Taking the politics of making as its point of departure, this group exhibition explores the cultural meanings that emerge from the materials artists use. Drawing on the writings of poet-philosopher Édouard Glissant, guest curator Daisy Desrosiers assembles a selection of works that engage often-overlooked narratives within cultural histories, and consider the itinerant and opaque legacies that surround certain materials.
Ideas of belonging, memory, witnessing, and domesticity operate throughout the exhibition. In Ja’Tovia Gary’s film An Ecstatic Experience, for example, the artist marks celluloid in order to annotate a story of spiritual transcendence as a means to escape oppression and slavery. The miniature wooden shack sculptures of Beverly Buchanan—made by the artist between the late 1970s and 2015—are similarly embodied with notions of endurance, recovery and care.
Alvaro Barrington’s paintings evoke personal memories and collective cultural histories through the formal qualities of sewing, while Jesse Chun uses language as a medium for her work. By manipulating ESL learning methods, Chun defamiliarizes today’s most common lingua franca, fracturing and distorting what we expect to read, see, and hear. Also interested in language and translation, Marie-Michelle Deschamps investigates the properties of vitreous enamel, an ancient technique that is both delicate and durable, and here resembles white sheets of paper filled with potential meaning.
Each of the artists in Material Tells suggests a fluid and nuanced understanding of how objects and images come to be, reflecting on the process by which artworks—and identities—are assembled, dis-assembled and transformed.
Artists: Alvaro Barrington, Kevin Beasley, Shannon Bool, Beverly Buchanan, Jesse Chun, Marie-Michelle Deschamps, Azza El Siddique, Ja’Tovia Gary, Felix Gonzalez- Torres, Iris Häussler, Kapwani Kiwanga
Venue: Oakville Galleries, Town of Oakville
Exhibition title: Material Tells
Curated by: Daisy Desrosiers
Date: June 23 – September 8, 2019
Photography: Laura Findlay
Text/Press release and images provided by the event.
© Oakville Galleries, CANADA