Robert Niven and James Whitman
Curated by Lance Blomgren and Carey Ann Schaefer
Friday, February 10-Saturday, February 25, 2006
Opening Reception: Friday, February 10, 2006 at 7:00 pm
Bewilderness by Robert Niven and Outbuildings and Livestock by James Whitman.
Dual I, the first of a two-exhibition experiment into the possible synergies and disconnections of the duo-show format, features sculpture by Robert Niven and drawings by James Whitman.
Niven’s Bewildnerness is comprised of a series of “sculptural collages” that seek out the incongruities and subtle paradoxes of everyday life, and its surfeit of utilitarian and consumer material incarnations. His work blends a sharp, investigative edge with a playful acceptance of the haphazard, accidental, and entropic to locate the visible resonances and dissonances between recognizable objects and their relationship to memory. In Niven’s hands, our mundane materials are put in a state of functional limbo. Teaspoons, teeth, sunglass lenses and Pepto-Bismol are reanimated into wasp’s nests, grenades, corn-on-the-cobs, bell jars and whirlpools in an attempt to rouse the latent psychological, cultural and at times art historical associations of second-hand objects. The quotidian is drawn into a new constellation and consequently projects a new phenomenological experience.
Whitman’s extensive series of drawings occupy an overlapping conceptual geography of incongruity as that of Niven, but forgoes objective examination in favour of a more temporal inquiry. Whitman’s decidedly representational landscapes—depicting grotesque, yet friendly creatures, improbable topographies, and ritualistic games—belies a delicate process-based approach to drawing, one that puts stock in drawing’s ability to allow for emergences of meaning over its pictorial conclusion. Taken together, Outbuildings and Livestock project a keen sense of narrative tension as, drawing by drawing, Whitman’s world wavers between rising action and repose.
Originally from Glasgow, Robert Niven has recently exhibited at the Belkin Satellite and The Butchershop Gallery in Vancouver, and at Wetterling Gallery (Stockholm) and Galeria Quadrum (Lisbon).
James Whitman’s drawings and bookworks have been shown, individually or as part of the collaborative unit The Lions, at galleries and off-site locations throughout Vancouver, as well as at Truck Gallery in Calgary, Art System in Toronto and most recently as part of The End, at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.