Walks, 2011-12, lightjet prints, 36" x 36" (each)
What Leaf? What Mushroom?
September 13–October 27, 2012
Thursday, Sept.13, 6-9 pm artists present
For this exhibition, Weppler and Mahovsky present new sculptures and photographic works presented as forms of still life. These series further the artists’ larger quixotic project of representing the endless field of material culture, a task that slides from the selective depiction of things to the mechanical recording of a laborious process as it unfolds in time.
Their new series of photographs document walks the artists have undertaken in cities around the world – including Hong Kong, New York and Sydney - collecting bought and found objects. Shopping and scrounging is made analogous with street photography, and the taking of an object is equated with the taking of a picture: the impulsiveness of the artist’s choices is recast as a variant of Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment. Each resulting collection is laid upon the floor of a hotel to be photographed as a map-cum-still life, offering a record of the area passed through. This recalls Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and the manner in which Marco Polo uses objects to describe distant cities of the Mongol empire to Kublai Kahn. Each final picture is auto-stitched from up to 60 individual overhead shots: both the gathering of the objects and the photography of the ensemble attenuate the moment of the image. The collections result from a capricious set of choices, but they nevertheless testify to what was found along each route, and as such they speak to the indeterminate way the digital image might retain a documentary sense of the world as it is.
Paired with these photographs are new wall-hanging sculptures, that are comedic representations of mesh bags full of objects, built up over time by a slathering of plaster and epoxy over thin wire and mesh armatures. The droopy materiality of these bagged still lifes is played against their reference to representational painting, in particular a tradition in still life in which objects such as powder horns and game are depicted as if hanging directly on the wall that supports the canvas itself, in trompe l’oil illusion.
Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky are San Francisco and Vancouver based collaborative artists. Exhibits include: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Dos de Mayo (Madrid), Power Plant (Toronto), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax) and Tokyo Wonder Site (Tokyo). Upcoming exhibitions include the 2012 edition of Nuit Blanche (program of curator Christina Ritchie) and the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2011 they completed a residency at Artspace in Sydney, Australia. Their work is represented in collections including the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal and the National Gallery of Canada, and they recently completed “A False Creek” a public work commissioned by the City of Vancouver.