Exhibitions

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

improbable_act_of_suspension_detail

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

jane

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.

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