Silent As Glue
The works in Silent As Glue are deceptively simple. They are the results of large doses of intuition, a dialogue with art history, a play between restraint and love of materials, and the ambition of the artists to surprise and delight themselves and others.
There is a confidence in these works that is reassuring. It comes from both questioning what has been made before and a commitment to moving forward. It is about bringing new images to life that are both of the world and of the artists’ singular imaginations. Each of the artists has a sensibility that has been finely honed over decades, resonating between an appreciation of humble, quotidian materials and a need to re-shape them into something that is both familiar and awkward at the same time—objects and images that one has never seen before, rich with references and allusions to the built world. They are evocative and open-ended in the same way that a great song can be.
How to join one thing to another; which colour, if any, to choose; how many different materials to use; how much of that material to include; will it sit, lean or hang?—these are the kinds of questions that Lynda Gammon, Matt Harle and Elspeth Pratt ask themselves every day in their studios. The answers to these questions and more are revealed in their respective works. The nature of their responses is the subject of this exhibition.
I was listening to “Night” by Bill Callahan when I was developing the idea for this exhibition and the song’s simple refrain—“Silent as glue”—was a haunting presence. It seemed like an appropriate title for the show, as I knew that these three artists were no strangers to the power of that magical bonding agent. I also loved that the phrase was made of just three words, mirroring the number of artists and indicative of the poetic nature of the works in the exhibition.
I have known and admired each of these artists for a long time and have always felt that there was a powerful connection between how they brought objects into the world. I hoped that their overlapping sensibilities would be amplified if one were able to experience a careful selection of their works in a shared space. This exhibition is the result of that desire.
Silent As Glue is organized by Oakville Galleries and curated by Micah Lexier.
Lynda Gammon studied at the University of British Columbia, holds a BA from Simon Fraser University and an MFA from York University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She is an Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Victoria. In 2004 Gammon established flask (www.flaskpublishing.com), which is dedicated to the production and publication of books by artists and writers.
Matt Harle lives and works in Beacon, New York, and has exhibited widely in the U.S. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including grants from the Guggenheim and Pollock-Krasner foundations. More information about his work can be found at mattharle.blogspot.com.
Elspeth Pratt is interested in architecture, the character of materiality, the value of the everyday, and the politics of location. She has been exhibiting since the early 1980s in Canada and abroad. Her work has most recently exhibited at Blanket Gallery (2009), Diaz Contemporary (2008), Charles H. Scott Gallery (2008), and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2007). Her work is represented by Diaz Contemporary in Toronto.
Micah Lexier is a Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based artist. He curates occasionally and collects often, generally items made of paper, including out-of-print conceptual art documents, printed cardboard boxes and various items found on the street. He has a deep interest in measurement, numbers and the kinds of casual marks we make in our day-to-day lives. Lexier has presented over ninety solo exhibitions, participated in over 150 group exhibitions and produced a dozen public commissions. He is represented in Toronto by Birch Libralato, in Calgary by TrepanierBaer and in Berlin by the Gitte Weise Galerie. More information can be found at micahlexier.com.
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