Gallery A, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
72 Queen Street, Civic Centre
Oshawa ON L1H 3Z3
905 576 3000
Gallery A Exhibition: Jan 4 – 29, 2017
Reception: RMG Fridays, January 6, 7-10pm
Curated by Anastasia Hare
Featuring Artists: Katie Bruce, Jennifer Carvalho, Rob Nicholls, and Sarah Sands Phillips
Installation documentation by Anastasia Hare
The artist wishes to thank the Toronto Arts Council for their generous support.
This exhibition brings together landscapes, abstractions and figurative work by artists Katie Bruce, Jennifer Carvalho, Rob Nicholls and Sarah Sands Phillips, connected by themes of time and memory, and reflections on place. Their varied approaches share an intricacy composed of layers of paint, paper and etchings that capture vivid flowing gestures, delicate impressions, transient moments and gradual change. Sarah Sands Phillips’ series Provenance depicts soft hazy planes reminiscent of light filtering through a window and casting passing shadows on aged walls and doorframes. The title refers to the origin of the paintings, inspired by a collection of abstract photographs that she took of areas of rooms in a particular light of day. Stripes and angles appear fleetingly, suggesting corners, edges and fragments of structures that are only partially there, spaces that are perpetually forming and transforming. Moving past reproduction, the paintings render the memories and feelings of these spaces as they come to mind before a clear image is recalled.
Transitory memories of experiences felt within the body are represented in Katie Bruce’s series An empathy of one’s own, prints intended for a bookwork portraying her somatic experiences of anxiety, such as a node or pit in the stomach. In another series, Gentle Bruises, memories of bruises are rendered using inks derived from roots –colours that will change over time like the gradations of a bruise. The paper faintly reveals grains of the wood that it dried on, creating another impression of time and connecting with the radial tree rings of an adjacent hanging diptych. These parts developed independently but were printed together in succession with the potential for a relational dynamic, resonating with the idea of quantum entanglement that intrigued her in their making.
Time is also felt in the accumulation of thin frenzied brushstrokes composing the dense trees and branches in Jennifer Carvalho’s series Into this dark forest you have already turned, inviting a slow reading of the works. In these unspecified landscapes, she considers different kinds of time scales, such as how trees or rocks experience time differently than humans, and speculates on future uninhabited landscapes of the next geological age. Drawn from cinematic stills, the moment becomes malleable through her painting. The long take spans multiple canvases, conveying the feeling of the scene while creating a space for new understandings of landscapes and our place within them.
Playing with a duality of time, Rob Nicholls recalls canopies of tropical plants in his Dusk Portal series, rendered in intense hues of dusk and dawn. Each work shows night and morning simultaneously, represented by an oval at the centre coloured to portray a particular time amid a corresponding background. The patterning and hues combined with the notion of time beckon contemplation about our optical perception as well as how colour is imagined and intuitively recalled from experience. The fluidness of the ribbon-like brushstrokes of the leaves also carry the movements of bristles pulling away paint, revealing the ground beneath while suggesting another layer will appear in time.
Through the rhythmic qualities of subtle shades, marks and swift energetic brushstrokes, the featured works bring to light the pace and durations experienced equally in their making and viewing. The artists draw us into their ephemeral spaces of both real and imagined recollections, evoking our own considerations of time and memory. // Anastasia Hare