An eye that tried so hard to see one particular thing that it ended up forgetting everything else
24 July to 08 September 2019
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Richard Bosman, Steven Campbell, Emily Davidson, Elizabeth Englander, Samara Golden, Chip Hughes, Kahlil Robert Irving, Willy Le Maitre, Georgia Diva McGovern, Lo F.L. Russo, Barbara Sullivan

I’ve been thinking about art that might forego unbridled fantasy in favor of an equally strange lived experience. Embellishment not without consequence. Like the books and poems of Roberto Bolaño, who took issue with Magical Realism, the art I put together for this show doesn’t circumvent the dramatic or fictional, but firmly locates the individual artist in the artwork.

Throughout; images overlap. Emily Davidson, Georgia Diva McGovern and Lo. F.L Russo create a sense of movement in their paintings, reminiscent of a zoetrope spinning into gear. Their pictures muddle and vary in sophistication, like a double-exposed photograph or the flubbed last picture on an old roll of film. One caffeinated thought seems to flicker to the next.

Likewise, Le Maitre’s lenticulars and Chip Hughes’s paintings on gingham oscillate between representation and something dislocating. A suburban park or house plant in the window moves in and out of focus, familiar but elusive. The optical effects are an experience of colour: a kaleidoscope of silver-blue clouds and pink granite forms reflected by sunlight. Le Maitre and Hughes make the viewer work to discern a subject, and offer in their reveal, something quotidian and intimate.

Bosman employs aspects of trompe-l'oeil to evoke the potential of a closed door. Specifically, it’s an artist’s studio door - offering at once the harbinger of fresh painting, and also the sublime dread of a new day’s work: the problems you set out to resolve facing a blank canvas and your own ego.

Steven Campbell’s paintings look inward, and like Bosman’s Doors, implicate the artist directly. His figurative canvases often depict a paradoxical narrative that touches on something surreal while maintaining the thinnest of veils between life and art.

Barbara Sullivan’s frescos make modern ideas from a traditional technique. With a wry sense of humor, she presents a scene from a passenger window at a Drive- Thru, usurping the histrionics of her medium in favor for the humdrum and the lived. In her sculpture Elizabeth Englander makes similar subversions: replacing a gilded orb with a half-drunk bottle of Chambord. An archer statue made from paper mache, twine, and ribbon elevates craft store materials to the status of bronze and silver.

In a related way, Kahlil Robert Irving’s sculpture makes debris ornamental. What looks at first to be rubble, on closer examination, reveals glazed porcelain, earthenware, and printed matter decked in opal, gold silver luster. Look again to notice American press clippings and media imagery embedded into each object’s surface - like a scrolling news banner reminding of the urgent here and now. Samara Golden replicated everyday objects like the ubiquitous box fan, conjuring memories of a humid studio apartment, a recently mopped floor, or perhaps the summer aisles at Home Depot (a connection reinforced by her materials: woven strips of foil-backed insulation foam).

-Stuart Lorimer