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Exhibition: Shimmer and Paste – Evan Lee and Ben Reeves at Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects, Toronto

Shimmer and Paste

Evan Lee and Ben Reeves

Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects

opening November 5, 2016

http://dupontprojects.com/exhibitions/ben-reeves-evan-lee/

Vancouver artists Evan Lee and Ben Reeves have left their mark on contemporary Canadian art—Lee for his always-intelligent explorations of post-photographic reproduction and Reeves for his deconstructive approach to painting. Together they represent a generational engagement with the status of the image. Career-long friends despite the often-exclusive camps of photography and painting in which they find themselves, they come together in this exhibition to demonstrate mutual considerations of light and collage.

In his “Phoropter” series, Lee works with images of ophthalmic phoropters used for testing binocular vision. In Lee’s collages however, the spiraling clusters of optics seem to belong to anything but binocular beings. He pushes the post-photographic towards the post-human. With his “Fugazi” works, we see high-end fake diamonds enlarged 1500 percent against geometric backgrounds of Lee’s devising. The result pushes 2-dimensions and 3-dimensions into a merged, indeterminate space, lit by the far-off white light on the original zirconia and the designer colours of the background. The blurring of categories becomes Lee’s analogy of the many-tiered layers of mediated reality.

Reeves brings a painters knowledge mediation that matches Lee’s. Where in the past he has broken painting down to its brush stroke by brush stroke accretion, his new work give us seaside beach views painted on burlap with overlapping elements of fine-grained painted canvas. The horizons in the pictures are as far away as the white light in Lee’s diamonds. Depicted space becomes a negotiation of textures, materiality, colour and pigment. The disjunctions of the collage elements, however, are paradoxically naturalized by the landscape setting where we are used to seeing intrusive trees interrupt the view. Reeves’ paintings let us think about the interruptions and about the sustained continuities that take our eyes as far as they can see.

About Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects
Launched in 2016 as part of the new Dupont St. gallery scene in Toronto, Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects is devoted to a developing exhibition program of contemporary Canadian art. Founding editor of C Magazine and editor of Canadian Art from 1996 through 2015, Richard Rhodes brings his expertise to exhibitions by emerging and established artists from across Canada and abroad. Rhodes offers audiences and collectors an informed critical eye that has launched and nurtured numerous careers in the Canadian art world over the past three decades. www.dupontprojects.com.

For more information:
contact@dupontprojects.com
(647)978-8129

Location:
Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects
1444 Dupont St.
Unit 31
Toronto ON M6P 4H3

Black and White Photographs, 2006-2008

35 Boxes

34 Hedge-Entrance

33 Vegetable-Garden1

32 Portrait-Grandma

LEE Trained Tree

LEE Visitors

LEE Artist Moving

LEE 69 Pender

Black and White Photographs

Prompted by pervious documentary projects such as Closer than they Appear, Manual Labour, and Old Women, as well as the Portrait of the Artist’s Grandmother taken shortly before her passing, these large-scale black and white near-documentary photographs re-create events from the artist’s life.

Installation view, Drawing Photography, Monte Clark Gallery
Installation view, Drawing Photography, Monte Clark Gallery

Black Panther Coloring Book, 2014-2016

Black Panther Coloring Book

Building upon recent projects, which similarly explored media images of events that concern migration, race, identity and protest, the artist has created new works that are based on the images in the Black Panther Coloring Book using a combination of media and forms.

The Black Panther Coloring Book was a document secretly produced and distributed by the FBI’s covert Counter Intelligence Program, which strategically attributed the book’s authorship to the Black Panther Party. This ‘children’s book’ contained graphic ‘anti-white’ and anti-police imagery, and was mailed to prominent civil rights supporters with the hopes that the offensive content would cause them to reconsider their support, thereby undermining the growing movement. This document and the uncanny circumstances of its existence complexly allude to past and present issues of race, authorship, identity, subterfuge and power, and it has renewed significance in the present day.

Ichiban, 2016 (series)

Ichiban DSC_0105 Ichiban DSC_0102

Ichiban DSC_0093 Ichiban DSC_0090

EVANLEE_03-11-2016_00005

Installation view, Ichiban/Fugazi, Monte Clark Gallery
Image courtesy: Chris Rollett

In Ichiban, the artist mixes paint and instant ramen noodles with other found objects to create experimental sculptures that consider the artificial nature of “instant” food, as well as reflecting on ephemeral form and temporality in the artworks themselves. Like the companion work, Fugazi, Ichiban alludes to the complex relationship between that which is “real” and that which is “artificial” in our contemporary culture and art. Lee’s project reflects on his earlier works, such as the Dollar Store Still Life series (2006), which also examined the economic and cultural values of fake and artificial consumer goods

installation photo by Chris Rollett

Fugazi, 2016 (series)

EL Fugazi 24 in 2

EL Fugazi 24 in 1

CZ3-02-F0-004 retouched ALT BACKGROUND B

CZ3-03-F0-003 retouched ALT BACKGROUND B

EVANLEE_03-11-2016_00008

Fugazi consists of 5-by-5 foot prints created from digital scans of cubic zirconia, relatively inexpensive but high quality imitations of diamonds. A “Fugazi“ is a slang term used in Mafia films for a counterfeit diamond. The images are captured at a high level of detail and are enlarged fifteen thousand percent to a scale that renders the gems’ internal appearance as mesmerizingly random, distorted and fractured, while the effects of digital image-loss and artifacting emerge to aid in their visual transformation. The patterns of abstract shapes and reflected colours appear kaleidoscopic and at times groundless, an aesthetic that Lee manipulates further by constructing geometric backgrounds in response to the resulting visual space.

Fugazi also continues the artist’s interest in psychedelia, illusion and optics, as explored in such earlier works as Every Part from a Contaflex Camera… (2006); Stain (2003); and Phoropter (2012). Contrary to the reproducible nature of photography, each of the Fugazi prints, made on fine art paper, exists only as a signed unique edition of one.

Exhibition: Fugazi, Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver

Evan Lee, from Fugazi, 2015, archival pigment print

Evan Lee
Fugazi
March 12, 2016 to April 9, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday March 12, 2pm to 4pm

Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Evan Lee.

Lee’s new series Fugazi consists of visually stunning 5-by-5 foot prints created from digital scans of cubic zirconia, relatively inexpensive but high quality imitations of diamonds (“Fugazi“ is a slang term used in Mafia films for counterfeit diamonds.) The images are captured at a high level of detail and enlarged fifteen thousand percent to a scale that renders the gems’ internal appearance mesmerizingly random, distorted and fractured, while the effects of digital image-loss and artifacting emerge to aid in their visual transformation. The patterns of abstract shapes and reflected colours appear kaleidoscopic and at times groundless, an aesthetic that Lee manipulates further by constructing geometric backgrounds in response to the resulting visual space.

Lee’s project reflects on his earlier works, such as the Dollar Store Still Life series (2006), which also examined the economic and cultural values of fake and artificial consumer goods. Fugazi also continues Lee’s take on representations of psychedelia, illusion and optics, as explored in such earlier works as Every Part from a Contaflex Camera… (2006)and the Stain (2003) and Phoropter (2012) series. Lee’s practice has always been positioned both alongside and against the grain of photography, and Fugazi continues the artist’s image production in the avant-garde reaches of the post-photographic or camera-less digital realm. Contrary to the reproducible nature of photography, each of the Fugazi prints, made on fine art paper, exists only as a signed unique edition of one.

Alongside Fugazi, Lee will also present works from a complementary series entitled Ichiban. In these new works, Lee mixes paint and instant ramen noodles with other found objects to create experimental sculptures that consider the artificial nature of “instant” food, as well as reflecting on ephemeral form and temporality in the artworks themselves. Taken together, both Fugazi and Ichiban allude to the complex relationship between that which is “real” and that which is “artificial” in our contemporary culture and art.

Evan Lee lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. His first major solo exhibition “Captures” was held at the Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver in 2006, and included catalogue essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and institutions including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Richmond Art Gallery, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been published in Canadian Art Magazine, Art on Paper, Border Crossings, Flash Art, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and numerous other venues.

Exhibition: Holding the Pose: Portraits from the Collection, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown

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Holding the Pose: Portraits from the Collection

January 27 – November 27

Featuring works from the gallery’s collection by artists from across Canada, Holding the Pose demonstrates the complexity of interaction between artist and sitter in a wide variety of portraits in various mediums.

This exhibition presents a selection of portraits from the collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Combining historical portraiture with contemporary representations of individuals and groups, it provides an overview of the genre in Canada, its many approaches and its transformation over time, with a particular focus on the way the subjects of portraiture have played a part in the resulting work-their attitude, their mode of address, their self-presentation, and the way their pose is as much the subject of the work as their physical likeness. Portraits are ultimately the result of an encounter between artist and sitter. The exhibition’s starting point is the work of Prince Edward Island artist Robert Harris (1849-1919), who was in the late 19th century one of Canada’s most prominent portrait painters. Harris’s portraits functioned in dialogue with the rapidly spreading phenomenon of commercial photography. His work showcased the artist’s brushwork and skill at capturing a natural-seeming likeness, adhering closely to longstanding traditions of the formal, celebratory depiction in opposition to the emerging, and increasingly easy availability of the photographic image. His pictures define subjects as enduring monuments. Composed, regal sitters emerge from dark backgrounds as volumetric, physically imposing images of importance, accentuated by gilded frames. The aesthetic of portraiture is one of elevation and solidity, likeness as preservation and celebration.

The marriage of naturalness and monumentality in Harris’s work was a response not only to the photograph’s documentary power, but also to the more openly artificial images of aristocratic self-presentation exemplified in this exhibition by the work of Thomas Mower Martin. In the century following the heyday of Robert Harris’s official portraiture, modern contingency-the uncertainty of the individual’s position in the world-invaded and transformed the portrait genre. In an era when anyone could and should be a worthy subject of an image, the recording of individual lives adapted by concentrating on the ways that individuals both defined and exceeded the conditions of their existence.

The identity of the sitter is central to the portrait’s function, as it strives to establish the uniqueness of the person and his or her place in society and history. In the past century, the celebratory presentation of individual identity has been targeted by a wide-ranging critique that has redefined the genre. From George Pepper and Kathleen Daly’s quasi-ethnographic paintings of people who are meant to define a multi-ethnic nation, to Barbara Astman and KC Adams’ pictures of subjects positioning themselves in relation to popular gender and racial stereotypes, it is clear that portraiture now functions as part of a play of representations of identity. In this context, the naturalness of the late 19th century pose can no longer be taken for granted. Even the celebration of historical figures can be represented as a highly mediated form of theatre, as in the prints of Rémi Belliveau, with their ironic golden frames.

The pose itself and its status as a record can be represented tragically, as a kind of habit or trap of seeing. Edward Poitras physically equates the hanging of Louis Riel with the production of his image as a national hero. Dan O’Neill and Stephen May present the seductive pose as a received image, the individual subject filtered through a layer of associations that complicate the sitter’s agency. In the work of Prince Edward Island painter Brian Burke, presented here as a counterpoint to the legacy of Robert Harris, the pose becomes vulnerable, the subject’s self-presentation and visual isolation deeply ambivalent, even oppressed by a flattened space that nonetheless leaves the position of the sitter open ended. Burke’s portraits represent the potential and limitations of contemporary freedom and uncertainty.

-Pan Wendt, curator