July 5, 2015 to September 6, 2015
Curated by Christian Bernard Singer
People Together/Worlds Apart
Humankind has been telling stories through figurative sculpture since the Stone Age. The artists in this exhibition address universal human experiences of struggle and loss, beauty and love. They also address our apparent insignificance in relation to nature and the universe.People Together/Worlds Apart presents works by ceramic and glass artists Jess Riva Cooper, Violette Dionne, André Fournelle and Jordan MacLachlan. All interpret the human figure in ways that explore the human condition.
About the Artists
Winifred Shantz and Bierstock galleries
Ways to Live: Condo Living, Unexpected Subway Living and Zoo Living
Jordan MacLachlan is known for her unconventional clay sculptures about living in urban architectural environments. These sculptures also reflect the often raw and contradictory nuances of human nature. MacLachlan’s subjects unknowingly grant us unfettered access into their private lives and circumstances. The action of witnessing draws us in but we are placed in a somewhat voyeuristic role where our experience oscillates between curiosity and discomfort.
Winfred Shantz Gallery
Violette Dionne’s figurative sculptures reference the great works of other eras, while combining them into something new and ‘other-worldly’. The sculptures’ relation to specific time and place is rendered ultimately indeterminate. Dionne’s subjects include kings, biblical prophets, saints, despots and a series of Mesopotamian and pre-Columbian inspired works. Her latest works of busily occupied figures, whose heads have been replaced by such tools as the hammer, anvil, and trowel, make reference to the great battle scenes depicted on ancient friezes. This body of work is reminiscent of Russian Constructivist artworks, which elevated the worker to heroic stature by celebrating the notion that knowledge should be based on experiential learning. The work might also be read as a series of ordeals during a journey into the Underworld by referencing the ‘river of wailing’ in Greek mythology.
The concrete aspect of the sculpture directly references our real experiences as humans. The sculpture’s shadow enhances the mystery of the work and references the imagined and more ephemeral aspects of our experience. We as viewers find meaning in the representation of both our conscious and sub-conscious experiences.
Douglas Wright Gallery
Viral Series and Serotiny
Jess Riva Cooper’s sprawling installation references the ordered chaos of nature imposing itself on the stark interior of the gallery space. The title of Cooper’s work, Serotiny, is an ecological adaptation which causes certain plants to respond to environmental triggers by releasing seeds, ensuring a continuation of their species. Cooper likens her role as artist to that of an environmental trigger; her work speaks to the tension between human-made structures and a natural order. This theme is complemented by Viral Series, a grouping of busts covered with insidious, yet beautiful plant life. Here, nature is reclaiming its place by devouring the ‘human’ subjects, rethinking our traditional definition of life and death, and pointing to a moment where they intersect.
André Fournelle’s À l’ombre de nos braises (In the Shadow of our Embers), an outstretched pâte de verre figure, hovers facedown above a shadow-like layer of coal. From Fournelle’s series of self-portraits, this work makes reference to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing The Vitruvian Man (created circa 1490) that depicts the body’s architectural balance and perfection. In Fournelle’s work, this balance is realized by using the cross, a universal symbol in geometric language. Fournelle’s sculpture suggests notions of the passage of time and transmutation, physical and the metaphysical, positive and negative, life and death.