Toronto Art Fair 2017 - Top 3 Artists

This is our second year reviewing the Toronto art fair, and while it has been some time, it is imperative to wind down and digest all the galleries and works of art. There are soooo many things to look at that your brain sometimes hits sensory overload. While last year’s fair boded a sense of excitement and awe, this years fair (for me at least) did not have the same vibrant-ness and freshness as other years. I found it to be dull as galleries seemed to hold back (maybe my critique lies more with the Canadian art buyers rather than the galleries themselves). What was exciting was to see some big stars and names such as Marcel Dzama, Jean Paul Lemieux (Miriam Shiell’s booth had a spectacular figurative Lemieux of a elegant woman), Kris Knight and Zachari Logan to name a few.

While I believe the fair rang stale in its lack of inventiveness, I did manage to find some spectacular diamonds in the rough.  This years top three artists were chosen due to their technique or avant-gardness. As I stated last year, I choose these works based upon the fact that “ these artists all build upon their creative energy to create innovative thought provoking works”

1.     Kim Schoen – represented by Moskowitz Bayse located in Los Angeles, USA

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017,  (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017,  (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

Kim Schoen is a German conceptualist that is based both in Germany and in LA. For Moskowitz Bayse solo presentation at the Art Toronto, the gallery exhibited a body of work from her last exhibition, titled “Hawaii” (March 11 – April 22, 2017). The solo exhibition featured a 23 minute looped film that explores the manufacturing of “blank books”. Blank books are used mainly for presentation purposes in showrooms or offices.

 

Schwaben (Stack), 2017, 4 chromogenic prints, 13 3/16 x 19 7/8 in. (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

Schwaben (Stack), 2017, 4 chromogenic prints, 13 3/16 x 19 7/8 in. (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

New Large Dictionary (Neues Grosses Lexicon), 2017, chromogenic print, 13 3/16 x 19 7/8 in. (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

New Large Dictionary (Neues Grosses Lexicon), 2017, chromogenic print, 13 3/16 x 19 7/8 in. (Photo courtesy Moskowitz Bayse © 2017 Moskowitz Bayse)

Schoen is interested in investigating the notions of language, rhetoric and their relationship within a consumerist culture. These blank books that she showcases serve as a reminder to the deteriorating market of literary forms. Through the film, the viewer watches the process of creating these manufactured items. At the beginning, the film itself seems cold and manufactured. It feels like a PBS documentary on how things are made - very dry, cold and without substance - as these blank books are. However, in time we meet the manufacturer Thomas Moser.  Schoen overlaps industrial scenes with snippets of conversation and ideas from Moser himself. These books, which seem to be of no substance, actually have much more care and thought invoked onto them. Moser carefully chooses the colours and titles of the books. It is through his ideas and curiosity that these books are created. The titles opens the viewers imagination and allows it to run wild. One of Moser’s books “Canada Made Me” is “one of those high minded titles you can read a lot into”.

Schoen attempts to emphasize the absurdity of this consumerist culture. Books, which are defined as “a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers” have now been stripped of their meaning and function. It is through mass production that we lose something significant and I believe the artist emphasizes this quite bluntly. Yet, Schoen is not so bleak. Through the protagonist Thomas Moser, she breathes meaning and imagination back into these hollow books.  Moser for me is personified as a new age Grimm Brother, where he is producing empty books which in his mind hold endless possibilities with those they encounter.

2.     Xiao Gui Hui – represented by Christopher Cutts Gallery in Toronto, Canada

Sous Le Ciel, 2016, egg tempera on linen, 36 x 24 in. (Photo courtesy Christopher Cutts Gallery © 2017 Christopher Cutts Gallery)

Sous Le Ciel, 2016, egg tempera on linen, 36 x 24 in. (Photo courtesy Christopher Cutts Gallery © 2017 Christopher Cutts Gallery)

Xiao Guo Hui had a breathtaking egg tempera showcased at the fair “Sous le Ciel”. The painting acts as a legendary Hieronymus Bosch would – an initial feeling of awe and grandiose with a tinge of deviancy and mischief added subtly. At first glance, we notice a large boat sailing across the Tuscan Arno river. The landscape in the background references the historical tradition of egg tempera -the medium of painting that Xiao has chosen to follow. Egg tempera, which for those of you that don’t know, is a technique of painting by mixing pigment with egg yolk. The yolk acts as an adhesive as well as adding an ephemeral quality to the paint. It has a long tradition in Italian history dating back to the Renaissance. Artists such as Sandro Botticello, Piero del Francesca (too name a few) used this technique to create some of the Master works we see in museums. This ode to egg tempera and Xiao's mature artistic skills is what made this piece so striking.

Another aspect to the work, that attracted us to this painting is the subtlety it displays. There is a quite elegance to the work. The subject depicts a boat sailing along the river. It is once we come closer, we see all these playful, sinister narratives play out. A lovely dinner has taken place and gone aray – excessive drinking has men vomiting off the side of the boat, people passed out at the table, a child chasing a crow and a woman smugly smirking at her company as she stands elegant and composed watching the chaos unfold. Sous Le Ciel is an amusing, pleasurable painting to look at made with exceptional technique.

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017, (Photo courtesy Christopher Cutts Gallery © 2017 Christopher Cutts Gallery)

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017, (Photo courtesy Christopher Cutts Gallery © 2017 Christopher Cutts Gallery)

3. Ken Nichol represented at Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto, Canada

completely fucked letter - 42,588, 2017, ink on paper, double sided, 11 x 8.5 in. (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

completely fucked letter - 42,588, 2017, ink on paper, double sided, 11 x 8.5 in. (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

perfect squares counting to one hundred, one hundred times (9 ways), 2017, ink on paper 14.5 x 14.5 in (each) (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

perfect squares counting to one hundred, one hundred times (9 ways), 2017, ink on paper 14.5 x 14.5 in (each) (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

“Much of the time Ken’s work is self-documentation. His pen literally tracing the miles it has travelled in Ken’s hand across a blank page. The geometry of counting in grids that make up perfect squares. Tallying an undetermined element to fill a large space. His text pieces pay homage to a self-reflexive process of conceptual art making.”

These continuous tallying works hung on the outside corner of Korper’s booth. You would think that with numerous works with such vibrant colours and gestural strokes, the works of Nichols would get lost. The opposite occurred - these small works on paper created an intimate space that commanded attention. Groups of people gathered around these paintings with their noses almost pressed against the glass. Your eyes meticulously follow the tallying lines – what is he counting? Why is it important? Why do this? Nichols is able to make the mundane look beautiful. Ken Nichol has an analytical take on art. He visualizes the method of showing his artistic process. It is a rational, logical approach to art, which is why I gravitated to this work at the fair. 

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017, (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

Installation shot, Art Toronto 2017, (Photo courtesy Olga Korper Gallery © 2017 Olga Korper Gallery)

Reconstructing Identities - Through the People We are Looking at Ourselves at Cooper Cole Gallery

We are fractured in the world.

I don’t want to talk about diaspora anymore. I want to create spaces to think about it. Mobility is necessary and luxurious and peculiar given our past. We care about where things go. We don’t want these objects to be feeding those systems. This is a site of intimacy and vulnerability- that is in our portraits. His presence with vulnerability bridges. The contradictions should be visible.

I want the contradictions to be visible.  -Tau Lewis / Curtis Santiago / Magdalyn Asimakis

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Installation Shot (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

A recurring theme I have noticed throughout the Toronto art scene most recently has been the exploration of identities – whether that is Claire Greenshaw’s feminist approach at looking at the female identity through language and its representation, to Ydessa Hendeles current show at the Power Plant, which explores her personal narrative and distortions and perceptions of minorities within the broader context of a western society. This makes me wonder; is this current “movement” a symptom of our current political landscape? With Trump mobilizing a scary marginal few into the mainstream, it is important to have these sorts of discussions and spaces of contemplation. Understanding these different identities and having access to these personal narratives provides us with tools and the ability for compassion, understanding and knowledge.

Through the People We are Looking at Ourselves currently on view at Cooper Cole Gallery falls into this recurring theme. This two-person show investigates what it means to be black (for these artists specifically) as well as their identity seen and appropriated within the Canadian context (a predominantly Eurocentric establishment).

Sculpture, is Tau Lewis’ main medium of attempting to reconcile and present her identity as half Jamaican, half Canadian. These sculptures seem to be unfinished and created with found materials such as denim, wire, plants, fur, the artist’s own hair etc. The materials may speak to the world in which Lewis’ inhabits [ie. the greenery or denim representational of the Canada itself (need I remind everyone of the infamous Canadian tuxedo)]. The material and the sculptures  “unfinished” allow for an open end discussion between object and viewer. They are self-portraits made with found objects in her immediate environment. She situates herself within the Canadian context, solidifying not only her presence but the importance of her identity and others by creating a space for which they inhabit. 

The positions of these sculptures can be very telling. All of these “representations” seem docile - trapped in a way. Whether they are tied to a leash, or to a pole, or trapped in a high swing, there is a sense of entrapment. This can be interpreted as issues arising with Lewis’ place within society and wanting to break free from these associations and distortions. Take “Something Joyful” - this made from obviously Canadian based materials. The figure stares at eye level with the viewer. It confronts the viewer, however is stagnate, unable to move or get out. By confronting the viewer, Lewis’ brings forth questions of how we may view “black” people in the context of Canadian landscape and reminding us that she is present and will be.

Tau Lewis, Something Joyful, 2017, Plaster, wire, fur, leather, fabric, pillow stuffing, stones, human hair, acrylic paint, shopping basket, jute, 67 x 20 x 32 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Tau Lewis, Something Joyful, 2017, Plaster, wire, fur, leather, fabric, pillow stuffing, stones, human hair, acrylic paint, shopping basket, jute, 67 x 20 x 32 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Where I see Lewis’ work as more confrontational and questioning her place within society, I see the works of Curtis Santiago (Talwst) as of a celebration his identity. Also of Caribbean descent, Santiago’s oeuvre has always laid within the context of his identity and within the black historical experience. (Sidenote: his little maquettes are to die for). Here, Santiago takes the tradition of expressionism (a medium of painting originating from Europe) and uses it to present and elevate the black figure. By using contemporary materials and techniques such as spray paint to create a graffiti-esque paintings, Santiago thus creates a more contemporary style of expressionism. I can see references of Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley. (Wiley who also addresses that status of the black figure by creating portraits that play upon the tradition of historical European portraiture). His figures take on a elevated status by using them as the focal point, which is something rather new (as we know, historically black people were usually depicted in a more "primitive", inferior manor). He presents revered goddesses, people who seem to be dancing, embracing - the joys of life. 

Curtis Santiago, Untitled, 2017, spray paint, oil and charcoal on paper, 14.3 x 11.2 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Curtis Santiago, Untitled, 2017, spray paint, oil and charcoal on paper, 14.3 x 11.2 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Curtis Santiago, Parktown, 2017, pastel, charcoal and spray paint, 16.7 x 20.7 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Curtis Santiago, Parktown, 2017, pastel, charcoal and spray paint, 16.7 x 20.7 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Curtis Santiago, 1. The Woman of Colour and the Man of Colour, 2. The Man of Colour and the White Woman 2017, pastel, charcoal and watercolour on paper, 20.7 x 16.7 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

Curtis Santiago, 1. The Woman of Colour and the Man of Colour, 2. The Man of Colour and the White Woman 2017, pastel, charcoal and watercolour on paper, 20.7 x 16.7 in. (Photo courtesy Cooper Cole Gallery © 2017 Cooper Cole Gallery)

This exhibition runs until September 9th. Its worth a visit and maybe a drink afterwards at Blood Brothers Brewery for an interesting chat ;)

Connecting the Dots - Ydessa Hendeles "The Milliners Daughter"

Sometimes trying to navigate through an exhibition alone can be an impenetrable task –so many ideas and symbols to absorb. This is the overbearing feeling of walking through Ydessa HendelesThe Milliner’s Daughter at the Power Plant. Hendeles blends artistry and curation - she creates an immersive space for contemplation to the notions of  perception, representation, appropriation and the idea of the “Other”. She does so through exploring and re-appropriating her own personal narrative through found objects. This exhibition is so dense in symbolism and metaphors that we thought it would be worth noting a few key ideas running throughout. 

Central to the show and spanning throughout all 4 galleries is the notion of the “Other” and their exploitation. The “Other” developed during the nineteenth century through colonization and imperialistic tendencies. It attributed that certain cultures were inferior due to their mythic or ritualistic practices that didn’t allow for change and progress. This, therefore created a hierarchy of cultures and allowed the ruling people to dictate, rule over and exploit. The notion of the “Other” can be relayed to many cultures and is prevalent throughout our history - take your pick!

Hendeles’ family being of Jewish-German descent migrated to Canada following the World War II and the annexation of Jews in Germany. This personal narrative is woven throughout all the galleries and through the viewer’s gaze, they should be able to connect the dots (allowing the see Hendeles personal narrative and make connections with their own histories).

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

From Her Wooden Sleep is a darkly lit room, sombre in feeling. Eerie music plays quietly in the background as we walk through a vast number of wooden mannequins sitting in rows while distorted mirrors and banjos hang along the walls. Vitrines interrupt the space and hold mannequins trapped in awkward poses, uncomfortable scenarios and objects (vitrines with Dutch fables, insect models, creepy dolls etc. etc.). With all this in play, it creates a dialogue between viewer and artwork.

The music playing “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk” is a composition created between 1906 – 1908 by French composer Claude Debussy. This music was influenced by America’s black culture music movement “ragtime”. The banjos lined against the wall may refer to black cultures re-appropriation and gaining popularity within white culture (banjos were once a prominent musical instrument during the time of slavery but later attributed to what is now representational of a country buck from the south). It also creates a derogatory tone since the music also refers to the book “Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog” in one of the vitrines.

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog, Photo courtesy the @ http://lusenberg.com/golliwogg/golliwogg.html

The book follows the adventures of two dolls and their friend a black boy rag doll (the Golliwog). This story alienates the Golliwog through the colour of his skin. Initially, the Golliwog is met with apprehension and ridicule. With time, he is accepted and embraced. However, the history of the book situated in society is not as redeeming. In 1934, it was banned in Germany for it’s “content” and later would be used for ridicule and to promote blackface. Again, the theme of inferiority and distortion of people and cultures takes prevalence with all these found objects placed together. The distorted mirrors running through the sides of the walls act as a symbol of self-awareness, self-knowledge, self depiction and how these realities can be distorted and misunderstood.

Another prevalent theme running throughout the galleries is the idea of the power struggle. This is embodied perfectly in the gallery titled Blue Beard. Blue Beard is a French fable about a mystical ogre (with a bluebeard obviously) that marries a young girl. Upon marrying her, he gives her six keys. He forbids the young girl to use the smallest key and warns her to never open the door. Naturally, out of sheer curiosity, the girl opens the door to find a horrific sight of  his previous wives hanging against the wall. Blue Beard finds out and in rage says he will kill her as did the others. Fortunately for the girl, her two brothers come to the rescue and kill the ogre.  The young girl, who once was in a sense a prisoner, is now freed from her keeper, gets all his money and retains the struggle of power.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

(Installation detail), Ydessa Hendeles: The Milliners Daughter, 2017.

Entering the gallery, the viewer comes into a small, narrow, intimate room with two vitrines holding a male and female mannequin standing back to back of one another. To the side lay the keys hanging reminding us of the fable. The female mannequin (first mannequin we are confronted with) holds an amputated head in her hand. This might embody the young girls defiant nature and her willingness to confront destroy the ogre. The male stands defiantly, yet looks less powerful. The viewer walks between the mannequins, interrupts the space and is a passive viewer to the “stand-off”  we see.

I take this as the representation of the “Other” taking back their identity. It’s a powerful statement that has a redeeming quality. A woman, historically, has been attributed as inferior. Male dominance and patriarchy has dominated throughout the centuries. Here, the young girl (or the embodiment of the “Other”) takes on her keeper defiantly to keep her freedom and thus changes her representation as a timid girl whose fate is destined by her husband. 

As a viewer walking throughout the space we become an integral part of the exhibition. This I believe is two-fold. Henedeles makes us aware of our passive state - unable to change what is put in front of us. Thus reiterating passivity for change for the injustices we have had or still have because we cannot physically take part with these objects. Henedeles does this, but also draws upon the viewers’ own personal history in order to come to his/her own conclusions and making the exhibition speak to someone on a more personal level.

There is so much to explore in this exhibition. We have only touched on two key aspects. The show runs until September 4th, so be sure to mosey down to the waterfront have a look and you’ll probably need a drink afterwards ;)

Toronto Art Fair 2016 - Top 3 Artists

The Toronto Art Fair, which ended last week, was a whirlwind - exciting artists, works, talks and loads of schmoozing and boozing. What would an art fair be without a little prosecco and beer in hand? Art fairs can be a sensory overload with so many art objects within a small space. It can be draining.  As the hype has slowly dissipated in the city, and many of the gallerists confined back within their whitecubed walls, it is time that we reflect on what artists showcased. I have compiled a list of 3 artists that I believe were highlights at the fair. Their differences in process, medium and style all come together in bringing a refreshing outlook and style. Now all of this is of course subjective, but these artists all build upon their creative energy to create innovative thought provoking works.  

1. Mark Preston (Tlingit) – represented by Fazakas Gallery located in Vancouver, Canada

Of Tlingit descent (an indigenous tribe located from the Pacific Northwest), Mark Presont primarily plays upon the motifs, symbol and materials of his indigenous culture and forces them into the contemporary limelight. While most Tlingit art consists of crafts and readily made objects for use, Preston reduces these shapes for solely an aesthetic purpose - creating an object for contemplation and meditation. He has reduced these symbols to their purest simplest, forms, back dropped against the all white canvas as a mode of clarity for the viewer. 

Abstract Button Blanket Panel 41, hand cut paper panel on wood frame, rag bond paper, wood, shell buttons, 12" x 12" x 3" (30.5 x 30.5 x 7.6cm) [images provided and owned by Fazakas Gallery]

Abstract Button Blanket Panel 41, hand cut paper panel on wood frame, rag bond paper, wood, shell buttons, 12" x 12" x 3" (30.5 x 30.5 x 7.6cm) [images provided and owned by Fazakas Gallery]

Abstract Button Blanket 41 acts as a contemporary embodiment of the wool tapestries created  by North West tribes, called Button Blankets. The canvas hints to their ceremonial blankets with its use of pearl buttons often found embedded within them. The cut out, which is a direct reference to the symbols found in Tlingit tribes, is a playful manipulation which breeds a sense of cheeky playfulness and open mindedness. He invites the viewer to peer through the canvas to explore the shadows and shapes it can create. This can be altered and changed, resulting in a sense of adventure and unlimited possibility. 

Abstract Chief's Headdress 1, small wood panel engraved design, acrylic, paint, tacks and white cotton twine with shell buttons, 6" x 35" x 1.5" (15.2 x 88.9 x 3.8cm) [images provided and owned by Fazakas Gallery]

Abstract Chief's Headdress 1, small wood panel engraved design, acrylic, paint, tacks and white cotton twine with shell buttons, 6" x 35" x 1.5" (15.2 x 88.9 x 3.8cm) [images provided and owned by Fazakas Gallery]

Abstract Chief Headdress 1 re-contextualizes the headdress worn during ceremonial events. Again, it is evident that by stripping the piece to the bare elemental forms, it creates a dialogue between tradition and contemporary. Using traditional materials such as cotton and shell a appropriating them to a contemporary form. 

What captivated my attention was his pieces created a quite calming environment to the busy, hectic mood of the fair. With splashes of colours, and kitsch moving object, these minimalistic painting demanded attention in a subtle way. They are moving and spiritual in the simplest, purest form. 

 

2. Guilia Dall'Olio – represented by Galeriel Isabelle Lesmeister located in Regensburg, Germany

Two terms come to mind when soaking in  the works of Guilia Dall’Olio: Baroque and Japanese painting. Evidently different and non relational in any art historical context, the Bolognese artist pulls from these traditions and techniques and blends them to create something mysterious and original.

G8/24D, 2016 oil and carving on wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm)  [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

G8/24D, 2016 oil and carving on wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm)  [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

G8/23D, 2016, oil and carving on  wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm) [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

G8/23D, 2016, oil and carving on  wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm) [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

These 30” x 36” panels are all oil and carving on wood panel. The subject matter explores rich lush landscapes that embody a heavenly dreamlike landscape, void of any humans or animals.  It could be said that Dall’Olio follows the tradition his fellow Baroque Bolognese painters by creating grandeur landscapes. By using rich dark colours, contrasted with gestural strokes of white or empty space, he creates a sense of drama and grandeur. This void or emptiness of human subjects then calls upon the oriental tradition of painting where emptiness lays as philosophical notion of bringing totality and significance to something. Emptiness can justifiy an objects importance and brings definition to it. This lush vegetation depicted in these 3 panels is what is significant, - their untouched beauty, pure and void of any tainted-ness. 

I believe that the carvings within the painting, again a negative, empty space carved brings a sense of reality to these mystical magical landscapes. It is a bringing the viewer back to reality by exposing the materiality of the canvas. 

G8/25D, 2016, oil and carving on  wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm) [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

G8/25D, 2016, oil and carving on  wood, 11.8" x 14.2"  (30 x 36cm) [images provided and owned by Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister]

3. Zachari Logan –  represented by Paul Petro Gallery located in Toronto, Canada

Eunuch Tapestry 5 (installation shot), 2015, chalk, pastel on black paper (8 sheets) 84" x 288" (213.4 x 731.5cm)

Eunuch Tapestry 5 (installation shot), 2015, chalk, pastel on black paper (8 sheets) 84" x 288" (213.4 x 731.5cm)

Eunuch Tapestry 5 is a sophisticated personification of renaissance Dutch painting ideals interwoven with Canadian wildlife and queer art. The tapestry depicts in dark, sombre tones species of butterflies, birds, foxes and even a hidden moose, if your eye can catch him. Also hidden between this fictitious idealized, lush greenery is a figure of a man. The sheer scale of the tapestry engulfs the viewer into this fairytale world. In a sense you become a voyeur to these animals and the naked man among the bushes. His brushstrokes are soft and delicate, mimicking that gingham filter on instagram we all have come to know so well.  The allegorical scene forces us to gaze upon them. Why aren’t they looking at us? What are they doing? I want to know more. He evokes this sinister voyeuristic tendency that humans have. 

The human figure, though not outwardly sexual, initially oozes for me that forbidden voyeuristic tone of Nabakov’s master piece Lolitia - an unrequited love or lust that can never be reciprocated. The man is naked within the bushes looking off into the distance. He is not aware of the viewer’s presence, yet he demands attention. I find this extremely amusing and playful. This is done so again, through the soft delicate brush strokes and sombre yet baroque palette Logan has implemented in the painting. 

Another amusing detail to the artist’s tapestry is the importance of the wildlife and animal figures. As an artist from Saskatoon, it seems implicit for him to relay to his audience a sense of his identity, which is echoed through these animal figures. However, curiously enough the plant life itself is not natively Canadian, rather a fictious depiction of plant life. Maybe in a way to create a mystical, romanticized landscape.

Zacahri Logan’s work surpassed all of my expectations for great artwork. I will go so far to say it was my favourite piece of the show. I could’ve spent hours in that small booth, picking apart each flower and animal I could find. 

Eunuch Tapestry 5 (detail), 2014, pastel on black paper, 84" x 288" (213.4 x 731.5cm) [images provided and owned by Paul Petro Gallery]

Eunuch Tapestry 5 (detail), 2014, pastel on black paper, 84" x 288" (213.4 x 731.5cm) [images provided and owned by Paul Petro Gallery]