Tori Foster, Position Paradigms (Pitcher: arm cocking phase, anterior), 2018, Chromogenic print, 49”x68”
Entering The Novelty
November 15 - December 22, 2018
* Extended until February 2, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 15, 6 - 8 pm
Pari Nadimi Gallery is pleased to present Entering The Novelty a solo exhibition by Tori Foster.
“You can observe a lot, by just watching.” This quip by the eminently quotable late American baseball player Yogi Berra, could well serve as the didactic text for Entering The Novelty. Through video diptych Disassembles and composite photographic series Position Paradigms, Tori Foster has conducted a thoughtful recalibration of her analytical lens. Drawing on lessons learned during her decade revealing the blurry choreographies of pedestrian and vehicular flows, and the blocky tectonics of urban form, she’s now set her sights on Major League Baseball. Thematically, the flashy populism of professional sports may seem like an odd fit with Foster’s oeuvre, but the game’s tight temporal rhythms, consistent geometric arrangements, and varying formations of bodies and gestures provide fertile terrain for aesthetic consideration.
To the untrained eye, baseball is slow—tedious, even. ‘Nothing happens’ is a common complaint of those trying to familiarize themselves with the game; and, in a sense, they are right. From the drudgery of a six minute 20-pitch at bat that ends unremarkably to the boredom of sequential hitless innings, so much of watching baseball is waiting. Nothing happens, until it does, and then everything changes. Unlike other sports there is no clock, and—much like life—seemingly inconsequential small events snowball quickly to decisively determine outcomes.
As in past works Foster uses superimposition to reveal rhythm and form. She condenses the showdown between pitcher and batter from an at bat to the at bat—a composite. Likewise she reconstitutes the visual language across an entire set of Topps baseball cards to create ‘meta-cards’ of players of the same position ("all the first basemen") or similar poses. Foster shows us common visual denominators, repetition, ritual, and foregrounds the glorious moment of divergence from routine—‘the novelty’ in her vernacular.
Foster is not the first artist to use the systematicity of sports as base material. For Zidane, a 21st century portrait (2006), Douglas Gordon tasked 17 pro camera crews with filming French soccer star Zinédine Zidane over the course of a match, creating a documentary-length moribund ‘character study’ of a single player; Harun Farocki’s Deep Play (2007) transformed the 2006 World Cup final into a sprawling multiscreen installation, fusing gameplay footage with diagrammatic analysis, representing team maneuvers and formations as vectors of attack and lines of defence. Those works focus on soccer though, a globally loved sport with billions of fans and elaborately flowing patterns of movement up and down the field—“the beautiful game,” as many call it. Baseball’s laborious pace and squeaky-clean wholesomeness is perhaps not as immediately white cube chic, and yet Foster so capably processes it—reconstitutes it with her visual toolkit—simply by reinscribing it on itself ad infinitum.
Tori Foster (b. 1982) earned an MFA and a BFA from Ryerson University in Toronto, and was based in Los Angeles as Assistant Professor and the Head of Video/Digital Art at California State University, Northridge, until moving back to her hometown of Barrie, Ontario in 2017. She has received dozens of grants and awards; most recently a Concept to Realization grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2017 for the production of The Alchemist Husband, a kinetic representation of wheat that can be genetically edited through user engagement. Her work has been presented in 16 countries world-wide, including Germany, India, Korea, Australia, Brazil, and the USA, and is held in numerous private and corporate collections.
For press and other inquiries, please contact Pari Nadimi Gallery at (416) 591-6464 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org