Monthly Archives

October 2016

J. Lynn Campbell Witness

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November 5 -27, 2016

Reception: November 5, 3-6 PM

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We are all actors and witnesses in the event called our lives – each life intersecting with, being shaped by and shaping those of others.

Today, the breadth of our connections – both direct and mediated – can be overwhelming in itself. Meanwhile, reports from far and wide unrelentingly offer views of mounting conflicts, prolonged wars, political polarizations, renewed xenophobia and the juggernaut of climate-change. The cumulative impact can be simply staggering.

Is it part of the human condition: to create the very circumstances that threaten us? to feel responsible yet powerless to shape a positive shared future? Certainly,

our efforts can feel intensely inadequate.

Still, as an artist and a Canadian, J. Lynn Campbell has had many opportunities for transforming, even transcending, the life and circumstances into which she was born. And though this is a privilege little-known to many, all people can choose whether and how they will honour life and, for her, it is in the honouring itself, that beauty is found and hope revived.

The works on view in Witness are drawn from several years of a practice in which Campbell strives to bear witness to her life and the shared human desire for connection, meaning and hope.

Passage, Earthly Paradise, and excerpts from Offering bear witness to these states.

Through the conception and the making of these pieces, J. Lynn Campbell claims, interprets and layers fragments from that which matters to her when faced with the complexities of life’s shifting realities. This can be a reminder that meaning is not found but made.

J. Lynn Campbell is a Toronto-based artist who trained at the Ontario College of Art (now OCADU), with independent studies in France, Humanities at the University of Toronto, and Philosophy at York University. Her practice extends from two-dimensional collage to three-dimensional construction and site-specific installation. She has exhibited in Canada, Italy and Germany. Her work is included in private, public, and corporate collections.

Jenn Law Extant

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November 5 – 27, 2016

Reception: November 5, 3 – 6 PMlaw-extant_loop_invite-2016

An object uncopied is under perpetual siege… 

—Hillel Schwartz 

Jenn Law’s multi-disciplinary practice explores the idea of the variable copy in relation to the historical archive/library and print-based strategies of preservation. In Extant, Law considers the legacies of three celebrated authors–Virgil, Emily Dickinson, and Franz Kafka–who requested in their wills that their unfinished works and/or their correspondence be burned upon their deaths. In each case, their work was spared and has gone on to inspire countless writers and readers. Here, Law has carefully hand-crafted imagined artifacts of these authors, seemingly rescued from the flames. Partially destroyed, the works revel in their salvation while prompting the viewer to contemplate the impact of their near-absence on the history of Western literature and culture. Each lithographed artifact blurs the boundary between the real and the imagined, the faithful forgery and the illusive original. Tapping into our angst over things left undone, Law deliberates on the will of the artist, literally and figuratively, pondering the delicate tipping point between annihilation and preservation, obscurity and immortality.

Accompanying these artifacts are a series of lithographed postcards of libraries—some are creatively altered replicas of vintage postcards, while others are invented by the artist from archival sources. Collectively alluding to the lost library of Alexandria, this ongoing series is modelled on early twentieth century ‘disaster’ postcards—with a contemporary twist. In a time when the targeted destruction of artworks, archaeological treasures, and historical monuments has become a weapon in the war against humanity, the image of material culture under siege has become more urgent and potent than ever. Ultimately, the extant artifact invites us to reflect on that which has been preserved for posterity while (impossibly) imagining what is irrevocably lost over the course of time.

Jenn Law is an artist, writer, and researcher living in Toronto. Law holds a PhD in Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, England, a BA in Anthropology from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, and a BFA from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. She has exhibited her art internationally and has worked as a lecturer, curator, and editor in Canada, the UK, and South Africa, publishing on South African, Caribbean, and Canadian contemporary art and print culture. Law has been the recipient of several awards and grants for her research including from SSHRC, the British Council, and the British Academy. She is the co-editor, with Tara Cooper, of Printopolis, published by Open Studio, Toronto in 2016.

5 Questions with Candida Girling

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If you missed Candida’s last show Shifting Landscapes, here’s a photo recap with a little behind the scenes Q&A called 5 questions with Candida Girling.

By Tara Cooper

What’s your elevator pitch for your current show?

“Shifting Landscapes explores the notion of the contemporary landscape in a world altered by human interaction”, to quote David Saric, who reviewed the show in ArtToronto.

What was your strategy for the install at Loop? Were there any challenges?  

I tried to position the works, which were in 3 media (ink drawings, wood that was engraved, carved and painted, and steel sculptures), in a way so that they spoke to each other. Ultimately, all of the works began with drawing and then brought to life through these different media. This was a relatively easy install, in contrast to some of my recent multi-media installations!

How do you spend your time when you’re not working in the studio?

Walking in the woods and the city, reading Italo Calvino, listening to music and practicing yoga.

What artist living or dead would you most like to have dinner with?  What would you order? What question would you ask him/her?

I would like to have a picnic lunch with the late Swiss artist Jean Tinguely and his wife Niki de Saint Phalle. We would dine in the garden of her sculpture park Giardino Tarocchi. I would also like to invite the late author Italo Calvino and contemporary artist and designer Olafur Eliasson, as he shares certain similar preoccupations. Using wit and ingenuity all of these artists question societal norms and ponder our relationship to history, nature and technology. They do this using elements drawn from the mundane and the absurd working them into compelling narratives. We would dine on pears and cheese, as well as edible plants that we would forage for. Wine would be served in goblets poured to varying heights and each person would have a set of spoons to play with. I would ask them for their strategies on dealing with the technological and societal changes in this new millennium.

What’s next in terms of your studio practice?

I would like to continue working with the media used in this show, exploring the same issues in more detail.

 

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P. Roch Smith fields of play

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October 8th – October 30th, 2016

Reception: Thursday, October 13th, 6 – 9 PM

Q & A: Sunday, October 30th, 2 PM

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P. Roch Smith’s work centres on the creativity of play, equilibrium and disequilibrium, and how memories are constructed and held in place. In fields of play, Smith presents work in which the mass produced (plastic army figures) are merged with the organic (tree branches, sisal twine and yarn). The figures are unified by bronze casting – fixing their hybridity in both a metaphoric and material manner. The relational nature of value is examined as the tiny scale of the bronze figures is the antithesis of monumentality usually associated with bronze as a sculptural material. While bronze casting normally speaks to permanence and the epic, the scale of these works creates a form of intimacy.

Play has been theorized as a liminal space – occupying both the real and the imagined simultaneously. It is within this topography that Smith points to certain aspects of the human condition. We manufacture toys with the intention of enabling children to play and the assumption is that this play is free, unencumbered and not contingent. Pulling back, however, it may be argued that the inherent structure of the toy itself echoes strictly adult concerns. Toys and play easily normalize certain ideas about one’s place in the greater scheme of things. Thankfully, children have also long subverted these rigid narrative structures. The altering of toys – drawing tattoos on a doll or shaving the “life-like” hair off of a GI Joe figure – is an aspirational act and speaks to claiming new narratives.

Toys as a sculptural material intrigues Smith. He has spent years amassing a large collection of plastic toy soldiers, model sets, LEGO blocks, Playmobile figures and these toys become raw materials for creation. The alchemy arises from combining these elements in new ways – stretching their scale or altering their properties. In this way a tree branch replaces a gun. A 5-foot tall tower of LEGO serves as a platform for a figure to let down a rope. All of the army figures have some form of intervention – they are cut, melted or altered to undertake the new work and tasks that Smith sets out for them.

P. Roch Smith was born and raised on Vancouver Island and currently lives and maintains a studio in Toronto. Working primarily within the realm of sculpture, Smith also generates installations, paintings, and drawings as part of his artistic output. Smith received a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and an MFA from York University. He has taught classes at the University of Waterloo, ECIAD, and York University. He is a member of loop Gallery in Toronto and currently manages and operates the bronze and aluminum foundry at York University.

Smith has exhibited internationally and is included in private as well as public collections in Canada and the United States. His large-scale outdoor sculptures are available through the Oeno Gallery located in Prince Edward County, ON.

For more information, visit rochsmith.com, or visit his pages on instagram (@rochsmith) and twitter (@_rochsmith).

Jane LowBeer land lines

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October 8th – October 30th, 2016

Reception: Thursday, October 13th, 6 – 9 PM

Q & A: Sunday, October 30th, 2 PM

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It is to be had for the feeling… you can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle you’ll be there. 

Lawrence Durell 

 

In land lines Jane LowBeer reflects on the horizon seen in the rural landscape, the rolling hills, forests and fields of southern Ontario. A first impression of these collages may suggest floating islands, strange creatures or sea-less ships. In the making they consist of overlapped monoprints, sewn and cut out in asymmetric, horizontal forms. These forms are caught and pinned on the wall like trophy fish.

But a closer look reveals something else: sanctuary, places of peace, wellsprings of lyric dreams and poems. Grass, trees, fence lines, pasture and hedge rows, LowBeer reveals the land as layers of lines constantly shifting with wind and light.

Although not using the standard material for drawing, LowBeer focuses on line as her medium of expression. With traditional drypoint technology she builds up texture with numerous printings on semi-transparent Japanese paper, collaged, overlapped and sewn together to slowly evolve into a finished, shaped work: multi-media mounted on wood.

LowBeer continues to develop the horizontal format. A previous Loop show, Crankees consisted of 60” scrolls in a box which the viewer had to operate. In Seams, her 2013 exhibition, her sewn landscapes were long. In land lines she pushes the format further.

In the countryside the horizon line is continuous, spreading in all directions. LowBeer plays with the experience of that expanse by exaggerating the proportion, squeezing some pieces to less than two inches high and stretching the length.

We are all overwhelmed in the vastness of the world. Jane’s work in landscape hopes to bring us back to the essence of place.

This is Jane’s sixth exhibition at Loop. She studied printmaking at the venerated Atelier 17 in Paris and her work has won numerous prizes. Her art is found in private and public collections in New York, Paris, Montreal and Toronto including London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the Bibliothèque National de Paris, France. In Toronto her monotypes can be found at Open Studio and The Nikolai Rukaj Gallery. LowBeer is looking forward to an upcoming exhibition at VAC (Visual Arts Centre of Clarington) in 2018.