Visitation, 2014-15, Oak, fir, pine, birch and exotic wood veneers given patina with vinegar solution, resin, 5’4” H x 9’Lx 11’W (installation view at Pari Nadimi Gallery)
September 17–October 31, 2015
Thursday Sept. 17 (6-8 pm)
Pari Nadimi Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky. The exhibition is centred upon Visitation, a new veneer sculpture that is an elaborate version of the all-surface works the pair is known for. Visitation is the result of the ritualized destruction of their earlier work Bad Neighbour, which was a veneer representation of lumber, doors and a cabinet leaning against a fence. This older work was reconfigured, and into its surface the artists meticulously inset veneer representations of scribing, chips, splits, and breaks, transforming its face into a record of violence. The artists have also inlaid veneer representations of moths upon the surface, reworking its planes to articulate the swells of their bodies. The presence of the moths suggests calm, though these figures of mimicry have the same disruptive effect upon the surface of the fence is the cracks do. The surface subsumed by flora and fauna is a common ornamental motif in interior decoration and architecture, though such mimicry of ruination actually demonstrates total control of the surface. Visitation complicates that effect, realizing it with genuinely tenuous materials and methods that are themselves parodic versions of such crafts as woodworking and marquetry. The artists’ works mimic the world as a means of a limited withdrawal from it, imitating aging, gravity, and the effects of rough handling as a stopgap against their actual vulnerability. They enact their own dissolution in a cartoonish slow motion.
Rhonda Weppler (born in Winnipeg) and Trevor Mahovsky (born in Calgary) have worked collaboratively since 2004. Both artists have MFA degrees from the University of British Columbia, where they met in 1996. They initially developed their collaborative practice in Vancouver, from 2004-2012. Their practice continues after relocating to different cities: Mahovsky lives in Toronto, while Weppler lives in San Francisco.
Their work has been exhibited at venues internationally, including the National Gallery of Canada, Flux Night (Atlanta), Alter Space (San Francisco), Vancouver Art Gallery, Dlectricity (Detroit), LABoral (Gijon), Dos de Mayo (Madrid), Power Plant (Toronto), Musée d’art Contemporain (Montreal), Tokyo Wonder Site, and loop-raum (Berlin). Weppler’s work has also been exhibited at the Palazzo delle Papesse (Siena) and COCA (Seattle). Mahovsky’s work has been shown at the Queens Museum of Art (NY), and he has written for catalogues and journals such as Artforum and Canadian Art.
They have been awarded residencies at Acme Studios (London), Artspace (Sydney), apexart and ISCP (NY). They are also the 2014 recipients of the Glenfiddich Prize. Their work is represented in public collections including the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada.