lives and works in Toronto.

To view the full post visit Artviewer.

For more information about Tau Lewis please contact the gallery:

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Daniel Rios Rodriguez in the New York Times

February 12, 2020

Daniel Rios Rodriguez is featured in the New York Times Art Reviews for his exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene.

Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s “Early Life” (2020) in the exhibition “Semper Virens.”

Through March 1. Nicelle Beauchene, 327 Broome Street, Manhattan; 212-375-8043, nicellebeauchene.com.

Spirals are everywhere in Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s paintings in “Semper Virens” at Nicelle Beauchene. They’re a motif that reflects the exhibition’s Latin title — “evergreen” or “always flourishing” — but also feels in keeping with the moment as spirals are overtaking modernist grids in popularity.

“Angelitos Negros” (2019-20) has a spiral laid out with a rope at its center, while “Agua” (2019-20) has small stone rectangles shaped into a snakelike spiral and “Early Life” (2020) suggests a nautilus structure. Other works here include abstracted suns or moons and relate to life cycles and natural and cosmic regeneration.

Mr. Rodriguez’s paintings, which are more like chunky constructions with idiosyncratic homemade frames, include many found objects he collected while walking in the river valley near his home in San Antonio, Texas. There is a distinct folk-art feel to the show. Some works even conjure the vapid, cheery paintings you’d find in hotel rooms or at a local cafe. The precision and structure of these works — as well as nods to artists like Marsden Hartley — are a giveaway, however: Mr. Rodriguez has an M.F.A. in painting from Yale. In other words, this is folk art threaded through the needle of studied composition and artistry rather than curios fashioned by a self-taught savant. What we’re seeing is Mr. Rodriguez discarding the rules of Western art history, pushing “high” painting toward craft and coaxing us to follow. MARTHA SCHWENDENER

To view the full article please visit the New York Times.

For more information about Daniel Rios Rodriguez please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Jagdeep Raina Reviewed in ArtForum

January 24, 2020

Jagdeep Raina reviewed in Art Forum for his exhibition at Grice Bench, Los Angeles.

Image result for jagdeep raina from dawn to dusk

Amid the polarizing global immigration discourses currently seething, a group of Jagdeep Raina’s works on paper reassesses a historic episode among Punjabi populations living within Canadian borders. Working mostly from memory, the artist drew several archival photographs of a 1949 visit to a Sikh temple in Vancouver by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru’s role in negotiating India’s independence had drawn the ire of many Sikhs, particularly in Punjab, whose 1947 partition along religious lines resulted in immense violence and the displacement of millions when India and Pakistan became independent dominions.Shades of gray embedded in the artist’s source photographs fall away in his starkly contrasting compositions, limned in dense thickets of charcoal. He locates a chromatic punctum in the figural embodiment of Nehru, and the pathos of this subject’s recurring presence pulsates viscerally throughout the exhibition. In the cinematically composed From dawn till dusk, we watched helplessly as you drove away, leaving us nothing more than these bitter tastes and memories, 2015, a large midcentury-style sedan slices through the foreground of a scene outside the West Second Avenue temple. In lieu of a noirish villain, the Indian leader, crudely articulated in cherry hues, gazes outward from the back seat. Two piercing black dots and a cartoonish, parabolic frown mark his visage while a shock of flames emanates from his head.

The nimble interplay of materials within these works rewards close inspection. Inconspicuously collaged paper cutouts echo fastidiously rendered throngs of people and towering architectural structures that stand like thinly stacked facades. In all their nuanced optics, they issue a call to consider the potential for photographic documents to continually resurface, resignify, and enable new narrative slippages among contested political histories.
— Jeanne Dreskin

To view the full article please visit ArtForum.

For more information about Jagdeep Raina please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Jagdeep Raina Interviewed in Venison

January 24, 2020

Jagdeep Raina is interviewed by Nazish Chunara for Venison.

Related image

When did you decide to pursue visual art?

I am interested in telling stories of South Asian diasporic histories through the act of drawing, through accessing archival materials and doing oral history work. I decided to pursue art seriously near the end of high school, and studied it in both undergraduate and graduate school.

What archived materials are you utilizing? Are they from a personal archive or public?

I have utilized all kinds of archival materials: some are personal and some are historical or belonging to public collections. When I draw from public collections I always seek to get permission: and I have worked with archives like the Vancouver Public Library and city of Vancouver archives, the Toronto public library archives, the Southall Black Sisters archives, archives of private scholars and researchers, and finally my own archival photographs as well.

​​What, or who, inspires your work?
My family, friends, fellow artists, and community activists inspire me.

How do they inspire you? What information do you take from them to incorporate into your work? Is there anyone specific who informed your work in the beginning? A pivotal moment, perhaps?

They inspire me through sharing their stories with me. I do a lot of oral history work and collect testimonials to better understand disaporic history,  identity politics, stories of immigration, arrival, and settlement. A pivotal moment for me was joining the 1947 partition archive as a volunteer to collect oral histories of survivors who lived through this cataclysmic event, and a recent project that’s inspired me is collecting stories of immigrant Punjabi women and their experiences.

What moments have stood out from unearthing the Punjabi Diaspora?

The one particular moment that stood out from unearthing the Punjabi Diaspora is the longevity of these stories, and just how old and rich these diasporic histories are. These stories are over a century old, and these communities have been existing in the Americas since the end of the 19th century.

I really like Our backs tells stories no books have the spine to carry, women of colour. Who are these women and what inspired you to paint them?

These are three women in my family, and the photograph was taken in the Spring of 2016. Seeing the sweetness and humility that was emerging out of the photograph and the need to do seva (selfless service) without expecting anything in return.

Punjabi deli puth-os  bridges the eastern and western worlds; the new and old, traditional and not. But what were you seeing while creating this piece?

This drawing was inspired by two young Sikh, Punjabi men. They sit on the stoop of an apartment building. The two men are clutching plates of food, provided by the Punjabi Grocery and Deli, a 24/7 bodega in the East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, which is beside the apartment building. I’m inspired by the Punjabi Grocery and Deli, for it acts as a sense of home for young, Punjabi Sikhs and more broadly, everyone belonging to the South Asian diaspora. The bodega has continued to be elevated to the same prominence as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park, but without any of its permanence.

Tell me about Attention mates! Why is our Paki-Nationality not an outdated concept? 1988/2016. What informs this piece? Where is it located?​
This drawing was inspired by a film still from a documentary that was shot in London, United Kingdom in 1988. This drawing is a scene of three people in the year 1988, as they stand in a crowded summer day in Piccadilly Circus. ​The people-ranging from a caucasian white male, A young Sikh man donning a turban and a beard, and a young Bengali woman- present a cosmopolitan, post-nationalist, post-thatcher, diverse Britain. ​In an era of Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Racism, Nationalism, and Fascism, the text in this drawing, carved out behind the figures in the Piccadilly lights, acts as a warning to reveal that time does not move in a linear, straight way but it is truly cyclical. It makes this drawing, derived from a film-still in 1988, present the past that has become ominously futuristic.
Tell about You fucking terrorist and The Rex Theatre, No turbans allowed.
You fucking terrorist was a drawing that depicted a dilapidated brick wall, which is part of the structure of the small Sikh temple in Guelph, Ontario. Over the years, racist and violent graffiti have been sprawled onto the building, as a sign in which marginalized communities continue to experience hatred and bigotry in small, subtle ways. The Rex Theatre was a cinema in Vancouver in the 1910s and 1920s, in which South Asians donning turbans and beards, as well as East Asians, and Indigenous people were banned from entering.
What is a day in the studio like?
A day in the studio consists of me just creating drawings and reading.​What literature or podcasts do you recommend?
My favourite book of all time is A Fine Balance by Robinson Mistry… the literature list is long and varied.. but that book always comes to mind. My favourite podcast currently is: namelesscollectivepodcast .
What are you working on now?
I don’t currently  have a studio space , but I plan on working with film stills from two independent British films: A Fearful Silence from 1986 and Acting our Age from 1992, which explore themes of domestic abuse and ageism in South Asian communities. I want to one day also create my own database of images through acquiring a digital camera for documentation and travel across the Americas and England to conduct oral history work where I hope to bring ​​specificity to issues affecting the diaspora that are coated in layers of amnesia, including Anti-Blackness, class and caste-ism, the taboo of queerness and mental health. I am realizing that notions of the South Asian diaspora and the homogeneity of community can be torn apart and broken by external issues affecting Kashmiri and Punjabi Sikhs, but also by internal prejudices. This equalizing experience is a reminder to me as an artist that I should also critique my community from a place of love, to strive to make solidarity intersectional as an artist, and to point the finger at myself and my own flaws, just as much as others. This is where I hope the future of the work will go.
You are from Canada, what is the art scene like there? Are there any galleries or artists you’d recommend for travelers?
The art scene in Canada is exciting and seems to be growing and growing, in particular places like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The best thing I recommend is getting the Seesaw or Artforum app which has a list of galleries and museums in each of these cities- as well as going ​​to Artforum.com  and visiting the city guide to see the shows and exhibitions that are up in museums and galleries!

Do you have any upcoming shows?I am going to be in a group show at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) museum in Providence, Rhode Island, and I was in a group show at Humber Galleries in Toronto, Ontario which finished up in November.

What are you studying at RISD?

I finished my MFA degree in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and would like to also pursue a second Master’s degree in Library and Information Science with a specialization in archives and records management as a part time student, so that I can continue to make my art work! 🙂 I want to be a librarian, archivist, and an artist.

To view the full article please visit Venison.

For more information about Jagdeep Raina please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

Rachel Eulena Williams Interviewed in Maake Magazine

January 24, 2020

Rachel Eulena Williams is interviewed by Emily Burns in Maake Magazine.

Hi Rachel! Can you tell us a bit about your background and what first piqued your interest in art? Do you have any memories of early creative moments?
I live and work in Brooklyn and was born and raised in Miami. I’m sure growing up in Miami has had an enormous effect on my creativity, there is an appreciation for art that is very much a part of the landscape and culture. I was lucky to have been introduced to art in a time where the city was beginning to love contemporary art with the buildup of Art Basel Miami. I can remember trips to museums and seeing work from radical and exciting contemporary artists from all over the world. Work that was thought provoking and interesting, which for me was a very unique experience. Thinking back, I was so confused at how everything got there, it really felt like magic.

Have you always worked in a vein that is similar to the way you work now? What interests have remained throughout your career so far?
For the most part yes, my work has always been searching for this texture/ground relationship that quite literally gives you something you can feel with your eyes. Painting found objects, collaging painting to sculpture and forms, it has all led me to the work I make now. I was and still am constantly searching for materials and how they could interact with my drawings.

Is drawing part of your process? Can you walk us through your current process?
Drawing for me is so important! I draw regularly and use it to really explore as much as possible. I focus on really letting myself draw whatever comes to my mind, or trying to finish a whole sketchbook and see what comes from prolonged focus. It’s usually in my drawing that I am able to really see my ideas, even subconscious ones that I wish I could understand. The drawing is almost a muse, with layers of imagery coming from multiple drawings.

My process feeds from drawing, most days I take a look at my drawings before I start anything. I create all of the elements of my work separately, giving each element some individuality. From shaping and dying the ropes, I secure them with wire and use that to make line work. Those become the armature for the cut, canvas shapes that I then sew and paint.

Text and various letterforms frequently appear on the surfaces of your work. When did text first become part of the visual landscape? Where does the text come from?
I began working with text when I took an interest in design, which ended pretty quickly but the thing that did stick around was an interest in text and communication design. I became pretty obsessed with how different scripts and fonts told their own different story. I worked in calligraphy and I began to focus on the letter form. I developed this understanding that text functioned like color and that it too had its own personality. I began adding it to my work when I began looking into symbols and their meanings. With texting, character limits and abbreviations, two letters in the right context can represent a whole thought. I wanted to incorporate text abstractly, seeing what sounds I could evoke, or words I could communicate Thinking of language and communication as color I incorporate hand painted signage, and find ways to mold letters or fill the negative space of letter forms.

In addition to rope and canvas, you use other materials as well. Where do you source these items from? Does their provenance have any significance? In particular, I am thinking of the piece, Hanging Shield, 2019 from your recent exhibition, Go Away Road, at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm, or the hammock work from NADA this year!
I am usually sourcing materials based on their relationship to painting techniques, looking for textures that will convey the marks and lines from my drawings. The hammock is a new addition to my materials and I couldn’t be more excited. I currently have a hammock work on display at the nada house on Governors Island with Cooper Cole Gallery. I was initially drawn to its ability to blend with the rope. I enjoy how adding common materials to art can really questions our perception in many ways. With the rope, there is the transformation of it to line, mark and shape. The object begins to defy your understanding of its uses and common environment, taking you on a journey through the material history.

Your work seems to be becoming larger in scale as of late. Can you talk about how you approach scale?
I think it has been a natural progression, at one time I made really huge drawings. I think that scale is quite tricky but I really think that scale finds you, depending on the subject matter or materials. For me the hammocks have introduced a sense of openness, along with new interests leading me towards bigger works. I am very engaged with the negative space that my work creates, searching for more has lead me to larger works.

Your work casts unique, colorful shadows on the wall, adding an exciting visual element not present in typical works on canvas or 3D sculptures not exhibited on a flat surface. Have you ever created purely sculptural work shown in a 3D context? If so, how do these relate to
your wall works?
I’ve studied and presented sculpture that has primarily been centered around the image. Thinking of the surface and how I can manipulate the way images were presented. It has definitely influenced my approach to presentation, now I use that small space between the wall and the works by painting the backs with saturated colors and extending the painting into the shadow.

How do you typically adhere or attach surfaces together?
I use a combination of techniques, it typically begins with archival glue, followed by sewing or staples (for works attached to wood panel). I learned most of these techniques doing chine-collé and bookbinding. I reference those techniques for my approach to my painted canvases. Cutting and collaging unstretched paintings allow it to become part of the image and not just the process.

Using the materials of rope and canvas (among others) which are by nature pliable, and saturating them with paint, the materials become self-reliant, and self-stable and firmly able to hold their shape in space. Can you talk more about the transformation of the raw materials into the final works, and the significance of this process?
Yes all of the marks and layers of my work come together like a web, holding form. It can be described as self-reliant, relying mostly on gravity to allow the image to come into place. The countless layers of paint add firmness to the works , creating curves and valleys that are the fun and unpredictable part of the work. The process is inspired by painting, and that search to find beauty in the mistakes. With the amount of change the works go through, Its extremely significant, a replication of a drawing really lacks that transformative journey.

Valerie Kamen wrote of your work “Driven by the desire to challenge the often limited depictions of outer space as a dead place outside of nature, in these paintings Williams’s use of metallics and earth tones present an environment that while foreign, is not cold or vacant.” Can you elaborate on this use of color to create a new environment?
Color is a huge tool for me and a way that I bring an environment to the works. I make my work with the experience in mind. Being that I want my work to be open and abstract, I allow the colors to be a tool in the story or theme I am working in.

What are the themes you are currently most interested in exploring?
Currently I have been thinking about relational perception—similar to how it functions in Titchener circles. How surrounding elements can affect our understanding. I’ve interpreted that by looking at and finding ways to incorporate the lines of charts, graphs, maps and venn diagrams. Specifically I have been interested in the versatility of the circle, looking at how artists like John Baldessari uses the circle to represent the human or Atsuka Tanaka can transform that same shape to poetic code.

What is one of the best exhibitions you have seen recently?
I am still moved by the experience of the Hilma Af Klint show at the Guggenheim and the Robert Rauschenberg show at LACMA. I love how immersive the two shows were and I found both very inspiring. If I had to choose the best, for a while will be the Soul of A Nation show that I got a chance to see it at the Brooklyn Museum. So much amazing work and such an important experience, rooms curated to highlight a large range of interests and approaches to art.

Who are some of the artists you look at most often?
Betye Saar, Senga Negundi, Terry Adkins, Howardena Pindell, David Hammons, Atsuko Tanaka, El Anstsul, kind of stay at the forefront of my mind visually and conceptually as they all transform materials. While I aspire to many achievements that happen in the work of artists like Phylida Barlow, Eva Hesse and Elizabeth Murray that have done so much to push the place between painting and sculpture.

Is there any advice you have received that you remember often?
I always hold onto advice from older artists. I remember once being told that “being an artist was not about what you make, but how much you wanted to make it.” Thinking about that often definitely keeps away any expectations. It reminds me not to expect anything from myself or any artwork and instead enjoy every part of making, looking and thinking about it.

What are you reading?
I’m usually reading a few books at once. I’m currently reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith and I flip through and keep on hand poetry like Hugh Prather. I’m slowly reading Mule Bone, a play that was written but never finished by Zora Neal Hurston and Langston Hughes. I stumbled upon the book and was in love with how the writing and text looked so much like text messages from today. I wanted to see if I could read a script and it is very interesting.

Whats up next for you?
Right now I am preparing for solo shows and I am really excited for a fellowship that I will be participating in this summer at the Robert Blackburn printmaking studio in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. Printmaking was a big part of my education and I’m excited to see what text elements I can bring into my work with screen printing.

Thanks so much for talking with us!

To view the full article please visit Maake.

For more information about Rachel Eulena Williams please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.8000

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